Employers Must Pay Maintenance And Cure To Injured Seamen

Injured seamen are entitled to maintenance and cure as part of their compensation for their injuries. Maintenance means the room and board of the injured seamen while he or she is recovering from the injury. Maintenance includes such expenses as the seamen's rent or mortgage, utilities, property taxes, homeowners insurance, and food.

In the past, maintenance paid to the injured seamen for his or her daily living allowance has been at a low rate. Following recent Supreme Court cases, maintenance rates can now be paid in a much higher amount if the injured seaman substantiates the need for the amount because of increased living expenses and bills. The courts have held that paying too low a rate for maintenance can expose the employer and or vessel owner to claims for punitive damages (punishment damages for not paying enough maintenance).

Cure is payment of the injured seaman's medical cost. A seaman's employer must pay all reasonable and necessary medical expenses associated with the seaman's injury or illness. These expenses include doctor and hospital bills, therapy expenses, nursing bills, MRI and CT scans, wheelchairs, diagnostic testing, pain clinics, transportation costs to and from the doctor, and other reasonable medical expenses. An injured seaman has the right to choose his own doctor.

Maintenance and cure must be paid by the employer regardless of whose fault the injury was.

The employer's obligation to pay maintenance and cure continues until the injured seaman is fit for duty or until the injured seaman has reached a point where additional medical treatment will not help him or her (that the injured seaman has reached maximum medical improvement).

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If you or someone you love has sustained a serious maritime injury in Wakefield, Newport or anywhere in Rhode Island, contact us online or call our office at 888-KARNS-LAW to schedule a free consultation. The Karns Law Group can give you the information you need to make the right decisions for your family and your future.