About the Death on the High Seas Act

Established in 1920, the Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA) is a federal act that sets forth statutory rights regarding the death of a seaman that occurs on the high seas. If a seaman – including a crew member, guest or passenger – dies from negligence or a wrongful act on the high seas, a representative of the estate and surviving family may sue for actual monetary loss.

The lawsuit must be filed by a representative of the surviving family within three years of the death. The DOHSA action can be pursued on behalf of the decedent’s spouse, children and/or other financially dependent relatives.

What Is Covered in a DOHSA Claim?

Unlike typical wrongful land based death claims, a DOHSA action only provides recovery for monetary damages such as burial costs, medical bills, lost nurture, lost guidance, lost support and loss of net accumulations to the estate. You cannot sue for loss of companionship, pain and suffering of the survivors or punitive damages. Under certain circumstances a suit can be brought for the pain and suffering of the decedent prior to death.

A crew member death attorney at Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman, P.A. can guide you through filing a DOHSA claim within the statute of limitations as well as explain the rights afforded to you as a seaman. Our firm is AV-rated and maintains the highest level of integrity in all of our work. With over four decades of experience in maritime law, we can help you and your family pursue compensation for your loss. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.

Crew Member Deaths on Cruise Ships

One crew member death a year is far too many. Unfortunately, safety precautions are not always as obvious or readily available for crew members. In addition, cruise lines do not always make crew member safety a priority. As a result, accidents happen.

Recently, a Norwegian Cruise Line crew member was shot in Honduras while debarking at the port in Roatan. In October of 2013, a 23-year-old crew member died, from “natural causes.” Later that week Carnival Cruise Lines reported the death of a crew member in New Orleans. The man was performing maintenance work on the outside of the ship when he suffered injuries after becoming stuck between a cherry picker and a lifeboat.

Accidents like these shine a light on the safety equipment requirements and protocols that vessel owners have a responsibility to provide to crew members. It does not matter where the ship is located, as a seaman you are owed a safe work place and a seaworthy vessel at all times.

Because there is a time limit for filing a DOHSA claim, it is imperative that you consult with an experienced crew member death attorney in a timely manner. The lawyers at Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman, P.A. are dedicated to helping the families of crew members receive compensation for their losses. We can advise on how maritime law applies to your case and guide you through the legal process. We will investigate the incident, gather necessary evidence and help you build a strong case.

Contact Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman, P.A.

Call our law firm today to review your legal options and speak with a crew member attorney at no cost. We offer an initial consultation with an attorney for free. Our firm can be reached toll-free by calling 877-233-1238, and potential clients can also contact us from overseas.

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