Injured seamen rely on their maintenance and cure payments to sustain them during their recovery, so it is vital that their employers pay the full amount owed for these benefits. Employers typically pay medical providers directly for the costs of treatment, relieving the burden of cure. However, employers may not be as faithful when it comes to covering all of a seaman’s maintenance payments.

You Should Keep an Eye on Your Maintenance Payments

In the past, maritime employers and insurers were only liable for a minimal amount of maintenance to injured workers. For years, employers could pay as little as $10 per day ($300 Maritime Worker Sitting on the Couch With a Knee Injuryper month), regardless of the seaman’s actual living expenses. Today’s courts have put a stop to this, and require maritime employers to pay for a recovering seaman’s actual household expenses.

Your employer should issue weekly or bi-weekly maintenance payments to cover your:

  • Housing. Your employer has an obligation to pay for your room and board while you are recovering from a work-related injury at home. This includes rent or mortgage payments, property taxes, and homeowner’s insurance.
  • Food. All of the meals you eat during recovery should be covered by an employer. This may include reimbursement for grocery bills and reasonable fast food or restaurant expenses.
  • Utilities. Employers are required to pay the costs of utilities that are necessary for a healthy living environment while you recover. Water, electricity, and gas are considered necessary household expenses, but cable, internet, and telephone services are typically not covered.

The law requires a maritime employer to make timely and accurate payments for maintenance and cure. If you are still waiting or have been denied benefits for a maritime injury, your employer could be held liable for punitive damages for failing to pay maintenance and cure.

If you or someone you love has been hurt at sea, you should contact the qualified maritime injury attorneys at Hofmann & Schweitzer as soon as possible to learn your legal rights. Call 1-800-3-MAY-DAY today to or download your complimentary copy of Are You a Seaman Injured in a Maritime Accident? Know Your Rights.


Paul T. Hofmann
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Focused on personal injury, with an emphasis on maritime, railroad and construction worker tort claims.