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What is Maintenance and Cure?

People have been sailing and working at sea for centuries. Beloved maritime traditions have been passed down for generations. One of these traditions has been the right to “Maintenance and Cure” while a seaman is recovering from injury or illness. This means seaman’s most immediate medical and basic needs are to be provided for while the seaman’s health is restored. These rights are granted at the time of the injury and stay in effect until the seaman has recovered, or has reached the medical state known as “Maximum Medical Improvement” where further healing of the patient cannot be expected.


In this context, Maintenance is equal to the cost of everyday living expenses for the seamen and his family. Costs such as rent, utilities, food, and some other daily expenses are covered under maintenance payments while the seaman recovers and cannot work. No set amount has been defined by maritime law. This means that it is important to consider many factors when calculating maintenance. Typical maintenance payments are too low to actually provide for an injured seaman and his family so it is important not to accept any agreements, or sign any documents before speaking with a qualified maritime attorney about what costs should rightfully be covered.


The right to cure means that the medical expenses related to the injury are covered. This includes not only the emergency care immediately after the accident, but also the cost of future surgeries and physical therapy. Costs of medication related to the healing of the injury, and even the cost of transportation to and from appointments are also considered.

A seaman’s most important right is to that of Maintenance and Cure. This is different from a Jones Act claim, because fault of the employer, or owner of the vessel is not required. Even if the accident which caused the injury is the fault of the injured seaman, they are still entitled to Maintenance and Cure. In too many circumstances, penny pinching employers try to pay far too little for the coverage of these costs. Sometimes employers have even tried to delay the payments, or deny them entirely! A free consultation with one of our maritime lawyers will ensure you receive the Maintenance and Cure that you are entitled.

Carabin Shaw has a qualified, experienced team of attorneys that will work for you to protect your interests. If you have been injured in the service of a Maritime Vessel or while performing other maritime duties, contact Carabin Shaw day or night, 7 days a week for a free consultation. 800-862-1260

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