Over 80 Combined Years Of Maritime Law Experience

Filing a wrongful death claim after a maritime accident

On Behalf of | Jun 28, 2024 | Maritime Claims

Losing a loved one due to an unexpected event is something many people never get over. This is an especially common concern for individuals with loved ones who work in the maritime industry, which is one of the most dangerous industries for its workers.

If you have lost someone due to a maritime accident, you could recover compensation through a wrongful death claim. A maritime death typically results in a loss of income that increases the stress and trauma you are experiencing.

Receiving death benefits from a wrongful death action depends on factors such as the victim’s specific line of work and where the death occurred.

The Jones Act and the Death on the High Seas Act

Most maritime accident wrongful death claims are filed based on the Jones Act or the Death on the High Seas Act. The Jones Act covers maritime deaths that occur at sea.

Those eligible to bring a wrongful death claim under the Jones Act include spouses and minor and adult children dependent, as well as parents and siblings who were dependent on the victim for financial support.

The Death on the High Seas Act is used when the death occurred beyond U.S. waters. There is a three-mile territorial limit for water vessels and a 12-mile international waters limit for commercial airlines.

In addition to those qualified to bring a wrongful death claim under the Jones Act, financially dependent family members of the victim, such as grandparents, can file a claim under the Death on the High Seas Act.

Types of wrongful death damages

The potential damages that can be recovered depend on the facts of the situation. Compensation for claims under both the Jones Act and the Death and the High Seas Act can include funeral costs, pre-death medical expenses, pre-death pain and suffering, lost wages and loss of services.

Wrongful death claims after a maritime accident are based on negligence. This means proving that the responsible party failed in their duty to provide a safe and healthy environment for the maritime worker and that failure cause the worker’s death.

However, maritime law can be complex. Filing a wrongful death claim involves many requirements and deadlines, as well knowledge about how to build a case for negligence.

For example, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim in Washington is three years after the date of the maritime worker’s death. Having guidance and advice through this process can increase your chance of a successful claim. You have rights that deserve to be protected.

Contributory negligence

Building a strong case for negligence is important because contributory negligence is a common defense against maritime wrongful death claims. This means that the other side may claim that the victim’s own negligence contributed to the accident.

If they succeed, your compensation could be reduced by the percentage of negligence attributed to your loved one.

Although compensation from a wrongful death claim will never bring your loved one back, it can provide you with the financial security you need while you work through the grieving process.