Written by attorney Timothy Justin Young

Calculate Benefits for Maintenance and Cure, Jones Act

Maintenance and cure/ the Jones Act, may supply employees with benefits, if injured in a maritime accident. Jones Act Workers' Compensation covers daily living expenses and medical costs related to the injuries sustained.

When do maintenance and cure/Jones Act, benefits stop?

Workers are entitled to these benefits until they either return to work or the injury has reached maximum medical improvement (MMI). This is determined by a physician and is based on a couple of factors, often whether or not one hires a Louisiana Jones Act lawyer.

One factor is that recovery of the injury has gone as far as expected. Needless to say, this doesn’t necessarily mean a full recovery has occurred.

A second factor in reaching MMI is that the worker’s current condition isn’t expected to improve. However, it doesn’t mean that further medical treatment or care won’t be required.

Sometimes reaching MMI means the employee can return to work, despite not fully recovering, but other times it could mean never being able to return. At this point, compensation is integral to a worker’s wellbeing.

The timeframe for determining when a worker has reached MMI may depend on the circumstances of each case. Generally these findings will take a few months to reach as a doctor monitors the employee’s condition.

When there are disagreements about being ready to return to work or reaching MMI, it may be to a worker’s benefit to seek legal advice from a lawyer. This could prevent not only aggravating an injury, but also protecting the employee’s rights under the Jones Act.

What is covered under maintenance and cure, according to the Jones Act?

Maintenance benefits cover living expenses while receiving treatment and care for the injury. This may include room and board, along with food costs. Cure benefits cover medical expenses.

The daily amount provided for living expenses generally ranges anywhere between $10 and $40, with the possibility of receiving more. It is only given when recovery from the injury requires the worker to be off the vessel. However, its not available if the employee is in a hospital or other setting where cure benefits would cover the medical expenses.

Cure benefits may take care of costs such as hospital, surgery, medication, diagnostic tests and rehabilitative care. As long as the treatment pertains to the injury sustained while onboard the vessel, it generally will be covered.

Who is entitled to receive maintenance and cure benefits?

These benefits are available to any seaman who works aboard a vessel. The worker must perform job duties at least 30 percent of the time on the vessel and be considered as part of the crew.

Some of the types of employees who would qualify for Jones Act Workers' Compensation include deckhands, stewards and oilers. Dredges, oil rigs, barges and cargo ships comprise vessels.

Another factor that determines who is covered is that the job duties are performed on a navigable vessel. This means it is used for navigational purposes and isn’t inoperable or permanently sitting on dry dock.

There can be some concerns about when an employee is able to return to work, the types of benefits available and when they stop. Remember, The Young Firm employs Louisiana Jones Act lawyers who handle claims involving the maritime industry and may be able to help an injured worker understand his or her rights and receive maintenance and cure benefits per the Jones Act.

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