The Death on the High Seas Act, or DOHSA, provides relief for the families of workers who are killed by wrongful acts or negligence while on a vessel in international waters.
There are many laws that govern compensation for workers and their families, including the Jones Act, the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act, the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, and general maritime laws. The DOHSA specifically applies to the victims of vessel and aviation accidents that occur more than 12 nautical miles from United States shores.
It does not apply to workers killed on offshore drilling rigs and platforms, which are covered under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.
Compensation Under DOHSA
The Death on the High Seas Act provides benefits only to the spouse, children or other dependent relatives of a worker who has been killed.
The damages that can be recovered are strictly economic in nature, such as:
- Damages for financial contribution
- Damages for loss of nurture to dependent children
- Damages for loss of household services
- Funeral expenses
The DOHSA does not provide damages for loss of support, companionship, mental anguish or bereavement. The law preempts other legislation that does provide damages for these.
To file a DOHSA claim, the claimant must be a personal representative of the person who was killed. Common claims involve deaths related to a ship sinking or capsizing, fires or explosions on a vessel, airplane and helicopter crashes, accidents related to malfunctioning equipment, and improper training and safety procedures.
The New Orleans DOHSA lawyers at Lambert Zainey have been defending the rights of maritime workers and their families for more than 3 decades. Our attorneys work on a contingency basis. This means that we do not collect any fees until your case is successfully concluded, so there is no financial burden for you while we pursue your claim.
If a loved one has died at sea, speak with an experienced Louisiana maritime attorney at our firm today for a free consultation.