Maintenance, Cure, and Unearned Wages
The maritime lawyers at Johnson Beard & Trueb PC have been helping injured seaman and fisherman recover maintenance and cure benefits for a combined 75 years. They have handled thousands of maintenance and cure claims. If you have questions about your right to maintenance and cure benefits contact our maritime injury lawyers for a free initial consultation, 1 877 277 0161.
Maritime Law provides valuable legal protections to injured fisherman and Seaman. In almost all cases fisherman and fish processors have the right to maritime benefits called maintenance and cure. Vessel owners who willfully fail to properly pay an injured seaman proper maintenance and cure benefits may be subject to a claim against themselves for punitive damages.
Under Federal maritime laws injured seaman, fisherman, and fish processors injured while working aboard vessels at sea are entitled to have all their reasonable and necessary medical expenses paid for by the vessel owner. Medical expenses that are covered include such things as medical evacuation; doctor bills, Hospital bills, therapy expenses, prescription and medication charges, prosthetic devices and more.
This medical coverage for seaman is a no fault benefit, if your injury or illness arises while working aboard your vessel it in almost cases will be covered as a “cure” benefit under Federal maritime law. Maritime law favors the injured seaman, and all doubts as to entitlement to maintenance and cure expenses must be resolved in favor of the injured seaman. The obligation to pay to pay a seaman injury related medical bills extends to claims for preexisting injuries. A non-work related medical expense may also be covered in some cases under the maintenance and cure doctrine.
During the time that an injured commercial fisherman, fish processor, deckhand, or seaman is recovering from his injuries he is entitled to make claim for “maintenance” benefits. These federal maritime benefits provide a daily living expense, for the injured worker as long as they are recovering for their injuries and unable to return to their normal job duties. Calculating your maintenance rate involves multiple factors and the vessel owner often times pays the injured work at a rate that is to low for the worker to live upon. The lawyers at Johnson Beard & Jacobsen can help you get the benefit you are entitled to under Federal law. Expenses that are included in the maintenance rate include payment of reasonable amount for housing, meals, utilities and utilities. Maintenance rates vary from case to case, and benefits for injured crewman living in Alaska are usually much higher than the rate for crewman living in the lower States. Maintenance rates in Alaska depending upon the living location of the injured worker range from $50-$85.
As part of the maintenance and cure doctrine, when an injured seaman, fisherman, or fish processor is injured aboard ship and can no longer do their jobs the crewman is entitled to wages until the end of the voyage. The length of the voyage may be determined by the written employment contract, or may be verbal in nature. Typically the wages until the end of the voyage may involve several months or a season of work depending upon the facts of a given case. Injured seaman are entitled to recover their full past and future lost wages by making claims under the Jones Act.
Importantly, In addition to maintenance and cure benefits, injured fisherman, fish processors, deckhands and seaman also have claims for compensation under the Jones Act and the General Maritime law. Under the Jones Act a seaman can recover damages from his employer when he is injured as a result of negligence. The employer owes each crewman aboard their vessel a duty provide a safe place to work and a seaworthy vessel. Under the Jones Act a qualifying maritime worker is entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages, psychological injuries, lost earning capacity, future medical expenses, and more.
The maritime lawyers at Johnson Beard and Treub can protect your rights to benefits under the maintenance and cure doctrine and the Jones Act. Contact us to discuss your case. Never sign a release of your right to benefits without consulting with an experienced maritime injury lawyer.