The payment of maintenance and cure to injured seamen is a very old practice going back hundreds of years. You do not need to prove fault to receive these benefits. They are very small, very basic benefits but can be necessary to your survival when you are injured and unable to work. Claiming and receiving maintenance and cure will not prevent you from receiving other types of compensation for your injuries.
The Basics of Maintenance and Cure
Maintenance is your room and board. Cure is your medical care. Maintenance and cure are paid until you reach your maximum medical improvement (MMI). Maintenance and cure are not nearly enough to fully compensate most injured maritime workers, but they can help you get by until you can work again or until your other claims for compensation go through.
Maximum Medical Improvement
MMI does not mean all of the medical care you will require for your injuries. You reach MMI when further medical treatment will no longer change or improve your condition. You may need medical care beyond MMI to stay alive, for pain, or to maintain your level of function.
Maintenance refers to “maintaining” the injured maritime worker’s daily expenses for as long as they are injured and in their recovery period. The general definition of maintenance includes room and board expenses. Living expenses, such as rent and mortgage, utility bills, home taxes, and food costs are covered. Note, though, that maintenance does not cover non-essential expenses like a car payment, cable TV, or Internet service.
Many employers will try to pay a very low, arbitrary daily amount, such as $15 or $30 per day, for maintenance. You are entitled to a reasonable amount that will truly allow you to replace the room and board that you have lost.
Cure is your medical care. Your employer must pay for the medical care that you need to “cure” the injury or illness you incurred in the course of your work. That goes beyond emergency medical care, and all the way up to MMI. It can include the cost of transportation to and from your medical appointments.
If you or a loved one is in need of legal assistance, call Reeves & Mestayer, PLLC at 228-374-5151 or toll free 1-855-558-2977 or contact us online. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to handle your case, we will work on a contingency fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary recovery of funds. In many cases, a lawsuit must be filed before an applicable expiration date, known as a statute of limitations. Please call right away to ensure that you do not waive your right to possible compensation.