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What to know about maritime death claims

On Behalf of | Jul 28, 2022 | Fatal Maritime Law Accidents

The Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA) supplies benefits for the death of someone resulting from a wrongful act on the high seas. Under this Act, the term “high seas” refers to any distance more than a marine league from the shore of any state, D.C. and U.S. dependencies or territories. 

If a member of your family dies while on the high seas, you can file a claim to recover benefits. However, some stipulations must be understood. 

Who can file a claim for a death on the high seas?

According to stipulations set by the DOHSA, action after the death of a loved one can be taken by the decedent’s:

  • Spouse
  • Child
  • Parent
  • Dependent relative

These individuals can recover financial losses, which include the value of lost services, loss of financial support, the value of probable inheritance and funeral costs. Children of the decedent can also recover compensation for the loss of training, support, guidance and care. 

Rights under the Jones Act

When someone dies on the high seas, recovery can also be made from the Jones Act. In this case, a death claim is filed against the person’s employer. Damages provided with this type of claim are slightly different than the ones offered with a DOHSA claim and include pre-death pain and suffering, the loss of fringe benefits, the loss of support, medical costs, loss of wages, loss of inheritance, loss of nurture, funeral costs and the loss of support. 

Your rights when a loved one dies at sea

While no amount of money can make up for the loss of a loved one, the compensation received by these suits can be beneficial in some cases. It can help family members recover from the financial impact of their loved one’s death and take care of the financial things the individual handled while they were alive.