What Happens When a Seaman Dies at Sea?

The death of a professional seaman on the high seas is a tragedy. Families suffer from both emotional and financial losses. While federal law cannot undo the emotional loss, the Death on the High Seas Act was enacted to help families with the financial loss of their relative. In order for a family to recover damages under the Death on the High Seas Act, the family must prove that that the seaman died on the high seas and that the death occurred because of the employer’s negligence or because the vessel was unseaworthy. Lawsuits for damages under this Act must be brought within 3 years of a seaman’s death.

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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