Maintenance & Cure
Traditionally, seaman are not entitle to the protections of land based worker’s compensation schemes and must rely on their employer for maintenance & cure benefits when they are injured or fall sick while in the employ of their ship. Although the Jones Act specifies additional protections for seaman, the principles of maintenance & cure comes from the maritime common law and the ancient principles that the seaman are “wards of the court.” Maintenance is a living expense that is generally bargained for in a seamans collective bargaining agreements with their union. Cure is the seamans medical expenses. Both principles obligate a seaman’s employer to pay maintenance & cure until the seaman reaches maximum medical improvement. Maintenance & cure benefits are highly protected in the federal and state court system. Failure to pay when a seaman is entitled to it, could result in punitive damages. However, that’s not to say that under every circumstance maintenance & cure must be paid. That’s why it’s important to seek competent legal advice concerning whether or not your as the employer are required to pay maintenance and cure. At HBN, we have advices a multitude of clients at every stage of paying maintenance and cure. Not only in relation to litigation, but in the transactions of everyday business clients trust HBN’s advice on whether a seaman is entitle to maintenance and cure. Don’t wait until its too late to begin paying, seek the legal advice of HBN attorneys now.