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Houston Death at Sea Lawyer

Earth’s vast seas and the vessels that navigate them present potential dangers to maritime workers and passengers, so when a vessel carrying human passengers ventures onto the oceans, it is imperative that owners and crew members make every effort is made to safeguard lives. This means having safety measures and procedures in place and training personnel to adhere to them on a daily basis, as well as making sure workers know how to respond in a crisis. If tragedy does strike your family on the open water, you need a top Houston Death at Sea Lawyer to help you through this difficult process.

Federal Legislation to Protect Surviving Families: DOHSA

Nevertheless, various mishaps can result in serious injury and death hundreds or thousands of miles from medical facilities on shore. When a seaman or passenger dies more than three nautical miles from shore due to someone else’s negligence, the Federal Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA) gives surviving family members the right to file a claim for damages. Ordinarily, DOHSA applies only when the death actually occurs at sea, not if an injury at sea eventually results in the victim dying on shore, unless a Houston personal injury lawsuit or a lawsuit under some other maritime law is pending.

Although historically DOHSA applied to ships and seagoing vessels, it was amended in 2000 to also apply to airline crashes at sea. This added an area of controversy in that it gave the survivors of airline crashes benefits unavailable to survivors of those who died on typical ocean-going vessels: non-pecuniary damages.

Legal Counsel for DOHSA Claims

DOHSA cases are very complex, and since the law was amended in 2000, the question of equal protection for different categories of survivors has further complicated the matter. If you are a surviving family member of someone who died at sea due to negligence, you should select a maritime lawyer with substantial recent experience with DOHSA claims and up-to-date knowledge of applicable case law. In Houston, Texas, a prominent law firm where you can find skilled DOHSA representation is Gordon, Elias, & Seely, LLP, whose attorneys have a decades-long record of bringing in compensation for the families of those who have died in accidents at sea.

Damages That Can Be Recovered for a Death at Sea

Eligible surviving family members can claim these benefits:

  • financial support to compensate for the contributions the deceased would have provided the surviving family members over his or her work life;
  • the value of services the deceases would have provided in and around the home;
  • the value of care, guidance, and training the deceased would have provided to dependent children;
  • loss of inheritance, or the money the deceased would have provided over his or her life expectancy;
  • funeral expenses;
  • pain and suffering the deceased victim experienced from the time of the injury until death occurred;
  • in aviation accidents at sea, loss of care, comfort, and companionship, and punitive damages only if available under state law.

Who Is Eligible to Make a Claim under DOHSA?

These are the survivors eligible to claim death benefits under DOHSA:

  • surviving spouse;
  • children, including biological children and stepchildren dependent on the deceased;
  • dependent parents;
  • dependent siblings.

Free DOHSA Consultation at Gordon, Elias & Seely

If you have lost a family member in an accident at sea, in addition to your grief, you and your family may be suffering financially from the loss of income the deceased provided, and may have incurred expenses for the funeral, increased household and childcare expenses, and other financial challenges. The compassionate and knowledgeable maritime attorneys at the Houston, Texas, law firm of Gordon, Elias, & Seely have the experience and track record that make them an ideal choice when you need to hire a lawyer for your family’s death-at-sea claim. To learn how we can help, call us today to schedule a consultation to learn what options are open to you. There is never a charge for the initial consultation, and all of our work and expenses are provided on a contingency basis: if we don’t win money in your case, you will owe us nothing.

Client Testimonials

I have friends that have hired other lawyers. Their lawyers have not done nearly as much for them as GES has done for me and my family."
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"Todd Elias is like a brother now. He is a really good person.
I appreciate everything he has done for me."
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"They worked very hard. The settlement they got for us allows us to plan for our future. Our life since the settlement is much nicer."
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