If you are a seafarer who suffers injuries on a vessel, you may have an entitlement to maintenance and cure under the Jones Act. While most mariners have heard of the Jones Act, you may be less sure of what maintenance and cure means.
What is maintenance and cure? The United States Courts define what maintenance and cure is under the Jones Act.
What do you have to prove?
To receive maintenance and cure, you have to prove that you are a seaman, that you suffered injuries on the vessel and then you must prove the amount of maintenance and cure that you ask for.
When it comes to proving your case, your injury does not need to be work-related. It simply must happen when you are in service of the vessel. Now, if you engaged in reckless behavior, the courts may rule against you.
What benefits do you receive?
If you prove your maintenance and cure claim, what does that mean? It is important to understand both elements of the claim.
First, there is maintenance. Maintenance costs are those costs that maintain you throughout your hospitalization. For instance, maintenance covers the cost of food, transportation and lodging when you must travel to and from the hospital or other medical facility. Maintenance also covers any costs related to your room and board while you are on land.
Keep in mind that while the court takes your exact costs into consideration, you will not receive an excessive amount. For instance, you cannot ask for costs for luxury rooms or excessive maintenance costs.
Cure refers to the medical fees. The medical attention that you receive, as well as your hospitalization costs and medical costs are a part of the cure.