The lawyers at Hickey Law Firm, P.A. have over 52 years of combined experience helping the families and spouses of those who have been fatally injured or lost at sea. Attorney John H. (Jack) Hickey is uniquely qualified to assist families with the complexities of maritime wrongful death law. He is one of fewer than 10 lawyers in Florida who are double Board Certified in Admiralty and Maritime Law and in Civil Trial Law. Depending on the specific circumstances of your loved one's death, any one of a number of laws may apply.
If your loved one has died on a cruise ship or as a passenger or crewmember of any other kind of vessel, please call our experienced attorneys at 305-371-8000 for a free case evaluation.
The Death on the High Seas Act: More Than 3 Miles from a U.S. Shoreline
Maritime deaths which occur more than three miles from a United States shoreline can fall under the Death on the High Seas Act. This law limits the recovery of wrongful death damages to spouses, parents, children, and dependent relatives. Only pecuniary damages (those which can be quantified in monetary terms) are recoverable under this Act; you cannot recover compensation for damages such as loss of consortium or companionship.
The Death on the High Seas Act applies to all decedents killed in an accident over three miles from a U.S. shoreline, regardless of whether they are maritime workers or non-maritime workers.
General Maritime Wrongful Death: Less Than 3 Miles from a U.S. Shoreline
General maritime wrongful death law applies to both maritime workers and passengers who are killed within 3 nautical miles from a state shoreline or within U.S. territorial waters.
If a seaman or crewmember is killed within three nautical miles from a U.S. shoreline due to the negligence of an employer or ship owner, the Jones Act also applies, meaning a Jones Act wrongful death claim can potentially be filed alongside a general maritime wrongful death claim.
Longshoreman, Harbor, and Dock Worker Wrongful Death Claims
The Longshore and Harbor Worker's Compensation Act (LHWCA) applies to maritime workers who are not legally considered seamen. This includes:
- Land-based cargo handlers
- Crane operators
- Shoreside vessel workers
- Shipyard welders
Surviving family members of a maritime worker covered by the LHWCA are entitled to statutory death benefits, which are based upon a percentage of the deceased individual's wages, including funeral expenses.
If the worker's death occurred outside of the admiralty jurisdiction of a court, the family must seek recovery under state wrongful death laws.
Contact Hickey Law Firm, P.A.
If your loved passed away in an accident at sea or on the job as a maritime worker, please contact Hickey Law Firm, P.A. at 305-371-8000 today to speak to one of our experienced maritime wrongful death lawyers. We represent families in maritime wrongful death actions throughout the Miami area, the state of Florida and around the world.