When a seaman is hurt at work, many employers seek to avoid responsibility by paying “advances” while the seaman is recovering and undergoing medical treatment. By law, the employer of an injured Jones Act seaman is required to pay that seamen maintenance and cure benefits. At the end of a case, employers are not permitted reimbursement for proper maintenance and cure benefits. However, if an employer characterizes payments as “advances,” then the company can try to get repaid that money out of any settlement or amount a jury may award at trial.
While employers may claim they are helping by giving “advances,” to injured seamen, oftentimes the employer is simply trying to make sure it can get repaid later. Instead, injured seamen should insist on receiving the proper amount of maintenance and cure benefits. Each month, the injured seamen’s maintenance check should be enough to pay the seamen’s bills while on land during recovery.
It takes the skill of a competent maritime attorney to insist that their client receive the proper amount of maintenance and cure benefits. A qualified attorney will identify what amount of maintenance is fair and demand the employer pay it. Rarely, if ever, is it appropriate for an injured seamen to take “advances” from their employer.
If you were seriously injured while working offshore as a seamen, it is important to find a skilled law firm with experience handling maritime cases. The law firm of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner is the oldest personal injury firm in Texas, and our attorneys are standing by to assist with your claim. Call us today at 713-396-3964 or 800-594-4884 for your free consultation.