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Jones Act

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Maintenance & Cure

Accidents occur at any worksite, including those which are in the middle of the ocean. For hundreds of years, the United States did not offer much definitive guidance to the compensation workers were entitled to receive after accidents at sea. The maintenance and cure doctrine was one “common law” approach that was made part of admiralty and maritime law since the twelfth century. The Jones Act was additionally implemented in 1920 to provide an avenue for workers to receive compensation for their employer after a negligent accident occur. From this point on, additional statutes were implemented to provide seaman with the appropriate rights that all workers receive.

What is Maintenance and Cure?

The Laws of Oleron were adopted by the courts of England in the twelfth century and provided for a seaman’s rights to maintenance and cure. The United States based their admiralty law on English common law, eventually developing their own maintenance and cure principles. The United States courts recognized the dangers inherent with life at sea, and therefore sought to protect these seamen from a life stricken in poverty after an accident occurred at sea.

Maintenance and cure is the recovery options which seaman are entitled to receive after an injury on the high seas. Specifically, the injured seaman is entitled to maintenance, defined as a living allowance to afford the seaman accommodations similar to that which he (or she) received at sea. “Cure” is defined as the medical expenses the seaman is entitled to receive, as well as lost wages. Maintenance and cure claims provide injured seamen the right to receive the above while the seaman is still in the service of the employer. This right to receive compensation is not dependent on the negligence of the vessel owner.

Maintenance & Cure Recovery

The doctrine of maintenance cure was based on the understanding that seamen are entitled to receive room and board, even while sick on the high seas. Therefore, maintenance and cure claims will include amounts to equal the cost of lost wages, medical expenses, and outside expenses.

Maintenance and cure claims are often brought together with a Jones Act claim or a general unseaworthiness claim. However, maintenance and cure is not dependent on a Jones Act Claim or any other claim. An experienced maritime law attorney will assist you in understanding the amount of compensation you are entitled to receive under maintenance and cure claims, and whether this is the appropriate option for your injuries.

The Malley Law Firm | Houston Maritime Law Attorney

If you or a loved one were injured while at sea, do not hesitate to contact the Malley Law Firm. Tony Malley has years of experience in handling maritime injury claims and understands the different avenues you can bring a claim within. He will examine all the facts and circumstances of your case and will then discuss with you the options you have for recovery, such as maintenance and cure claims. Contact our Texas offices today for your initial free consultation.


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