Perhaps you are a maritime worker and suffer from an injury you sustained while serving as a deckhand on a freighter.
Under the provisions of the Jones Act, your employer failed to provide you with “maintenance and cure.” What does this mean and what should you do about it?
About the Jones Act
If you are an injured seaman, you are likely protected under the Jones Act if you spend at least 30% of your work time serving on a vessel in navigable waters. If you are responsible for sustaining an injury, you do not qualify for coverage. However, if employer negligence is the cause of your injury, you can expect to receive benefits. Examples of employer negligence include failure to:
- ensure non-skid surfaces on vessel decks
- provide warning signs in hazardous areas
- repair malfunctioning equipment
- perform regular equipment inspections
- provide workers with proper safety training and safety gear
Maintenance and cure
The term “maintenance” refers to reasonable expenses related to lodging, food and transportation when an injured worker must travel between home and a medical facility. “Cure” is the cost of medical care including doctors’ visits, hospitalization, medicine and medical equipment, such as a wheelchair or crutches.
Injuries for maritime workers can be serious, if not life-changing. If your employer does not provide you with maintenance and cure, it may be time to seek legal guidance. Make sure to keep any receipts for expenses related to your injury and record incidents and progress as you recover. You may qualify for compensation to cover your medical expenses, pain and suffering and more.