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  • What is the Death on the High Seas Act?

The Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA) is a wrongful death statute designed to help the families of some maritime workers killed in the course of their employment.

DOHSA specifically covers deaths that occur outside of the traditional three-mile offshore boundary that defines the territorial waters of coastal states.

Before DOHSA, families of seamen who lost their lives while working on the high seas had a difficult time pursuing a wrongful death claim against the employer. Under DOHSA, some family members can receive significant compensation for a loved one’s death that occurs on the high seas. Experienced offshore attorneys, like those at LaGarde Law, can help families determine if and how they can recover compensation for their loss.

Only a spouse, child, parent or dependent relative may benefit from the compensation sought in a DOHSA claim.

In order to qualify for a DOHSA claim, the death of the loved one must correspond to certain criteria. Principally, the death must in some way be the fault of the employer. However, if the person who died contributed in some way to the conditions that caused his or her own death, that does not mean that the family cannot file a DOHSA claim. If the employer’s actions or negligence contributed in any way to the death, the family may be able to receive compensation.

DOHSA claims must meet a number of other requirements. And there are exceptions to DOHSA rules – for example, those killed on the high seas while working as part of an extraction operation are covered under a different set of rules.

Also, the Death on the High Seas Act has a statute of limitations. Those who believe that they may have a case under the Death on the High Seas Act should at least obtain an initial evaluation from a lawyer as soon as possible. At LaGarde Law, these evaluations are always free and without obligation.

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