West Palm Beach High Seas Act Lawyers
Working on the high seas is dangerous, but severe and fatal injuries are often the result of the employer’s or another’s negligence. If your loved one died while working on the high seas, or while a passenger on a vessel on the high seas, you may have cause for legal action under the federal Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA).
The West Palm Beach High Seas Act lawyers at Gordon & Partners know how to determine if you may have a case. We offer a free initial consultation to discuss your legal options. If we validate your case, we are prepared to guide you through the legal process and seek maximum compensation.
Our firm has experience since 1993 pursuing compensation for personal injury victims. We have recovered tens of millions in compensation on behalf of our clients. Review our testimonials from satisfied clients to learn more about the representation we provide.
There are no fees unless you receive compensation for your claim. That means no risk to you.
Gordon & Partners. No upfront fees. Phone: 1 (855) 722-2552.
How Can Gordon & Partners Help Me?
At Gordon & Partners, we are committed to seeking maximum compensation after the unexpected death of a loved one. We have decades of combined experience and a proven record of recovering compensation for injury victims. This includes numerous recoveries in excess of $1 million, including wrongful death verdicts of $1.3 million and $6 million.
Our attorneys have earned recognition from their peers for the representation we provide to our clients. This includes being selected for Super Lawyers and Best Law Firms.
It is important to note that those who hire attorneys often recover more compensation than those who do not.
Do I Have a Case Under the Death on the High Seas Act?
The Death on the High Seas Act was passed by Congress in 1920 and it allows the personal representative of the deceased to take legal action over a death on the high seas caused by the vessel being unseaworthy or a wrongful act, neglect or default. The death must have happened more than three nautical miles from U.S. shores.
The victim could have been an employee of the vessel owner or simply a passenger. The claim your lawyer files would be against the owner of the vessel where the incident happened.
If your loved one’s death was caused by the vessel being unseaworthy, your West Palm Beach maritime lawyer will look to maritime law to determine whether the vessel was unseaworthy. Maritime law defines an unseaworthy vessel as one with hull, equipment or crew that is inadequate as it relates to design, maintenance or the conditions that are required for the ship to perform its intended functions.
Claims for Aircraft Disasters
DOHSA was originally intended to deal with seafaring vessels three nautical miles off the coast, but it may also be applied to deaths of workers or passengers on commercial airliners who die beyond the 12-mile international waters limit.
Incidents That May Lead to Claims
There are many examples of incidents that may lead to DOHSA claims, such as:
- Airliner crashes
- Exposure to hazardous chemicals
- Defective or malfunctioning equipment
- Sinking vessel
- Slip and fall accidents
- Caught in-between accidents involving machinery
These accidents often result from negligence, such as failing to follow safety protocols or poor training of employees. In some cases, the victim may have survived if others were not negligent in providing medical care after the injury occurred.
Unsure if you may have a case? Give us a call: 1 (855) 722-2552. Free consultation.
Can You File Other Claims While Pursuing a DOHSA Case?
After a death on the high seas, a DOHSA claim may be the only legal option surviving family members have. Generally, when DOHSA applies to a situation, you cannot file other claims under state law or general maritime law at the same time. For example, the negligence of a third party may have played a role in your loved one’s death, but third-party claims may also fall under DOHSA.
However, there are various situations where surviving family members may be able to assert claims under DOHSA and the Jones Act. After a collision between two vessels that were unseaworthy, or that were being operated negligently, you may have a claim against your loved one’s employer under the Jones Act. You may also be able to file a DOHSA claim against the owner of the ship your loved one was on.
How Long Do I Have to File a DOHSA Claim?
Your lawyer must file a claim within three years of the date of your loved one’s death, in most cases. However, if your loved one was a passenger on the vessel, other factors may shorten the statute of limitations for filing a case. If your loved one was aboard a cruise ship, his or her ticket contract may require you to file within the time specified on the contract.
As these cases are complex, our West Palm Beach High Seas Act lawyers need time to investigate and gather evidence. That is why it is important to contact us as soon as possible. Our firm has the resources and legal knowledge to thoroughly investigate these cases and build a robust argument.
We are here to help. The consultation is free of charge. 1 (855) 722-2552.
Who Can File a DOHSA Claim?
DOHSA claims must be brought by the personal representative of the deceased. The claim is filed on behalf of the deceased’s beneficiaries. The personal representative is the person named as such in the deceased’s will. If the deceased individual did not have a will, a court may appoint the personal representative.
Who Are the Beneficiaries?
If a DOHSA claim is successful, the beneficiaries are the only ones who can receive financial compensation. Beneficiaries include:
- Spouses – The wife or husband must have been married to the victim at the time of death. Common law spouses may also be eligible for benefits.
- Children – This includes stepchildren and biological children.
- Parents – The parents must be dependent on the victim.
- Family members who were dependent on the victim – Siblings often fall into this category.
Compensation Your Lawyer May Pursue
DOHSA claims are not the same as personal injury lawsuits. In a DOHSA claim, you can only pursue pecuniary damages, otherwise known as economic damages. This may include things like:
- Funeral costs
- Lost financial support
- Cost of counseling
- Lost inheritance
- Lost services (household services the deceased would have provided)
Noneconomic damages are generally not recoverable. This includes damages like:
- Lost companionship for the loss of the marital relationship
- Mental anguish and grief suffered by dependents
However, if the victim was covered by the Jones Act, you may be able to recover compensation for pain and suffering the victim experienced prior to death.
Contact a West Palm Beach High Seas Act Lawyer Today
Our experienced attorneys understand how devastating it is to lose a loved one due to another’s negligence. We also know how important recovering compensation can be after an unexpected death.
There is often a lot of uncertainty about whether people can take legal action after a loved one’s death, which is why talking to a licensed attorney may be an important part of the recovery process. The initial consultation with a Gordon & Partners attorney is free of charge, and there is no obligation, so there is no risk to you.
If our West Palm Beach High Seas Act attorneys validate your case, we are prepared to manage the legal process on your behalf, as we seek to hold at-fault parties accountable.
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