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What is “maintenance and cure” under the Jones Act?

On Behalf of | Mar 19, 2024 | Personal Injury

A seaman’s job isn’t easy, and workers on ships get hurt all the time. Their right to “maintenance and cure” is one of the most significant benefits an injured sea worker is due.

In general, the Jones Act provides protections and remedies for maritime workers who get hurt or sick while working aboard a seafaring vessel. If 30% or more of your work activity takes place while you’re on a ship that’s floating and in operation, you’re eligible for this form of relief if you end up injured or ill.

What do maintenance and cure give you?

“Maintenance” is your right to room and board while you’re recovering, and it is paid on a per diem (daily) basis, so the exact amount can vary according to the economics of your location. Essentially, this replaces the room and board you would have received if you were still working on a ship or vessel.

By comparison, “cure” is the term used for medical care related to your work-related injury or illness. It may include everything from hospitalizations and medication to follow-up visits with a doctor and physical therapy. 

Maintenance and cure are both “no-fault” compensation. In other words, neither is dependent upon whether or not your employer’s negligence somehow caused your injury or illness. 

How long does maintenance and cure last?

You can only receive maintenance and cure until you’ve reached the point of maximum medical improvement (MMI) – or the point at which no further recovery is likely. 

Employers are generally required to pay maintenance and cure directly to the seaman and/or their medical providers, but not all employers are diligent about that responsibility. Some are overly eager to end their financial obligations to injured workers as soon as possible, even when that’s unfair. If you are having trouble getting the benefits you’re entitled to receive under the Jones Act, it may be time to seek legal guidance.