Two Cases Of Failure To Provide Maintenance & Cure

The negligent failure to provide medical care to a seaman who has been injured or becomes ill aboard ship gives rise to a claim for damages under general maritime law and the Jones Act. The employer and ship owner are responsible for all damages caused by the failure to properly and promptly treat their crewmen. Unfortunately, some vessel operators put the profits of their ships above the prompt and speedy treatment of their crewmen. Returning an injured crewman to shore means lost time for the ship and smaller profits. Some vessel operators would rather their crewmen suffer and risk further injury than return to shore to get treatment.

Case History One: Our client was a processor working aboard a fishing vessel. He was assigned to work stacking cargo in the freezer hold. He repeatedly complained of pain in his feet, but was not reassigned to work in another area of the vessel. He developed frostbite in both of his feet. The vessel did not know how to properly treat his injuries, and kept him aboard the vessel for ten days. Severe frostbite injuries require prompt medical attention. The failure to promptly treat the crewman's injuries resulted in gangrene in his toes, which required amputation. Our client received a settlement in excess of one million dollars.

Case History Two: X.L. was working offloading cargo from a ship when he suffered a minor head injury in a crane accident. X.L. developed headaches and reactive depression as a result of the accident. He was diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome and post traumatic stress. The employer failed to timely pay X.L. maintenance and refused to pay his medical bills. Sometimes X.L. would go for many months without receiving his maintenance check, even though his doctors said he needed further treatment. The anxiety and stress caused by the failure to pay X.L. his maritime benefits caused X.L. to become deeply depressed and anxious. He suffered a nervous breakdown and was repeatedly hospitalized for depression and stress following his injury. Stacey & Jacobsen, PLLC obtained a confidential settlement for X.L., based upon the employer's failure to promptly and timely pay maintenance and cure benefits.

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