What Is Maintenance & Cure?
- Maintenance is the amount of money to which a seaman is entitled for daily living expenses associated with his recovery. In other words, it’s the daily rate necessary to cover the cost of an injured seaman’s room and board while he recovers from illness or injury. Eligibility for maintenance and cure is limited to seamen who are injured in the service of a vessel, and they are entitled to this benefit from the last day when any unearned wages would have been due until reaching maximum “cure” or maximum medical improvement.
- Cure on the other hand, is the reasonable medical expenses incurred in the treatment of the seaman’s condition necessary for him to reach maximum medical improvement. The injury or illness from which the seaman suffers must have manifested while in service of the vessel, and it includes both the care intended to cure the illness (curative care) as well as specialized services needed to manage pain and improve the seaman’s quality of life (palliative care). Also falling under cure are any out of pocket expenses incurred by the seaman such as but not limited to prescriptions.
Every seaman has the absolute right to choose their own medical provider, and no seaman is under an obligation to receive treatment from the doctors selected by their employer. Do not be afraid to choose your own medical provider. Listen to your body and select the provider that you believe is best for you. A second opinion never hurt anyone, but not having one could hurt you later on.
What is “Maximum Cure”?
Maximum Cure is the same as maximum medical improvement. It is the point at which the seaman’s condition is fixed and stable, and the seaman is no longer receiving curative medical treatment. Treatment is considered “curative” if there is potential for it to improve the underlying condition, as opposed to just treating symptoms. In contrast, palliative treatment is that which relieves symptoms of a condition but does not actually improve the underlying condition (e.g. pain medication). Once a seaman reaches the point that there is no more curative treatment available, entitlement to maintenance and cure ends. A seaman’s doctor makes the determination of whether the seaman has reached maximum medical improvement.
Does maritime law apply to oil and gas workers?
Maritime law can certainly apply to oil and gas workers depending on the nature of their work, how they were injured, the location in which they work, among other factors. Workers in the oil and gas industry are positioned in hundreds if not thousands of different roles. While the role may not appear to be maritime-related it nevertheless may be. If you are an oil and gas worker and have been hurt on the job or hurt working offshore, call us at (832) 791-3388 so we can investigate whether the incident is applicable to maritime law.
How much time do I have to file a claim?
If you have a Jones Act claim, the statute of limitations is three (3) years. That means that you must file a lawsuit within three years from the date of the injury or lose the right to file suit forever. If you do not have a Jones Act Claim but are nevertheless injured, the statute of limitations in your case will be governed by the state’s law in which you are filing your lawsuit. In Texas, injured individuals have two years from the date of the injury to bring a legal action in a court of law. If you have been injured at work and are in need of legal advice, we suggest that you contact us as soon as possible so that the rights and remedies that you may have can be preserved and protected. Speaking to an attorney does not mean that you are obligated to hire one, and it’s possible that you may not even need one. Considering the risk of not contacting an attorney versus the potential rewards for doing so, it would be much worse to find out later that you needed one. Call us now at (832) 791-3388 to learn more and perhaps get a bit closer to some peace of mind.
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