In addition to defenses to be raised in Jones Act claims, employers have multiple defenses they may raise to eliminate the duty for maintenance, cure and unearned wages. All of the defenses to the absolute duties of maintenance, cure and unearned wages fall into the category of willful acts of the injured seaman. When a seaman's injuries are caused by his own willful disobedience of the law, "willful misconduct" or willful concealment of a pre-existing condition the employer is excused from his duty to provide maintenance, cure and unearned wages.
Various acts fall into the classification of "willful misconduct" for the purpose of negating the employer's duty. Among these are gross inebriation or drunkenness, fighting, and attempted suicide. When an employer claims a defense based on the willful concealment of a pre-existing disabling condition, the court must determine whether the action was concealment or simple failure to disclose. This defense is often referred to as the McCorpen defense after the case that set the standard for the issue. The failure to disclose an injury is not an automatic defense for the employer, the courts have stated that the employer must show that the withheld information would have had a material effect on the decision to hire the employee.
If you have been injured while working at sea, contact a maritime attorney at Briggle & Polan, PLLC. Understand that by contacting our firm, you'll be working with a professional with experience in maritime law. While this powerful body of law remains a governing force for the sea-faring industry, there are still other issues that could arise as a result of your injury. Our Houston maritime attorneys will be able to help you regardless of your situation.
When you contact our firm to meet with one of our maritime attorneys, you will be taking no risk at all. All of our initial consultations are free of charge, and our maritime attorneys will be able to help you come to a decision regarding the best course of action during this initial meeting. Call us today and schedule a free consultation with a maritime attorney at Briggle & Polan, PLLC. There is a limit to how much time can pass before filing a personal injury claim, so don't hesitate and call us today 866-247-HELP.
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