The maritime industry is, without a doubt, one of the most dangerous industries to work in. Maritime workers contend with a wide range of hazards, from unsafe work conditions to unseaworthy vessels and a lack of proper safety equipment.
If a loved one sustains fatal injuries while at sea, you may be eligible for compensation for the resulting damages through a wrongful death claim. To successfully litigate your claim, however, it helps to understand how maritime laws work.
Understanding maritime wrongful death claims
At the very basic, death is deemed wrongful when it is attributable to someone else’s negligent actions. When it comes to a wrongful death at sea, negligence can come in the form of inadequate vessel maintenance, overlooked hazards, intentional errors, lack of safety policies or poor training.
Maritime law and wrongful death
When a loved one’s death is attributable to their maritime work, the maritime laws will take effect to determine your eligibility for compensation. For this, these two statutes will provide direction on your wrongful death claims:
Death on High Seas Act (DOHSA) – DOHSA provides compensation to the seaman’s dependents, as long as your loved one died within three miles offshore. Unfortunately, DOHSA does not cover damages resulting from emotional trauma or loss of companionship following your loved one’s death.
The Jones Act – If a seaman dies while performing work-related duties, the Jones Act will provide compensation for their dependents. Thus, the surviving family can legally pursue and collect damages against the employer or vessel owner following their loved one’s wrongful death.
When a loved one’s death results from the vessel operator or owner’s negligence, you may pursue the liable party for wrongful death claims. However, maritime wrongful death claims can be complicated. Find out how you can safeguard your rights and interests while pursuing a maritime wrongful death claim.