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What is maintenance and cure?

On Behalf of | Feb 27, 2024 | Maintenance, Cure and Unearned Wages

Our readers who work aboard vessels at sea probably know that different laws apply to them if they are injured at work than might apply to those with land-based employment. “Workers’ compensation” is a legal term that most people are familiar with and they know that it is a benefit for employees who are injured on-the-job on land. But, for seaman, fishermen and other who work at sea, another legal term will likely apply if an injury occurs: maintenance and cure.

What does this term refer to and why is it important for our readers?

Maintenance and cure basics

Although it is in many ways similar to workers’ compensation, maintenance and cure is specifically applicable to those who work at sea. If a seaman or other worker is injured on a vessel, that person is entitled to receive medical care for the injury and the vessel owner is responsible for the costs. The care and costs might include doctor visits, hospital stays, medications, therapy and even prosthetics, if necessary. This is the “cure.”

The “maintenance” is the benefit that must be provided to the injured seaman if he is unable to return to work as he recovers. The amount of the maintenance that must be paid can vary but, in Alaska at least, the rate can oftentimes be higher than in the lower 48 states.

If you have been injured onboard a sea vessel, you may have more questions than answers as you try to make sense of the federal and maritime laws that might apply in your situation. When it comes to your health and recovery, be sure to get the right information so that you have a path forward to cover expenses and get back to work.