If you work in the maritime industry, getting hurt on the job is a major disruption. You may need to be off while you recuperate and that can result in financial hardship. Fortunately, there are laws that provide maintenance and cure benefits for qualifying injured offshore workers.
But what happens if an employer wants to terminate those benefits?
The laws surrounding maintenance and cure can be complex and you don’t need the hassle of figuring them out while trying to recover. That’s why having a Houston injury lawyer experienced in maritime law and offshore injuries makes sense.
The Krist Law Firm, P.C. understands maritime law and how to fight for the benefits injured workers deserve. Call us today at (281) 283-8500 for a free case evaluation.
What Are Maintenance and Cure Benefits?
Injured workers covered by the Jones Act may be entitled to maintenance and cure benefits during their recovery. These benefits are also available regardless of fault.
The Jones Act applies to employees who suffer work injuries if they spend approximately 30 percent or more working on boats or ships as crew or contribute to the vessel’s function or navigation. If you work offshore but don’t fall into this definition, you may be covered by other laws that would provide compensation for workplace injuries.
At The Krist Law Firm, we can help determine what legal claims you may have.
- Maintenance: Maintenance benefits cover room and board while you recover at home. This includes expenses like your rent or mortgage, property taxes and insurance, gas and electric utilities, and food. Not covered would be cable, internet, car payments, and a host of other expenses outside of keeping a roof over your head.
- Cure: Cure benefits are another way of saying the employer will pay the reasonable and necessary medical expenses you’re incurring because of your workplace injury. Along with those costs, cure benefits will also be paid for your transportation to receive medical treatment.
Some employers may refuse to pay maintenance and cure, or perhaps try to drastically underpay it. If your employer is doing either, you absolutely need the help of our maritime injury attorneys. They know how to make an employer pay the benefits to which you are entitled. Failure to pay, or to underpay, could even result in a claim for punitive damages against your employer.
The Employer’s Rights To Terminate Maintenance and Cure
Once approved for maintenance and cure, you will continue to receive these benefits until you can return to work or you reach “maximum medical improvement” (MMI). MMI means you aren’t likely to improve beyond that point and you’ll likely be discharged from medical care whether you are fully recovered or not.
If you’re able to return to work without restriction, your maintenance and cure benefits will obviously terminate. There is no longer a need to supplement your income to pay for housing expenses and your medical expenses have ended.
The same holds true for a finding of MMI. Your employer will likely take steps to end your maintenance and cure benefits upon the finding of MMI. The important thing to remember is that your employer will likely be pushing for you to return to work or for a finding of MMI.
You may even be “encouraged” to see a doctor for an “independent medical exam.” If you find yourself feeling bullied into an IME, seek legal counsel to discuss your rights.
Contact a Houston Maritime Lawyer Today
The skilled maritime injury attorneys at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. have experience assisting personal injury victims. We know that workplace injuries can be physically, mentally, and financially devastating. Helping you get the benefits you deserve is what we can do to ease your burdens so you can concentrate on healing.
Don’t go it alone against an employer who is looking to pay as little as possible. We can help. Call us today at (281) 283-8500 to discuss your claim in a free, no-risk consultation.