Those who work in maritime environments, including those employed on vessels and out on oil rigs, typically don’t have the same rights as terrestrial workers. Someone working in Texas can generally apply for workers’ compensation benefits if they get hurt on the job or develop an illness related to their employment. Maritime and offshore employees do not have the same type of protection.
The Jones Act or The Merchant Marine Act of 1920 gives certain workers hurt in specific maritime environments the right to initiate litigation against an employer. Such claims usually require proving fault. Ultimately, some workers may be eligible to pursue cure and maintenance from their employers if negligence or regulatory non-compliance played a role in their injury or illness.
What are cure and maintenance benefits?
An illness or injury related to someone’s employment could leave them unable to work and deprive them of a stream of income. Their medical condition could generate major medical expenses or even housing costs if they must pay for their offshore accommodations. The right to seek cure and maintenance can help injured or sickened offshore workers cover basic expenses related to employment-acquired health conditions. Maintenance specifically refers to lost wages, while cure benefits can help cover someone’s medical expenses.
Complicated claims often necessitate court
The average maritime worker won’t understand their protection under the law or the process required to pursue compensation from their employers when they get hurt on the job. Therefore, those seeking maintenance and care benefits following a maritime illness or injury will often require the guidance and support of a lawyer.
Someone making a claim under the Jones Act will need to establish they worked in a maritime environment and that their employment is the source of their medical condition. They will also need to provide an estimate for the amount of maintenance and cure they require due to their medical condition.
Legal professionals can inform people about the systems in place for their protection and handle the technicalities of filing necessary pay for work and building a claim that will hold up under scrutiny in court. They also have experience putting an accurate price on an injury or illness for the purpose of seeking maintenance and cure.
Learning more about the systems in place to protect injured offshore workers can be a very important step for those recently hurt on the job within the maritime industry who are concerned about the financial impact of their medical condition.