Punitive Damages Maintenance and Cure
Stacey & Jacobsen, PLLC represents injured seamen in claims for punitive damages in cases involving the willful and wanton failure to pay maritime maintenance and cure benefits. Stacey & Jacobsen, PLLC is one of the most experienced maritime personal injury law firms in the nation. They have helped thousands of injured seamen obtain maintenance and cure benefits. After the Supreme Court’s holding in Atlantic Soundings v. Townsend, they were one of the first maritime law firms in the nation to try a punitive damage claim for the willful failure to pay maintenance and cure. The jury awarded their client $ 1,300,000 in punitive damages, based upon the employer’s failure to authorize and pay for the injured seaman’s needed medical treatment. During the course of that case, Stacey & Jacobsen, PLLC obtained Court ordered discovery of medical reports and insurance adjuster files the employer concealed from disclosure.
Maintenance and cure benefits are part of the general maritime law and, in almost all cases, every seaman who falls sick or becomes injured in the service of the vessel is entitled to these benefits. You have the right to choose your own doctor and to receive reasonable and necessary medical care for injuries occurring aboard the vessel. Your employer must promptly investigate your claim and resolve doubts as to entitlements to maintenance and cure benefits in favor of the injured seaman. Maintenance is a daily living allowance paid to a seaman during the time the injured seaman is recovering from his injuries. Where an employer willfully and wantonly denies maintenance and cure, the crewman may be entitled to seek recovery of attorney fees and punitive damages. Punitive damages are designed to punish wrongful conduct and deter and discourage other maritime employers from engaging in similar wrongful conduct.
Obtaining punitive damages in maritime maintenance and cure cases involves complex issues. Unless properly developed in early stages of litigation, evidence of the employer’s wrongful conduct may be difficult to prove. Despite the threat of punitive damages, many maritime employers continue to wrongfully deny their employees these basic benefits. If you have questions about your rights to maintenance and cure benefits, you should contact an experienced maritime injury lawyer to discuss your claim.