The dangers of working onboard a ship at sea are clear, but not being in a land-based location means many of the protections of federal and state workers’ compensation laws do not apply. Fortunately, there is a statute that closes this gap. The Jones Act extends the protections of the Federal Employer Liability Act (FELA), which pays compensation to qualifying employees who are injured on the job. Under the Jones Act, you could be entitled to benefits for maintenance and cure, and these amounts offer valuable financial support after a seaman suffers harm in a maritime accident.
Florida boasts almost 8,500 miles of coastline, along with numerous shipping ports and cruise passenger terminals along the way. The maritime industry is extensive, so it is important for those who earn a living through it to know their rights. There are many details that apply to Jones Act claims, so trust a Miami maritime injuries lawyer for assistance. An overview of maintenance and cure is also helpful.
Losses Covered by Maintenance and Cure
The Jones Act creates a sort of federal workers’ comp system for the maritime workers it covers, so it is helpful to understand the terminology in this context. Specifically:
- Maintenance refers to the daily living expenses and costs that an injured employee loses while unable to work. Benefits cover basic needs such as food, clothing, utilities, and shelter.
- The term cure includes all costs related to medical care for the injured maritime worker. The Jones Act pays benefits for hospitalization, doctor’s appointments, surgery, medications, and equipment.
Eligibility for Jones Act Benefits
The key qualification for receiving maintenance and cure benefits is that you must be a “seaman” as defined by the law. You may be eligible as a seaman if:
- You work on a vessel that is in navigation as opposed to being constructed, renovated, or repaired.
- Your job duties contribute to the vessel’s function.
- You spend at least 30 percent of your working hours on a designated ship or with a fleet of vessels.
If you are not eligible under the Jones Act but work in the maritime industry, you might qualify under another workers’ comp program: The Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA).
Additional Compensation for Maritime Injuries
Maintenance and cure benefits are very helpful for helping you recover from tragic injuries and cope with the loss of income. However, there are additional benefits that you may qualify to receive, including:
- Pain and suffering;
- Scarring and disfigurement;
- Emotional anguish; and,
- Other losses that impact your quality of life.
Note that these damages are not available under LHWCA if you do not qualify as a seaman.
Consult With a Miami Maritime Injuries Attorney to Learn More
This summary of maintenance and cure under the Jones Act is useful, but you should trust our team at Gerson & Schwartz, PA, to handle a real-life claim. For additional details, please call (305) 371-6000 or go online to set up a no-cost case evaluation at our offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach, FL.