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Defenses to Maintenance and Cure

A shipowner’s duty to pay maintenance and cure is so broad that it arises regardless of the shipowner’s fault or negligence, or the seaman’s contributory fault. There are very few defenses a shipowner can raise to avoid paying maintenance and cure.

Although a shipowner’s duty to pay maintenance and cure is virtually automatic, defenses to maintenance and cure can excuse a shipowner from having to pay maintenance and cure. The shipowner’s defenses to maintenance and cure can involve a dispute about whether the seaman forfeited his right to maintenance and cure because:

  • the seaman is injured by his own willful misconduct;
  • the seaman willfully concealed a preexisting medical condition;
  • the seaman intentionally misrepresents facts about his medical history when applying to work;
  • the seaman refused to accept medical care offered by the shipowner; or
  • the doctrine of laches barred the seaman’s claim.

The attorneys at Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski, PLLC know the best way to address each of these defenses so that none defeat your claim for damages.

Attorneys in Washington State for Maintenance and Cure Benefits

The admiralty and maritime lawyers at Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski, PLLC, represent injured employees in personal injury claims.

Our maritime lawyers have offices in Bellingham and Seattle, Washington. We also file personal injury claims under the Jones Act and general maritime law in Oregon, California and Alaska. We can help you file a motion to compel or reinstate maintenance and cure benefits if your employer or the shipowner refuses to follow the law.

Call 1 (800) 262-8529 to discuss your case today.


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Elements of Maintenance and Cure Claims in the State of Washington

A shipowner must pay maintenance and cure benefits to seamen who prove, by a preponderance of the evidence:

  • the plaintiff was employed as seamen; and
  • the plaintiff’s injuries or illnesses either occurred, manifested or were aggravated while in the ship’s service.

Maintenance and cure includes wages to which the seaman is entitled and expenditures for medicines, medical treatment, board, and lodging. The seaman’s burden is relatively light. In fact, after a seaman has proved his initial entitlement to maintenance and cure, the burden shifts to the shipowner to prove that maximum cure has been reached.


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Attorneys on Defenses to Maintenance and Cure Claims in Washington

Our maritime lawyers have offices in Bellingham and Seattle, Washington, Portland, Oregon, and San Francisco, California. We also file personal injury claims under the Jones Act and general maritime law in Alaska. Additionally, we file motions to reinstate and motions to compel maintenance and cure benefits. Our attorneys also represent longshoremen as land-based non-seaman, who bring a claim for a personal injury under the Longshore and Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act (“LHWCA”).

Call us to find out more about how to combat defenses raised by the shipowner and your employer, including a claim that you engaged in willful misconduct, intentionally misrepresented facts about your medical history when applying to work, or refused to accept medical care offered by the shipowner. Call our personal injury and maritime lawyers in Portland, OR, Bellingham Seattle, WA, and San Francisco, CA. Call 1 (800) 262-8529.


This article was last updated on Monday, July 9, 2018.

Client Testimonials

  • The Maritime Law Association of The United States
    The Maritime Law Association of the United States (MLA) was founded in 1899. Its formation was prompted by the organization, some three years earlier, of the International Maritime Committee.
  • Washington State Bar Association
    The Washington State Bar Association operates under the delegated authority of the Washington Supreme Court to license the state's nearly 40,000 lawyers and other legal professionals.
  • Oregon State Bar
    The Oregon State Bar is a government agency in the U.S. state of Oregon. Founded in 1890 as the private Oregon Bar Association, it became a public entity in 1935 that regulates the legal profession.
  • Alaska Bar Association
    The Alaska Bar Association is a mandatory bar association responsible to the Alaska Supreme Court for the admission and discipline process of attorneys for the State of Alaska.