Sadly, maritime workers can pass away at sea and it is a profound loss for their grieving loved ones left behind. If their death was caused by the negligence of another person, their loved ones may be able to pursue a claim for wrongful death.
Elements of a wrongful death claim
Generally, the deceased maritime worker’s spouse, parents, children or other personal representative can bring a claim for wrongful death. The representative must prove that there was a death of a human being, it was caused by another person’s negligence or with intent to cause harm and the surviving family members suffered monetary harm as a result of the death.
The family members left behind may be entitled to compensation for the financial losses they experienced. These are called economic damages and include damages for loss of financial support.
This covers the income and financial contributions the deceased maritime worker would have provided to their family if they had survived. The court will review the deceased person’s earning capacity, life expectancy and potential future earnings.
The family members may also be entitled to compensation for loss of the maritime worker’s benefits like health insurance, pension plans or retirement benefits. They may also receive payment for funeral and burial costs as part of these economic damages.
Non-economic damages are intended to provide compensation intangible losses like economic pain, suffering, mental anguish, as well as loss of companionship. In some circumstances, they may receive punitive damages which are intended to punish the negligent person and deter others from acting in the same way.