Maritime workers who are injured or become ill in the course of their job or otherwise while aboard a seagoing vessel have a right under federal admiralty law to be compensated for the medical care they require. Under maritime and admiralty law this is known as “maintenance and cure.”
The maritime law that requires that ships’ owners to compensate injured or ill seamen (crew members) for medical care also specifies that those who are willfully and arbitrarily denied maintenance and cure may be due additional compensation.
Our lawyers at Joye Law Firm want to help you obtain compensation for medical care you are due for a maritime accident, injury or illness.
If you have been injured while performing maritime work, call Joye Law Firm now or complete our online form.
Federal Law Protects Injured Maritime Workers
Various federal laws address injury and illness among maritime workers. They include:
- Jones Act, providing payment for medical costs, lost wages and pain and suffering due to injury on an offshore vessel or oil rig.
- Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, providing compensation for medical care and lost wages to workers disabled by injuries on navigable waters of the United States or in waterside loading, unloading, repairing or shipbuilding areas. Survivors of a worker killed in a work-related injury may also seek benefits.
- Death on the High Seas Act. Survivors may seek compensation if a family member dies 3 or more miles off of the U.S. coast.
Maritime workers who are injured or who become ill at sea are entitled to “maintenance and cure” from their employers, as well as the protections above.
Maintenance is the reasonable cost of food, lodging, and transportation to and from a medical facility. Cure is the cost of medical attention, including the services of physicians and nurses as well as the cost of hospitalization, medicine and medical devices.
Maintenance and cure compensation is available regardless of whether the injury or illness is work-related, as long as it occurs while in the service of the vessel. Neither maintenance nor cure may be reduced because of any negligence on the part of the claimant.
If the ship’s owner fails to provide maintenance and cure, it can be ordered by a court to pay additional damages as well as compensation for the primary expenses identified in the claim.
However, an injured maritime worker may not “double dip.” If medical expenses are covered in benefits from a Jones Act claim, the worker may not also receive “cure” damages.
Protecting the Medical Rights of an Injured Maritime Worker
Federal laws that protect injured maritime employees work much like workers’ compensation programs do for people in other lines of employment. They also share a downside: they are insurance programs paid for by the maritime worker’s employer, which means the employer and the insurer has a financial incentive to avoid large payouts.
It is not unusual for a ship owner to dispute a maritime worker’s or survivors’ claim for compensation after an accidental injury, illness or death. Because these laws are complex, it is not hard for a reluctant insurer to get away with paying a recovering and unknowing maritime worker or a grieving family less than they deserve.
Our attorneys at Joye Law Firm want to prevent this from happening to you.
Jones Act and maritime injury compensation claims have many requirements of the injured worker. This starts with a requirement to report an injury or illness to supervisors within 30 days, that you see a doctor and that you complete a variety of paperwork to file a claim.
Unlike a workers’ compensation claim, maritime workers have the right to see a doctor of their choosing. This is an important right to be protected and exercised. A doctor who is independent of an employer or insurer will be less concerned about the monetary consequences of the worker’s medical needs.
A Joye Law Firm injury attorney can investigate your accident and injuries to ensure you receive the compensation you are due. We can also assist you with filing a claim and meeting requirements for you to remain eligible for compensation. If your claim has been denied or benefits that have been approved are inappropriate, we can assist you in an appeal of that decision.
Call Our South Carolina Accident Attorneys Today For Your Maritime Injury
Federal laws meant to protect maritime workers injured in accidents or who have become ill are complex. If you or a loved one of yours has a claim for compensation under maritime or admiralty law, you should discuss the circumstances of your case with a maritime accident attorney at Joye Law Firm. Without proper legal assistance, you could forego much-needed compensation that you deserve.
Call Joye Law Firm or contact us online for a free case review today.