Personal injuries that occur while working on boats, barges, or other vessels are subject to different rules from most other types of injuries. One important aspect that you should know about is the Maintenance and Cure Doctrine in Memphis maritime accidents. Seamen who were injured or became ill while working on a vessel should contact experienced maritime injury attorney Elissa M. Coombs to help with the legal response.
What is the Maintenance and Cure Doctrine?
Maintenance and Cure is a remedy that is allowed to seamen who are covered under the Jones Act. Maintenance is a pre-determined daily rate set by the worker’s company and is meant to replace the food and lodging that that injured seaman would have received on the boat if they had not been injured. These workers typically live on their boat for about 30 days at a time, where they are provided meals and lodging.
When they are injured or become ill while in service of the vessel and are recuperating at home, the maintenance rate is intended to replace that food and lodging that they would have otherwise received on the boat. The rate varies between companies and even between regions. In the Memphis area, the rate that the Maintenance and Cure Doctrine provides is typically between $40 and $50 a day, but is also contingent on the company itself.
Cure Benefits for Seamen
Cure refers to the medical treatment that an injured or ill seaman receives while they are off work. Once again, in order for the seaman to have cure rights, the injury or the illness has to have happened on the boat or became evident while the seaman was on the boat. Cure is the employer’s obligation to pay for all medical bills, prescriptions, treatment, surgeries, and anything else that is required to get that worker to the point of Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI).
When Might Maintenance and Cure Come Into Play?
An example of the Maintenance and Cure Doctrine in a Memphis maritime accident is when a deckhand is injured on a boat and taken off the boat to go to the hospital. If they are not able to return to work because they have to recuperate, they are then entitled to maintenance and cure until that seaman reaches MMI – in other words, they have recovered as much as they are realistically going to.
Physical Injuries on a Boat
Maintenance and cure are easier to quantify for physical injuries because it means there was a discrete incident that caused the injury which forced the worker to be removed from the boat.
It is more difficult when an injury is not reported, or the worker does not know that they had been hurt. They might work a few more days and go home on their normal shift, and only then realize that something is wrong. At that point, they will have to collect evidence to prove they were injured on the boat and make the claim against their employer for maintenance and cure.
Illnesses on a Boat
For illnesses, there does not have to be a discrete incident that causes it to happen. An example of an illness that has affected maritime workers (especially dredge workers) in the recent past would be MRSA, which is a rash that develops into a potentially dangerous skin infection. If symptoms of an illness manifest while the seaman is on the boat, then the employer is responsible for maintenance and cure until that illness is resolved or until the worker reaches MMI.
Call a Memphis Attorney to Learn More About the Maintenance and Cure Doctrine in Maritime Accidents
Maintenance and cure are critical aspects to the recovery process of seamen who are harmed while on the job. Elissa M. Coombs is the legal professional to go to when you need compensation after an accident. Reach out to the Law Office of David E. Gordon to schedule a free consultation.