Legal Rights Afforded to Injured Yacht Crew
First and foremost, injured yacht crew members are owed medical care and treatment along with payment of daily living expenses during the period of time the crew member is recovering from the injury. This is commonly known as the maintenance and cure obligation and is owed to injured crew members regardless of fault. Should the yacht owners not pay for appropriate medical care and daily living expenses, they may be held liable for the pain and suffering caused for the delay in treatment as well as punitive damages. In addition to payment of medical care and treatment, crew members are entitled to compensation for lost wages as well as pain and suffering if the injury was caused by an unseaworthy condition aboard the yacht.
To prove unseaworthiness, it must be shown that the yacht or a part of its machinery was not reasonably fit for its intended purpose.
This is a strict form of liability meaning that notice of the unseaworthy condition need not be proven. Injured yacht crew may also seek compensation against their employers for negligence under the federal Jones Act. This means that if it could be proven that the employer was negligent and such negligent acts were the cause of the injury, the injured crew member could be compensated for pain and suffering, lost wages and future medical care and treatment.