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Death on the High Seas Act

On Behalf of | Feb 9, 2023 | Admiralty And Maritime Law

Working on a boat comes with a unique set of dangerous circumstances. As a family member, what happens if an accident out at sea takes the life of a loved one?

In 1920, the federal government enacted the Death on the High Seas Act or DOHSA to help families left behind after a boating accident that kills a loved one. Find out more about what this law can do for you in a difficult time of need.

Who can take action under DOHSA?

When someone dies beyond three miles from the U.S. coastline, the family left behind may file a claim under DOHSA. Injuries sustained at sea that eventually cause the seafarer to die count. However, injuries in and of themself do not; they must result in death. Anyone financially dependent on the deceased may file a claim.

What does DOHSA cover?

If your circumstances make you eligible for DOHSA, you may receive compensation for financial loss attributed directly to the incident. For instance, tangible expenses expended on behalf of the deceased, either in caring for the injury or paying for the funeral, qualify. In addition, you may receive compensation for future earnings lost by your loved one’s death.

Recently, the law changed to include compensation for the pain, suffering and trauma of those who had a family member die in a boating accident.

Coming to terms with the death of your seafaring family member is difficult enough. Add in the financial impact now and in the future, and you may want to consider filing a claim under the Death on the High Seas Act.


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