Death on the High Seas Act

Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA)

There are many laws protecting the rights of seamen and other maritime workers who are injured or killed on the job and their families. The Death on the High Seas Act, or DOHSA, applies to the survivors of victims killed in vessel and aviation accidents that occurred on the high seas.

Passed by Congress in 1920, DOHSA allows the surviving family members of seamen who were killed by the negligent acts of an employer, ship owner, or crew member while serving on a U.S. vessel sailing at least a marine league (three nautical miles) off the coast of the United States and its territories the right to seek compensation for their loss.

DOHSA claims may arise from deaths caused by:

  • Capsized or sunken vessel
  • Drowning
  • Onboard fire or explosion
  • Chemical exposure
  • Airplane and helicopter crashes
  • Defective equipment or mechanical error
  • Improper training and safety procedures

DOHSA also applies to individuals killed in aircraft accidents on the high seas, such as offshore helicopter crashes, but does not cover workers killed on drilling rigs and platforms. (These workers are protected by the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act).

Damages Covered Under DOHSA

Only a decedent’s financially dependent relatives, such as a spouse, parent, child or dependent relative, are allowed to seek damages under DOHSA. In order to prevail in a DOHSA lawsuit, the plaintiff must prove that negligence on the part of the ship’s owner, an employer or fellow crew member resulted in the wrongful death of their loved one.

Compensation that can be recovered in a DOHSA claim is limited to economic damages only. These damages can include:

  • Loss of existing or expected financial support and contribution
  • Loss of economic benefits
  • Care of child
  • Household expenses
  • Funeral expenses

Unfortunately, DOHSA does not provide damages for loss of support, companionship, mental anguish or bereavement.

Our DOHSA Attorneys Can Help You Seek Justice for Your Loved One

If you are a family member of a maritime worker killed at sea, our highly esteemed Houston DOHSA attorneys are here to discuss the details of your case and provide professional advice on moving forward with your claim. The Ammons Law Firm has been defending the rights of injured maritime workers and their families for more than 20 years. We know the devastating impact the death of a loved one can have on a family and are prepared to utilize all of our legal skills, experience, and resources to obtain a favorable settlement for our clients.

Don’t delay seeking help. The statute of limitations for filing a DOHSA lawsuit is three years. Call us today at (281) 801-5617 to schedule a free, confidential consultation. We work on a contingency basis, which means there are no up-front costs to you, and we do not get paid until and unless we win your case.

  • “I would like to thank you all for all your help in our case on behalf of my family and myself, ya’ll did a great job and are great people! Thank you!”

    – Diana D., Former Client

  • “I highly recommend this law firm to anyone because the individuals here care about the people they represent.”

    – Elizabeth O., Former Client 

  • “There are not enough words for me to say how grateful I am to Mr. Ammons. I would recommend him for any type of accident such as the one I was involved in.”

    – Jesusa R., Former Client 

  • “The way their people are so casual, they make you feel comfortable. If I may never be able to move again, at least I have someone to help me with my grandchildren.”

    – Joseph S., Former Client

  • “We had a wonderful experience working with the Ammons Law Firm. The office staff was always courteous and prompt in responding. Rob’s expertise in our case was quickly evident and our trust in him was rewarded. He was always open and direct with us and always respectful of our goals and priorities. We are so grateful for all that you have done for us!”

    – Anne P., Former Client

Our Firm Will Fight for Your Right to Compensation
  • We Wrote the Book on Tire Defect Litigation

    Attorney Rob Ammons has not only handled some of the most complex tire defect cases but also wrote the book on how to properly litigate these types of cases.

  • Team Approach to Handling Each & Every Case

    Unlike smaller law firms, we have the resources necessary to tackle even the most complex cases. To ensure our clients get the best possible results, we hire industry experts and other professionals to advise on any complex legal issues.

  • Over a Billion Dollars Recovered for Our Clients

    Our seasoned legal professionals have handled some of the largest personal injury claims nationwide and have a strong track record of favorable outcomes.

Let Us Help You
(281) 801-5617 or fill out the form below to contact our team.

    Skip to content