Maritime Accident/Personal Injury Law: Maintenance and Unearned Wages

Many people mistakenly believe that maintenance and unearned wages for injured seamen are the same benefit. They are not.

Seamen injured while working on the high seas are entitled to no-fault benefits, in other words, benefits regardless of why the accident happened. Among those benefits are Maintenance & Cure, and unearned wages.

Maintenance is to compensate the seaman for the value of quarters and meals furnished aboard the vessel. The benefit commences on the date the seaman leaves the ship, not the date of the injury, and ends in most instances when the seaman has reached maximum medical cure.

In contrast, unearned wages are the equivalent of wages and are due just as a normal paycheck comes due. The benefit is payable to the end of the mutually-agreed period of the voyage or until the seaman becomes fit for duty. The big issue often is what defines the voyage. The amount can include bonuses, tips, accumulated shore leave, “comp time,” and similar employment benefits.

The issues involved in maritime personal injury cases are complex. Injured seamen should consult with experienced lawyers to learn their rights.

Contact our office today to arrange a free, confidential consultation to discuss your case.

Jeffrey P. Gale, P.A. is a South Florida based law firm committed to the judicial system and to representing and obtaining justice for individuals – the poor, the injured, the forgotten, the voiceless, the defenseless and the damned, and to protecting the rights of such people from corporate and government oppression. We do not represent government, corporations or large business interests.