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Obtaining maintenance and cure following a maritime accident

For some residents in New Orleans, working on a boat is his or her primary source of income. Whether you work on a private vessel or a large ship, the daily activities and routines of seaman can include rather risky work. Therefore, becoming injured on the job is not a rare occurrence in this industry. And for those injured in a maritime accident, it is important that there are recourses available to them.

Maintenance and cure is a typical recourse available for injured seamen. This means that the vessel owner is responsible for paying for the maintenance and cure for any injury or illness suffered during a seaman's course of service. This obligation arises from the employment relationship established between the owner and the seaman.

The obligation of maintenance and cure exists regardless of the seaman's fault regarding his or her injury or whether any negligence was involved or a vessel is deemed unseaworthy. Additionally, an ill or injured seaman who becomes ill or injured in the course of their service on a vessel is also entitled to unearned wages for his or her employer until they are found fit for duty or until the voyage ends.

Maintenance refers to the daily payment to compensate the seaman for his or her room and board aboard the vessel. This begins on the date the seaman leaves the vessel and not the date of the injury or illness. Cure refers to a seaman's right to medical treatment, and this right continues until he or she is found fit for duty or is found to have reached maximum medical stability. In these cases, a seaman is obligated to mitigate his or her medical expenses; however, the employer does bare the burden of proving what is necessary or is in excess.

While no seaman expects to be injured while working on a vessel, it is important that seamen note that there are entitled to recourses if they do suffer any injuries or illnesses while working on a vessel. Maintenance and cure can be a crucial compensation to collect, helping a seaman properly recover from an illness or injury and return to work.

Source: Findlaw.com, "The Seaman's Entitlement to Maintenance, Cure and Unearned Wages," accessed Jan. 15, 2017

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