Damages Under Pascagoula Death on High Seas Act

The Death on High Seas Act relates to the wrongful death of a seaman. The Act provides relief for the surviving family of seamen or workers who are wrongfully killed while at sea. The decedent’s family is entitled to compensation for damages such as funeral expenses, medical expenses, loss of inheritance, loss of support, loss of services, and parental nurture to children.

A knowledgeable maritime injury attorney could help you understand the type of damages under Pascagoula Death on High Seas Act. It is best to speak to an experienced Death on High Seas Act lawyer to learn about the steps to take to recover compensation.

Beneficiaries of the Decedent

The Death on High Seas Act allows recovery on behalf of the decedent’s beneficiaries. The beneficiaries of the decedent includes:

  • Surviving spouse – A wife or husband who was married to the decedent at the time of death. Common-law spouses (as long as their common law marriage complies with the applicable state law) have been held to be a surviving spouse. Divorced spouses, however, are not deemed to be beneficiaries.
  • Children – Biological children as well as stepchildren who have suffered pecuniary losses due to the death have been held to be beneficiaries.
  • Parents – Dependent parents are considered beneficiaries. Non-dependent parents, however, are not beneficiaries.
  • Siblings – Siblings who are dependent on the decedent may be deemed dependents.

A diligent attorney could explain which of the decedent’s family members may be eligible to recover damages under Pascagoula Death on High Seas Act.

Recoverable Damages Under the Death on High Seas Act

Death on High Seas Act allows recovery of only those damages which represent financial support and contributions which the decedent’s family would have received had their loved one lived. The damages under Pascagoula Death on High Seas Act includes medical expenses, loss of inheritance, loss of support, funeral expenses, loss of services, and parental nurture to children. Generally, the Act does not provide damages for pre-death pain and suffering, lost wages, mental pain, and anguish or loss of society.

There is an exception to this general rule.  If the decedent is a Jones Act seaman and the death occurs within or beyond the territorial seas of any state or the United States, the seaman’s estate may pursue damages for the decedent’s pre-death pain and suffering. Additionally, depending upon an oil rig’s proximity to the U.S. or a territory of the U.S., the Act may apply to a death occurring on an offshore drilling rig.

Non-Pecuniary Damages

Congress passed what is known as the Commercial Aviation Exception to the Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA) or 46 U.S.C. § 30307. The Commercial Aviation Exception made non-pecuniary damages, such as loss of care, comfort, and companionship, for the wrongful death of a decedent recoverable if the death resulted from a commercial aviation accident occurring on the high seas. The stated purpose of the bill was to help ensure that families of airline accident victims would receive fair treatment under the law regardless of where the accident occurred.

How A Death on High Seas Act Lawyer Could Help

Families dealing with a Death on High Seas Act scenario should retain the services of a knowledgeable lawyer because these types of statutes could be very complicated. They should seek help from an attorney who understands the correct law to apply, as well as the types of the damages and relief available.

Let a Death on High Seas Act lawyer help your case. Call today to learn about the damages under Pascagoula Death on High Seas Act.

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