Losing a loved one at sea or as a result of injuries sustained in a maritime accident can be a harrowing experience. While grieving the loss of your loved one, it is important that you know your legal rights. One of the most important maritime statutes is the Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA).
This statute allows the dependents of the deceased seaman to file a lawsuit against the vessel owner if their loved one died aboard the vessel under certain conditions. These conditions may include:
- A fatal accident that can be attributed to negligence
- The vessel must be at least three nautical miles from the shore at the time of the accident
Here are the claims you can seek in a maritime wrongful death claim:
The deceased’s dependents are entitled to claim a projected income from the time of their loved one’s demise until retirement. Additionally, they may claim any retirement income such as Social Security benefits and pension the deceased would have received if they were around.
It is realistic to believe the deceased’s estate could have grown in value if their life were not cut short by the maritime accident. The deceased’s dependents can claim an award to include the increase in value that would have occurred if their loved one had not died.
Lost job benefits
If the dead seaman’s employment provided medical insurance as well as other benefits for their family, then their dependents can claim the monetary value of those benefits in their maritime wrongful death claim.
Loss of family nurturing and guidance
If the deceased seaman had children, the moral or nurturing lessons they would have given to their children can be assigned a monetary value and recovered under DOHSA. However, it is important to note that the court may limit these claims to instances where the children in question are underage or quite young and, thus, are considered to be in great need of parental guidance.
Working in the maritime industry comes with its share of dangers and risks. If you have lost a loved one at sea does to negligence, it is important that you know the kinds of claims you may be entitled to when filing your maritime wrongful death lawsuit.