As a seaman, you probably qualify for maintenance and cure benefits if you have become injured or gotten ill while working at sea. The Jones Act allows eligible seaman to seek financial compensation for a wide range of damages, including “maintenance” and “cure.”
- Maintenance benefits provide compensation for food, lodging and other living expenses while you are recovering.
- Cure benefits cover your medical costs, including doctor and hospital bills, physical therapy, medical devices and transportation costs.
If your employer has refused to pay these benefits or is not paying you the total amount you feel you are due, contact Houston maintenance and cure attorneys Ricardo N Gonzalez & Associates.
A Legal Obligation to Provide Maintenance and Cure
Your employer has a legal obligation to provide maintenance and cure benefits if you were employed as a seaman and your injuries or illness occurred, manifested, or was aggravated while at work. There are only rare instances in which your employer is not responsible for paying your benefits, such as if injured by your own willful misconduct; you refused to accept the medical care when offered by the ship owner; or you willfully concealed a preexisting medical condition.
Your employer remains responsible for providing maintenance and cure until you reach “maximum medical improvement.” This means that you’ve either been cured and are ready to return to work, or your condition has been diagnosed as permanent and is not expected to improve any further.
If your employer does not offer to pay for your maintenance and cure, you have a right to file a lawsuit to recover these benefits.
Get the Maximum Benefits You Are Entitled To
At the law firm of Ricardo N Gonzalez & Associates, our Houston maintenance and cure attorneys help seamen like yourself to get the compensation they deserve if an injury or illness has left them unable to work. Under maritime law, your employer’s duty to pay maintenance and cured benefits is “virtually automatic.” However, they may not want to pay you the total amount you may have coming to you. With our expertise, you will be able to show the wages to which you are entitled as well as provide a full and accurate account of your medical and living expenses that will enable you to collect the maximum amount of benefits. We also represent seaman who have experienced problems because a company physician has prematurely declared a worker as having reached maximum medical improvement, thus allowing their employer to end their benefits.
There’s no need to establish liability to receive maintenance and cure benefits from your employer. However, if it can be proven that your injuries or illness were caused by the unseaworthiness of the vessel you served, you may be able to seek additional compensation under maritime law.
If you have been refused maintenance and cure benefits or believe you aren’t getting the amount of benefits you deserve, don’t put off getting legal help – there are statutes of limitation for claiming maintenance and cure benefits. Contact Ricardo N. Gonzalez & Associates to schedule a free consultation with our Houston maritime injury attorneys without delay. We are headquartered in Houston, Texas, but serve clients in Galveston, Texas City, Freeport, Pasadena, Port Arthur, and all along the Gulf coast.