The expectation is that when you are injured at work, your employer will cover the expenses related to that injury. That expectation applies even when you work in the maritime industry. Even if your injury occurs out on waters far away from Long Beach, employee legal protections (more specifically, The Jones Act) follow you around the world. Many in your profession come to us here at Russell, Mirkovich & Morrow prepared to pursue a standard workers' compensation claim after having been injured at sea, yet the guidelines governing maritime accident injuries are somewhat unique.
The most glaring difference between the coverage you get with a maritime injury claim as opposed to a workers' compensation case is the type of coverage available to you. The Jones Act allows you to collect both maintenance and cure. "Maintenance" refers to your day-to-day living expenses. If your injury requires rehabilitation, then you may have to take time off. Maintenance payments help to supplement your income while you are away from work, which makes meeting the costs of living more manageable. "Cure," on the other hand, refers to the payment of your medical bills. Given the complexities that come with working at sea, it is possible that your injury could be extensive. The costs of getting you immediate care might also be high. Cure assistance covers those expenses.
Per the Cornell Law School, you are entitled to receive maintenance and cure benefits until you are either fit to return to regular duties aboard your vessel, or it is determined that no further medical treatment will help in resolving the injuries that you sustained (at which time disability benefits may then become an option).
You can learn more about your rights as a maritime worker by continuing to browse through our site.