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What is the Death on the High Seas Act?

On Behalf of | Jul 16, 2022 | Admiralty And Maritime Law

If you have a loved one who is working on a vessel and that person dies on the job, you may have protection under the Death on the High Seas Act. This legislation allows you to collect benefits if your situation meets the criteria.

Marine Insight explains the idea behind the act was to allow for compensation to families of maritime industry workers who die on the job.

The details

The DOHSA became law in 1920. It provides money to families to pay for costs associated with the loss of a loved one. Families have the right to make claims for suffering and loss due to death. Payments rely upon the financial impact the person’s death has on the family.

The act will cover deaths within three miles of the US shore, according to the U.S. House of Representatives. The person needs to be a maritime worker who was not liable for his or her own death.

Benefits you may claim include payments for any expenses directly related to the death, such as funeral costs and medical bills. You also can get money for the pain and suffering you feel from the loss of a loved one. The court may also approve other expenses on a case-by-case basis. The judge will disburse all benefits according to the amount of loss. For example, spouses would receive more than a parent because the financial loss is greater.

The claim process

To make a claim, you will have to do so between one to three years after the death, depending on your state law. You must be a close relative who will suffer a financial loss due to the loved one’s death. You also need to work with a person the court appoints. That person will handle the process for you. You cannot file the claim on your own.


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