Members of a crew who are injured while working on a vessel or “subject to the call of the vessel” do not get workers compensation benefits. Instead, they get the unique benefits of Maintenance and Cure.
Generally, maintenance is a daily cost of living payment that an injured seaman gets until he reaches Family Concerns Simon & O’RourkevMaximum Medical Improvement, the point where medical treatment is no longer improving his conditions.
An injured seaman is entitled to receive these benefits for every day of the month that he is not able to work, regardless of the number of days he normally works a week. For example, if a deckhand normally works 14/14 (14 days on and then is home for 14 days), he gets paid maintenance for all 28 days, not just the 14 days.
This is the bad part. In our experience, the company normally tries to pay Maintenance payments in the range of $15 a day to $35 a day.
This is way lower than what most workers normally make while working offshore. As a result, the injured worker immediately starts feeling financial pressures.
Based on our combined 25 plus years of experience, we are of the opinion that the companies try to use low maintenance.
Simon & O’Rourke has extensive experience fighting to make sure that our clients receive the maintenance benefits that they were entitled to receive.
We know the laws and will help you better understand the benefits that you are entitled to. If the liable party refuses to properly pay you the benefits that you are entitled to receive, we will bring an additional claim for punitive damages for “wanton disregard for maintenance and cure obligations.”
A good Jones Act lawyer will be able to help you understand better your entitlement to maintenance following an injury offshore or at sea. The laws are complicated and the vessel owner is being represented by a lawyer or other party with training or experience. Trying to navigate your claim without an attorney is exactly what the company wants you to do.