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What is maintenance and cure under the Jones Act?

The Jones Act provides seamen and workers on water-based vessels with legal rights to pursue the damages they sustain while on board such vessels. However, under the Jones Act, victims carry some burdens of proof in demonstrating their rights to claim under the law and the extent of damages that they wish to procure. This post will generally discuss the doctrine of maintenance and cure under the Jones Act, and how it may apply in personal injury cases. But, readers are encouraged to discuss their possible maritime cases with Louisiana-based attorneys.

There are three things that a victim must prove beyond a preponderance of the evidence to successfully bring a Jones Act claim. First, that the victim was a seaman. Second, that the victim was working on the sued vessel when they suffered their damages. And, third, their damages (maintenance and cure) are accurate.

Under the Jones Act, maintenance applies to basic costs that a seaman incurs while traveling to a medical center or facility for treatment. It can include costs related to food, transportation and lodging, while the seaman is in route from the vessel to the medical center.

Cure relates to the costs associated with providing the injured or ill seaman with the medical attention they need to recover. It can include hospitalization costs, costs of medicines and doctors' bills.

Different pieces of evidence may be used to prove the costs a seaman incurred for maintenance and cure in the course of seeking and receiving medical treatment. This includes doctors' reports and bills to receipts for medications, meals and others. With the right evidence and the help of a personal injury attorney that includes admiralty and maritime law litigation in their practices, a seaman may be able to recoup their losses and work toward a successful recovery.

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