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Seaman's Rights

You were just trying to do your job as directed when a maritime accident occurred. Now, you are seriously injured and unable to work for an extended period. You wonder what your rights are and whether your employer is being straight with you about the employer's obligations to you as an injured and out-of-work seaman. You've come to the right place. Arnold & Itkin can provide you with helpful, straightforward information and guidance related to your rights as an injured seaman.

We are committed to helping our clients recover fair financial compensation.

What are my rights as a seaman?

When injuries occur offshore, seamen have certain, unconditional rights. Injured seamen have a right to paid medical care, including medicine and physical therapy, as well as their wages for the duration of the voyage and payments for room and board while recovering. Injured seamen are entitled to these benefits regardless of who or what caused the accident. These seaman's rights are the legal obligation of the maritime employer and are in addition to any rights the injured or ill crew may have under the Jones Act or general maritime law.

If you are able to prove that your employer, the vessel's owner, or someone else aboard the ship was directly responsible for your injury, you may receive compensation for your injury to cover the following:

  • Hospitalization
  • Rehabilitation
  • Counseling
  • Medication / Medical Supplies
  • Limited Work Capacity Expenses
  • Missed Wages
  • Other Medical / Living Expenses

As a maritime worker, you must be able to demonstrate two things: someone else was negligent in their duties and that their carelessness was directly responsible for your injury. In other words, two isolated events involve your employer's negligence and you getting hurt are not enough to receive compensation. You must demonstrate causation between your employer's breach of duty and any injury you suffered.

Seaman Maintenance & Cure Rights

If a seaman becomes injured or ill while at sea, he is entitled to living expenses, lost wages, and medical care through the "principle of maintenance and cure act." Through this statute, an injured seaman has a right to certain benefits until that time that he reaches maximum medical improvement (MMI). These benefits are available until the injured seaman is fit to return to work, and regardless of who was at fault.

The term indicates that the ship owner is obligated to "cure" a crew member injured in the service of the ship by providing medical care until the seaman has reached maximum medical improvement. This could include supplying wheelchairs, prosthetics, or pain medications if further improvement is not possible. These maritime rights allow the seaman to choose his own doctor or medical providers and also give the seaman the option to obtain a second opinion beyond the diagnosis or prognosis of the company doctor.

Cure benefits include the following:

  • Reasonable & Necessary Medical Treatment
  • Durable Medical Equipment & Supplies
  • Medications Related to the Treatment of the Injury / Illness

Maintenance benefits are historically based on a minimal daily subsistence rate. In recent years, the courts have interpreted the right to receive maintenance benefits and the employer's duty to provide these benefits as a requirement that the employer provide adequate benefits to cover the seaman's basic living expenses. Those expenses may include rent or mortgage payments, utility expenses, and food costs.

Protecting the Rights of Injured Seamen Nationwide

At Arnold & Itkin LLP, we understand a seaman's rights and work to ensure that employers meet their full obligation to injured offshore workers. We have helped many injured offshore workers obtain financial help to pay their medical bills, pay rent, and put food on the table. Our offshore injury law firm holds maritime employers accountable for providing full and inclusive benefits and respecting seamen' rights. If you have questions about your rights, whether or not you qualify for benefits under the Jones Act, or other questions related to maritime law, contact a maritime injury attorney from the firm today. We want to help you in the fight for fair compensation.

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