What Is The Death On The High Seas Act ?

 In Maritime Law

For this unfortunate man and his family, the Death on the High Seas Act applies (DOHSA).  DOHSA takes state court wrongful death remedies and supplants them with exclusive federal remedies.  Congress enacted the DOHSA in 1920 in order to establish a cause of action for death “caused by wrongful act, neglect, or default occurring on the high seas beyond a marine league from the shore of any State, dependency, or territory.” 46 U.S.C.A. §30302.  At the time the courts were holding that general maritime law did not afford a cause of action for wrongful death on the high seas. However, if the death occurred in State territorial waters then that State’s wrongful death statute would apply.  DOHSA applies to any deaths outside of 3 miles from the US.

DOHSA claims must be brought by the personal representative of the decedent (usually a family member).  These personal representatives may only recover their pecuniary loss, including loss of services and loss of support.  Pecuniary damages are damages that can be estimated and monetarily compensated, such as future wages had the decedent lived. 

The attorneys at LaBovick, LaBovick & Diaz have a team specifically dedicated to maritime and admiralty claims.  If you have been injured on a cruise ship, do not wait to make your claim.  Most injuries at sea are held to a one-year time limit or your claim will be unenforceable in court.  Call today for a free evaluation. 

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