The Death on the High Seas Act applies to deaths that occurred beyond 3 nautical miles of the adjoining State caused by a wrongful act. DOSHA claims can only be brought by a decedent’s personal representative, for the exclusive benefit of the decedent’s spouse, parent, child, or dependent relative.
Damages under DOSHA are limited to pecuniary loss only of the persons for whose benefit the suit is brought. Pecuniary loss includes the value of care, guidance and training to children, support and contribution to the family, funeral expenses, loss of services.
While DOSHA does not provide for “survival causes of action” in many cases it is possible to supplement available damages by a recovery under a survival statute for the decedent’s pain and suffering before death. It is possible in certain circumstances to supplement the DOSHA with the Jones Act remedies which allow for recovery for pain and suffering before death.
Recovery for Wrongful Death under the Jones Act
The Jones Act provides a remedy for seamen who are fatally injured during the course of their employment. The Jones Act is available only to a personal representative of the estate and can only be brought against the employer. Jones Act wrongful death actions may be brought for the benefit of surviving spouse and children, parents and dependent next of kin. Under the Jones Act, the following damages are available: loss of support, loss of past and future wage earning capacity, loss of nurture and guidance to children, loss of service, and pre-death pain and suffering.
If you have been injured offshore, call today and speak to a maritime lawyer. For a free consultation, you can reach us toll free at (877) 551-3212