Maritime Wrongful Death Lawyers
When someone dies at sea because of another person’s negligent actions, surviving family members may choose to file a wrongful death claim to secure compensation for their loss. Wrongful death at sea can be a complex legal case, and actions for the surviving family members may be filed at either the state or federal level, depending on the circumstances. If you have lost someone who was working at sea, contact an experienced maritime wrongful death lawyer for a free legal consultation.
Death on the High Seas Act
The Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA) covers most deaths that occur more than three miles away from the United States and are maritime-related. To receive DOHSA benefits, including compensation for pain and suffering, a personal representative for the decedent must prove the death was caused by someone’s negligence or the unseaworthiness of a vessel.
The family of anyone injured at sea who later dies from those injuries may have a harder time gaining compensation through the DOHSA. The only time an individual can claim benefits through the act in this case is if he or she had a pending personal injury case as a result of the accident.
Spouses, parents, and financial dependents including children are eligible to receive compensation through DOHSA, but the act does not offer a means to secure punitive damages (compensation that is meant to punish the liable party). DOHSA claims may not be the only form of reparation a surviving family member can seek. They are typically filed as part of a larger wrongful death suit.
The Jones Act / Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act
For seamen, longshoremen, and harbor workers’ who work close to navigable waters, surviving family members may also seek compensation through the Jones Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. Both acts are specifically designed to cover compensation costs associated with maritime workers and may offer some recompense for survivors of work-related accidents.
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in State Waters
River-related deaths and deaths that occur within three miles of the coast may also fall under traditional maritime law. Anyone who dies in U.S. waters is covered under maritime law, not just maritime workers. Wrongful death claims in U.S. waters are consistent with traditional wrongful death claims and may provide additional benefits to surviving family members, including punitive damages and compensation for lost companionship.
Pursuing a Wrongful Death Action in a Maritime Case
Since wrongful death actions can take many forms in a maritime case, it is prudent for family members to consult with an experienced maritime attorney before choosing a course of action. A maritime attorney will start by independently investigating the cause of death. If an employer or company’s negligence is to blame, a maritime wrongful death attorney will evaluate all of the circumstances and help a family choose the most applicable claims to file for the benefit of the family.
The maritime wrongful death lawyers at The Daspit Law Firm have years of experience working with surviving family members after a tragic accident. Our team understands that families may feel bitter, confused, and overwhelmed. When we take on a case, a highly qualified maritime wrongful death lawyer will take ownership for the matter and help a family with every step from start to finish. We never ask for payment unless we obtain compensation on a family’s behalf, and our primary goal is to ensure every family that loses a loved one at sea or after a maritime accident finds justice.
The Daspit Law Firm maritime attorneys specialize in maritime and offshore injury law, so we understand what our clients do for a living, the inherent dangers in their work, and how maritime accidents happen. Let us put our extensive maritime law skillset to work for you. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.