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What is "maintenance and cure" in a maritime injury case?

"Maintenance and cure" is a term that comes up often in cases involving workers who have been injured while working in Louisiana's maritime industries. To explain what it means first requires some background information.

Accidents can happen at any kind of workplace, and any kind of worker can be injured on the job. After a serious injury, workers may face huge medical expenses or long periods without income while they recover. This can create a financial disaster for Louisiana workers, no matter what kind of work they do. The good news is that, for most workers injured on the job, there is help available. However, the laws that provide help for maritime workers are different than those that apply to most other workers.

When most workers are injured on the job in Louisiana, they may apply for benefits through the state's workers' compensation system. This system provides them with predetermined amounts of benefits to cover medical expenses, recovery costs and lost wages. However, this system is generally not available to maritime workers. Instead, maritime workers seeking the same kind of compensation must go through admiralty court.

Historically, courts allowed injured maritime workers after a workplace injury to seek compensation for their lost wages and living expenses and medical expenses. These two concepts were known as maintenance and cure. When the federal government codified these historical processes into the Jones Act in 1920, it used the historical terms.

Maritime law can be full of technical difficulties and confusing terminology, but the system can help injured workers to be appropriately compensated. Louisiana attorneys with experience in this field of the law can help the injured through the process.

Source: Cornell University Law School, "Maintenance and Cure," accessed Sept. 26, 2014

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