How an Attorney Can Help in a Death on the High Seas Act Case

If your loved one was killed on the high seas around Florida due to someone else’s negligence or wrongful actions, then you have options to obtain compensation. It’s imperative that you consult with a DOHSA lawyer for legal advice.

An experienced maritime and admiralty lawyer can help you gather necessary evidence, determine who was at fault for the death of your loved one, communicate with other parties, and fight for your family’s full and fair compensation.

Areas We Serve

The Death on the High Seas Act applies to the waterways around Florida. We handle cases statewide from our home office in Tampa. Some of the cities we serve include:

  • Clearwater
  • St. Petersburg
  • Ft. Lauderdale
  • Bradenton
  • Key West
  • Brandon
  • Orlando
  • Sarasota
  • Boca Raton
  • Lakeland
  • Naples
  • Fort Myers
  • Cape Coral
  • Miami
  • West Palm Beach
  • Jacksonville

Understanding Death on the High Seas Act Lawsuits

Filing a DOHSA lawsuit after an accident in the oceans around Florida requires a few elements. You must prove that the other party was negligent or took wrongful actions, as well as your financial losses.

Who Can File a Death on the High Seas Act Claim?

A spouse, parent, child, or other dependent relative can file a DOHSA claim if their loved one died at sea.

Unlike Jones Act claims, there are no employment qualifications to file a DOHSA claim. DOHSA protections extend to all maritime and aircraft workers and passengers who were sufficiently off the coast of the United States when the negligent act occurred.

Proving Negligence in a DOHSA Lawsuit

Just like any other wrongful death lawsuit, you must prove that the at-fault party was negligent in order to show that they should be held financially liable for your damages. Negligence is the failure to use reasonable care that a similar individual would under the same circumstances.

Some examples of negligence or wrongful actions in a DOHSA claim include, but are not limited to:

  • Failure to maintain a seaworthy vessel
  • Inadequate crew training and supervision
  • Unseaworthy working conditions
  • Collisions with other vessels
  • Improper medical care on board a vessel
  • Failure to properly guide the airplane

Damages in Death on the High Seas Act Cases

DOHSA recognizes the profound loss of a loved one due to negligence at sea and allows families to seek compensation for their damages. However, you can only obtain compensation for immediate financial damages related to the loss of a loved one. You must have actual financial losses.

There are some exceptions. For example, you can get “financial damages” for the loss of parental guidance and nurture. However, other non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering or loss of companionship, are not available under DOHSA. If your loved one’s death qualifies for a Jones Act claim, then you may be able to get additional types of damages.

How Much Is My DOHSA Claim Worth?

DOHSA damages are typically calculated based on the benefits that the family might have reasonably received from the deceased individual if their life had not been terminated. Damages are calculated based on the age of the person who died, earning potential, overall health, and the contributions made to the surviving relative’s lives prior to death.

Some of the damages you can get under a DOHSA claim may represent:

  • Past medical expenses
  • Burial and funeral costs
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of parental guidance and nurture

Lost a Loved One on the High Seas? Call WMW Today

Contact Our Florida Civil Litigation Lawyers Today

Whether your loved one passed away in a boating or airplane accident off the coast of Florida, you may be able to get compensation under the Death on the High Seas Act. However, this act can be complicated. You need to work closely with a Death on the High Seas Act attorney who understands this maritime law and can make it work for you.

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