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Punitive Damages for Failure to Pay Maintenance and Cure Benefits

The employer of a Jones Act seaman is required to pay maintenance and cure benefits to a seaman who has been injured while at sea. Maintenance provides for the seaman’s day-to-day living expenses. Cure provides for the seaman’s medical costs. Employers of injured seamen are required to pay maintenance and cure until the seaman is fit for duty or has reached a point where additional medical treatment will not be beneficial to the seaman.

Many employers unfortunately fail to pay the proper amount of maintenance and cure or fail to pay maintenance and cure entirely. When an employer of a Jones Act seaman fails to pay maintenance and cure, the seaman may be entitled to punitive damages. Punitive damages go above and beyond the amount of maintenance and cure benefits that are owed. Instead, punitive damages are meant to punish an employer who willfully fails to pay maintenance and cure and are meant to deter other employers from taking the same actions.

An injured seaman should take an inventory of their day-to-day living expenses and contact an experienced maritime attorney to determine whether their employer is providing the proper amount of maintenance and cure benefits. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured while working offshore, contact one of the experienced attorneys at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner for a free consultation by calling 713-396-3964 or toll free at 800-594-4884.

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