Death on the High Seas Act

Admiralty & Maritime Law Attorney in Miami, Florida

When a wrongful death occurs more than three miles – or the marine league – away from the shore and on the high seas, a claim can be filed using the Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA). While close family members and financial dependents of the decedent can benefit from such a claim, it cannot be filed by them. Instead, DOHSA claims need to be created by someone who has been named as a personal representative of the decedent, or a professional lawyer hired by the named administrator.

Has your loved one lost their life due to employer negligence or the general unseaworthiness of their vessel? Do you need assistance with a DOHSA claim? You can rely on David C. Rash, P.A. and our admiralty and maritime disasters attorney for all the legal guidance and advocacy you need.

Our Miami injury law firm stands out due to our accolades and accomplishments, including:

  • 25+ years of legal and trial experience
  • Millions won for past clients
  • AV® Preeminent™ rating by Martindale-Hubbell®
  • 10.0 “Superb” rating by Avvo

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Damages in a DOHSA Claim

Due to the ambiguity of maritime law, it can be difficult to determine what damages you can recover after losing a loved one on the high seas. With our assistance, experience, and know-how, we can help you pursue every last cent that you deserve following such a tragedy by successfully interpreting the law and upholding your rights.

Parties that could recover compensation in a DOHSA claim are:

  • Children: Estimated total value of any care and parental guidance they should have received from the decedent throughout their lives.
  • Spouse: The actual, calculated value of the income and contribution the decedent would have given their spouse, with a subtraction for the amount of that income that would have gone solely to the decedent’s own benefit.
  • Dependents: Any other legal dependent, whether they are a child or an adult, may be able to recover the estimated cost of the care and service the decedent would have given them.

Spouses in wrongful death claims can usually collect compensation for loss of consortium or companionship. A DOHSA claim does not grant this option but it can reward an amount of compensation equal to the cost of household services or help the decedent could have offered during the marriage. A rough estimate of how many hours a month the decedent put into household chores is multiplied with what someone would have to pay to receive those same services in the state. The end result is the compensatory amount, extrapolated for many years.

DOHSA Aviation Rules

The Death on the High Seas Act also considers aviation disasters and accidents as potential grounds for a lawsuit under the act. An aviation crash that occurs more than 12 nautical miles from the nearest shore is considered to have occurred on the high seas, and fits the requirements of the DOHSA. Private aircraft and helicopter flights booked without any promise of compensation do not qualify; in general, DOHSA applies only to airline disasters.

Retain an Experience Lawyer for Your DOHSA Claim

The average person with little to no naval or captainship experience is not expected to fully understand the nuances and intricacies of admiralty and maritime law. In order to take the guesswork out of your case and bring clarity to your questions and concerns, contact Miami Maritime Law Attorney David C. Rash today. During your scheduled complimentary consultation, you can discover your rights and what you should do next to pursue compensation in honor of the loved one you have lost on the high seas.

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