Under maritime laws, injured seamen have a right to collect maintenance and cure payments for daily living expenses and medical bills until they can return to work. In some cases, seamen will receive additional payments from their employers while they are recovering, often called “advances.” These payments are not part of maintenance and cure, and may actually reduce the total amount the seaman receives.
Advances Are Not Part of Maintenance and Cure Payments
While it may seem generous of an employer to pay an injured seaman more than they are required during his recovery, advances have drawbacks. If an employee’s maintenance check contains the words “advance of settlement” or “partial settlement,” it is likely that some or all of the funds received will affect the final claim.
Advances differ from maintenance and cure, chiefly because advance payments:
- Are taxed. While most seamen are not required to pay taxes on maintenance payments, advances are considered wages and are taxed at the same rate as the seamen’s paychecks.
- Are voluntary. Maintenance payments are required by federal law, while advance payments are made at the employer’s will. By giving additional funds when a seaman needs it most, employers may be seen in a more favorable light if the case goes to court.
- Must be paid back. The legally-required maintenance you have received will not be deducted from your settlement. However, if you prevail in a maritime injury case, your settlement may be reduced by the amount received in advance payments.
Maritime employers are legally liable for the costs of an injury or illness suffered in service of the ship, and failure to provide adequate maintenance and cure can be grounds for an injury claim. Our attorneys can explain your options and gather evidence of a maritime company's negligence, helping you get the compensation you deserve. Fill out our quick online contact form or call (800) 362-9329 to speak with a maritime injury lawyer at Hofmann & Schweitzer as soon as possible.