Maintenance and Cure
Under federal maritime law an injured seaman or fisherman is entitled to significant protections and benefits, regardless of fault for the cause of the injury. Benefits like maintenance, cure and unearned wages cannot be withheld simply because a company says the injured party caused their own injury. Large companies and employers have a lot of experience, knowledge and resources and they will use all of this to their advantage when dealing with injured parties and taking steps to terminate their benefits. When dealing with these companies, it’s important to be able to recognize what your rights and obligations are.
The term “maintenance” means a daily allowance for expenses such as the seaman’s rent or mortgage, utilities, property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and food. Essentially, maintenance payments are provided to pay the household’s necessary costs. Rent or mortgage, utilities, taxes, and insurance are necessary household expenses, while telephone, cable, and internet are not necessary household expenses.
Cure is the injured seaman’s or fisherman’s reasonable and necessary medical expenses, along with the cost of transportation for getting to and from their medical treatment appointments. An injured seaman or fisherman should not have to pay anything to receive medical treatment for injuries sustained on the job.
Just because the law entitles you to maintenance and cure benefits it doesn’t mean the company wants to keep paying it.
Injured parties are entitled to receive maintenance and cure benefits for the duration of their recovery or until the person reaches a point of maximum medical improvement (MMI). Injured parties should never let a company tell them when they have reached MMI, even if the company is relying on the opinion of an Independent Medical Examiner (IME). Companies will often send an injured party to an appointment which the person believes is for medical treatment but ends up being an IME with a doctor the company paid for and the injured person has never met before.
When these doctors issue an opinion that the injured party is now MMI, the company will frequently rely on that to terminate benefits. Maritime attorney Neil Lindquist is experienced and ready to fight for injured parties who find themselves in situations like this. If you or someone you love is a seaman or fisherman who was injured at work and are not receiving your maintenance and cure benefits, you should contact The Law Office of Neil T. Lindquist at 425-372-7799 for a free consultation and explanation of your options.
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