If you’re a maritime or offshore worker, then chances are you’re familiar with maintenance and cure. Part of the Jones Act, these are some of the best workers’ compensation benefits for any industry in all the United States.
However, some complications can affect an injured seaman’s ability to collect maintenance and cure benefits. For example, is it possible to collect maintenance payments if you’re in jail?
The Maritime Industry Law Firm knows all the ins and outs of the Jones Act and maintenance and cure. We can help you fight for your rights and compensation in the Louisiana maritime industry.
What are maintenance and cure in Louisiana?
- Maintenance covers an injured seaman’s life necessities. This includes rent, utilities, food, property taxes, insurance, and more.
- Cure covers an injured seaman’s doctor and medical bills. This includes not only the bills themselves but also transportation fees.
One important distinction between maintenance and cure benefits under the Jones Act is that they do not rely on fault-based claims. Injured seamen don’t have to prove their employer was at fault for their injuries, only that they were on-site at their offshore job when the injury occurred.
The no-fault nature of maintenance and cure benefits are what makes them some of the most comprehensive workers’ compensation benefits in the country.
It is also what makes offshore and maritime employers fight so hard not to pay maintenance and cure payments. They will often work to find any loophole to avoid paying either maintenance or cure, which is why a determined maintenance lawyer is critical if you’ve been injured on the job as a seaman.
Can I receive maintenance in jail?
Maritime employers famously search for any stipulation to avoid paying maintenance to injured workers who are entitled to their compensation and benefits.
Unfortunately, jail time is one of the strongest defenses against employers paying their employees’ maintenance benefits. Past cases have established a legal precedent where employers did not have to pay maintenance to employees while they were in jail.
Therefore, if an injured seaman spends a night in jail for a minor crime, then their employer is not legally obligated to pay them.
However, the precedent was established long ago, in a different culture. Historically, sailors did not have the privilege of owning property and, in turn, did not pay mortgage payments.
In the past, maintenance largely covered food expenses. People receive food in jail, so traditionally injured seamen did not need maintenance payments to cover their food.
Times have fortunately changed, and many sailors can own homes or rent lodging. Even if a seaman spends a night in jail, they still need to pay mortgage and rent. Additionally, seamen still need to pay bills for insurance and other necessities for their time in jail.
Unfortunately, the precedent works against seamen who face these situations.
Are there any exceptions to receiving maintenance in jail?
At this time, there are no exceptions to the precedent that seamen may not receive maintenance benefits in jail. As times change, there may one day be potential for the law to protect injured seamen’s compensation rights even while they serve jail time.
Contact The Maritime Injury Law Firm in New Orleans, Louisiana
The Jones Act is a broad law with wide coverage for injured seamen. However, every law has its exceptions and nuances. If you have questions about the Jones Act, contact the Maritime Injury Law Firm for a free, private consultation. With 20 years of experience, George Vourvoulias is here to help you in the fight against employers and insurance companies.