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The Jones Act entitles maritime workers to compensation for injuries or illnesses they got on the job. But what happens if a maritime worker dies while at sea?

The Death on the High Seas Act guarantees that the family of deceased maritime workers have legal grounds to sue for compensation. With the help of an experienced maritime lawyer like George Vourvoulias, you can hold any negligent parties, like your loved one’s employer, accountable for their tragic death.

Although no lawsuit can bring back the person you’ve lost, our Louisiana-based team at The Maritime Injury Law Firm will work hard to see that you receive financial assistance to help you and your family move forward.

Read more about wrongful death at sea lawsuits below.

What is The Death on the High Seas Act?

The Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA) is a federal law passed in 1920 to allow the families and loved ones of deceased maritime workers to sue for compensation.

Wrongful death lawsuits are common in the United States, but the law varies from state to state. Before 1920, bereaved families of maritime workers had no legal grounds to sue for wrongful death compensation. DOHSA changed that.

Here are some examples of maritime deaths that could fall under DOHSA:

  • Vessel collisions
  • Slip and falls
  • Falling objects
  • Fishing accidents
  • Diving accidents
  • Falling overboard
  • Occupational diseases

In order to receive compensation, you will need to prove negligence. This means that your deceased loved one’s employer, the boat owner or operator, or some other party acted negligently, and that that negligence contributed to or caused your loved one’s death.

Who can sue under DOHSA?

DOHSA specifies that only financially dependent relatives can receive compensation in the aftermath of a maritime worker’s death.

You may qualify for DOHSA compensation if you are one of the following:

  • Their spouse
  • Their child
  • Their parent, if you were financially dependent on the deceased
  • Their sibling, if you were financially dependent on the deceased

Dependent children can include biological children, step-children, or adopted children. Common law spouses may qualify for DOHSA benefits, but only if they qualify as common law spouses under the state in which the claim is filed.

What compensation can I receive under DOHSA?

If you can prove that your deceased loved one’s employer or some other negligent party was responsible for their death, then you may be entitled to the following compensation:

  • Loss of service
  • Financial support
  • Loss of inheritance
  • Nurture to dependent children
  • Funeral costs

Unlike with land-based wrongful death cases, you cannot be awarded compensation under DOHSA for pain and suffering, loss of companionship, or other non-economic damages.

Contact a Louisiana maritime lawyer today

At The Maritime Injury Law Firm, our experienced legal team understands just how precarious the life of a seaman is. That’s why we make it our priority to see that employers are held to the highest standard of workplace safety.

If you have lost a loved one to unsafe maritime working conditions, don’t hesitate to contact us and schedule a free and confidential consultation.

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