Maintenance and cure benefits are due to a seaman who is injured while working aboard a vessel. These benefits are due to an employee regardless of who is at fault for the accident. However, many times, an employer will contest or deny benefits to their employees. Injured employees may receive punitive damages in maintenance and cure claims when an employer willfully denies benefits.
Punitive damages are designed to punish a party for bad faith behavior. If the employer fails to pay maintenance and cure, fails to pay the proper amount of maintenance and cure, delays payment, or terminates an employee’s benefits without good cause, the employee may receive punitive damages. The employees burden of proving injury for maintenance and cure is feather light, meaning that the events will be looked at more favorable to him. Factual disputes will most likely be resolved in favor of the employee.
If an employer denies maintenance and cure benefits to his employee and he knows that the employee was injured on the job, punitive damages will be available. Employers will often argue the employee had a preexisting condition and was not hurt because of his employment. The employer must take the employee as he finds him. Even if the employee has a preexisting condition, if this injury is aggravated while on the job, the employee will still be eligible for maintenance and cure. If an employer makes a denial of maintenance and cure benefits in bad faith, punitive damages may be awarded.
Have You Been Injured in a Maritime Accident?
If you have been in injured in a maritime accident, contact the maritime personal injury attorneys at Lambert Zainey today by calling 1-800-521-1750. We will utilize the expertise we have gained from over 35 years of legal experience and outstanding maritime personal injury case results to ensure that you get nothing less than the compensation you deserve.