Under general maritime law and the Jones Act, injured American seamen are entitled to maintenance and cure benefits from their employer. Maintenance and cure benefits require the employers of injured seamen to pay for medical care associated with work-related accidents and provide periodic payments to help cover day-to-day living expenses. Employers of injured seamen are required to pay maintenance and cure until the seaman is fit for duty or until the seaman has reached a point where additional medical treatment will not help the injury.
Whether you or your loved one qualifies as a seaman entitled to maintenance and cure benefits is a determination that our attorneys can assist with. For example, a seaman must be someone who aids or contributes to the mission of a vessel in navigation. The amount of time the injured worker spends aboard vessels, the type of vessels the crewmember works on, and how the injury occurred can all impact whether the injured person qualifies as a seaman. If an employer intentionally refuses to pay maintenance and cure benefits to a qualifying seaman, then that employer may subject themselves to a punitive damages award at trial. This means that the jury can award a seaman who has been wrongfully denied maintenance and cure benefits additional damages for the employer’s willful misconduct that exceed the amount of maintenance and cure the employer would otherwise be obligated to pay.
If you or a loved one was injured while working aboard a vessel, contact one of the experienced personal-injury attorneys at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner for a free consultation to see if your employer may be required to pay maintenance and cure benefits.