Written by attorney Timothy Justin Young

Jones Act Claim Compensation: Defining Maintenance, Cure, Transportation, & Wages

The Jones Act and maritime law in general are exceptionally intricate and contain a lot of confusing legal terminology. If you are filing a claim after maritime work injury, it’s important to have a basic understanding of commonly used Jones Act and maritime claim terms, and what kinds of Jones Act claim compensation for which you may be eligible.

Defining Maintenance and Cure

All seamen injured on the job have the right to “maintenance and cure." Maintenance refers to the seaman’s basic living expenses including:

  • rent/mortgage;
  • food;
  • utilities; and
  • transportation expenses.

Workers can recover these benefits regardless of who was at fault for the accident; it’s a right mariners have had since early U.S. admiralty laws.

As long as the worker is classified as a “seaman" and spends at least 30 percent of his or her time on a vessel in navigable waters, maritime workers will qualify for maintenance and cure should they suffer injury on the job. Unfortunately, maintenance benefits are generally very low and are often not nearly enough to actually “maintain" an injured worker. Most injured maritime workers have to look into other compensation possibilities, such pursuing Jones Act claim compensation or a third-party claim.

Cure covers all the seaman’s reasonable and necessary medical expenses related to the injury. Maintenance and cure benefits begin at the moment the worker is injured, and stay in effect until the worker reaches maximum medical improvement (the point at which doctors determine that the worker will improve no further.)

Defining Transportation Damages

When a seaman is injured on the job, he or she is eligible to receive compensation for expenses related to transportation. This reimbursement includes any medically-related transportation expenses, such as the cost to take the worker back to shore, reimbursement for gas, public transit costs, and ambulance services. For detailed explanations on exactly what is and isn’t covered, it’s best to speak to an attorney that focuses on maritime law.

When injured workers file Jones Act claims, they can seek restitution for both lost wages and future wages. Not only can they file for wages they've already lost while recovering from their injuries, but also for lost capacity to work (total or partial disability) and the loss of fringe benefits.

Consult an Attorney for Help Pursuing Jones Act Claim Compensation

Additionally, injured seamen may qualify to include general damages on their claim, a term which refers to the non-tangible losses, such as pain and suffering and mental anguish. It’s important that have a lawyer help handle your Jones Act or general maritime claim because calculating damages and understanding all the legal procedures and terms takes field experience and training. A reputable maritime firm will be your best bet to recover fair compensation to which you're entitled.

If you or your loved one has been injured while working at sea, contact our attorneys at The Young Firm for legal counsel. We can help you collect all necessary paperwork, file the appropriate forms, calculate your damages, and ensure you seek every possible avenue of financial compensation. Call us for a free consultation today at (866) 938-6113.

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