By definition, punitive damages are designed to punish the party which is required to pay the damages. However, punishment is not the only objective fulfilled by punitive damages. If you have been hurt in a maritime accident, then it is important to understand just how punitive damages can help you as well as punish your employer.
Generally, punitive damages may help you in three ways. Maritime punitive damages may:
- Encourage your employer to do the right thing from the beginning. The knowledge that punitive damages may be imposed may provide enough incentive for your employer to provide you maintenance and cure at the time of your injury.
- Provide you and your New York maritime attorney with bargaining power. If your employer willfully withholds maintenance and cure payments, then your lawyer may remind your employer's attorney about your employer's obligation and the possibility of punitive damages being assessed.
- Provides compensation to you and punishes your employer for violating the law. If you are not able to reach a settlement with your employer, then punitive damages may be assessed.
Additionally, by pursuing a punitive damage claim you may help your fellow seamen. As word gets out among maritime employers that the courts are serious about imposing punitive damages, fewer employers may make injured seamen wait for the maintenance and cure payments after an injury.
For more information about punitive damages after a denial of maintenance and cure, please contact a New York maritime lawyer at 1-800-3-MAY-DAY.