Wrongful Death

The most tragic possibility when a loved one heads off to sea is that he or she may not return. Sadly, that sometimes happens. It is especially painful when you find out that the maritime employer of your loved one exhibited negligence which eventually caused the wrongful death of your fisherman, tugboater, longshoreman, or other maritime-employed loved one. The employer or vessel owner need to be held accountable for its actions or lack thereof.

If your loved one died due to mistakes or negligence on the part of his or her employer or of the owner of the vessel he or she was on, your loved one deserves justice, and you deserve to be compensated for your loss. A maritime death can be a complicated matter, requiring a careful investigation and an in-depth understanding of the law.

At Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski, PLLC an experienced Washington, Alaska, California, or Oregon maritime injury lawyer can investigate your loved one’s maritime death in the case of negligence proving wrongful death.

Maritime Wrongful Death Lawyer Serving Washington, Alaska, California, and Oregon

If you’ve lost a loved one at sea, the maritime wrongful death lawyers at Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski, PLLC can help you recover for your losses and fight for justice for your loved one. We will do our best to ensure that you are compensated to the fullest extent of the law. Our maritime lawyers at Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski, PLLC have the experience to help you, whether your loved one’s accident occurred in the Gulf of Alaska, Bering Sea, North Pacific, Puget Sound, or the Inside Passage of Southeast Alaska. Call us today at 1 (800) 262-8529 or send an online message to set up a free consultation.

We assist the families of loved ones who died at sea coast-to-coast, and in the courts of Washington, Oregon, Alaska and California. Our offices are located in Portland, Oregon, Bellingham and Seattle, Washington, and San Francisco, California.

Call 1 (800) 262-8529 today.

Wrongful Maritime Death Information Center

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Death on the High Seas Act Offers Recovery for Seaman’s Families

The Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA) was passed by Congress and signed by the President in 1920. It covers the death of a vessel’s crew member or passenger in international waters, waters more than three nautical miles from the shore of the United States, if the death was caused by negligence, unseaworthiness, or some other wrongful action or omission.

Negligence means the shipowner failed in a duty of care owed to the seaman or passenger — that he or she did not act as a reasonably prudent person would have. Unseaworthiness means that the ship was not fit for the purpose for which it was made, or that the crew hired was not sufficient, either in ability or in number, to properly operate the vessel.

DOHSA covers damages that are pecuniary, or financial. Pecuniary damages include loss of support, loss of services performed in the house, medical expenses incurred before death, funeral expenses and other tangible costs. Damages like loss of consortium are not available under DOHSA. Only the spouse, children or dependents of the deceased may make a claim under the Death on the High Seas Act, and the claim must be brought against the ship’s owner.

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Other Remedies for a Sailors’ Wrongful Death

If the death of your loved one is not covered by DOHSA, there are other legal paths to pursue compensation. Your experienced maritime injury lawyer can help you determine the best path.

The Jones Act, also passed in 1920, covers claims of negligence causing injury to seamen. Those injuries include wrongful death. If your loved one was within three miles of the U.S. shore, he or she was in territorial waters and DOHSA does not apply. However, the Jones Act does. Much like DOHSA, you can recover for financial losses, but likely not for loss of consortium or other nontangible damages.

If your loved one was within three miles of the shore, general maritime law also applies for wrongful death. Under a general maritime law wrongful death claim, you may be able to recover for nonpecuniary damages, like loss of consortium. In some instances, state law may supplement an award if the loss was within three nautical miles of the coast.

If your loved one was a stevedore, longshoreman, ship repair worker, welder, crane operator or other land-based maritime employee, you may also be able to seek compensation under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. The LHWCA permits negligence actions against vessels pursuant to 33 U.S.C. § 905(b).

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Attorney for Death at Sea Claims in Washington, Alaska, California, and Oregon

Your loved one deserves justice, and our experienced maritime wrongful death lawyers at Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski, PLLC can help you find that justice. The maritime employer responsible for the negligence that caused your loved one’s death should be held accountable, and you need compensation to cover the expenses involved in such a tragic event.

The maritime attorneys at Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski, PLLC represent seamen or their families in personal injury and wrongful death cases for maintenance and cure, breach of warranty of seaworthiness, and claims under the Jones Act.

Call us today at 1 (800) 262-8529 or send an online message for a free consultation with the Seattle, Bellingham, Portland, and San Francisco maritime injury attorneys of Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski, PLLC.

This article was last updated on Wednesday, July 18, 2018.

Client Testimonials

  • The Maritime Law Association of The United States
    The Maritime Law Association of the United States (MLA) was founded in 1899. Its formation was prompted by the organization, some three years earlier, of the International Maritime Committee.
  • Washington State Bar Association
    The Washington State Bar Association operates under the delegated authority of the Washington Supreme Court to license the state's nearly 40,000 lawyers and other legal professionals.
  • Oregon State Bar
    The Oregon State Bar is a government agency in the U.S. state of Oregon. Founded in 1890 as the private Oregon Bar Association, it became a public entity in 1935 that regulates the legal profession.
  • Alaska Bar Association
    The Alaska Bar Association is a mandatory bar association responsible to the Alaska Supreme Court for the admission and discipline process of attorneys for the State of Alaska.