Over 80 Combined Years Of Maritime Law Experience

Differences between the Jones Act and DOHSA

On Behalf of | May 28, 2024 | Wrongful Death

Dealing with the loss of a loved one is never easy. But figuring out how to navigate the legalities of it all can make matters worse. In this post, we want to briefly compare two relevant laws that may come into play when a worker dies at sea.

The differences between the Jones Act and the Death on the High Seas Act

Both of these laws apply to worker deaths at sea. However, the Jones Act is applicable when that death occurs on navigable U.S. waters whereas DOHSA only applies to deaths that occur at least three nautical miles from a U.S. shore. Both laws generally require a showing of negligence. The Jones Act, however, allows you to recover economic and non-economic damages, the latter including loss of support, whereas DOHSA only provides for pecuniary losses. The Jones Act also allows parents of a deceased individual to seek damages if they were dependent upon the deceased for support.

Proving a wrongful death at sea claim

Since negligence is a factor regardless of which law you rely upon when bringing your claim, you have to gather evidence showing that someone failed to adhere to the applicable standard of care and that their shortcomings led to your loved one’s death. So, you may need to gather accident reports, security footage, and witness accounts to prove your case. Using the discovery process, including depositions, may be especially helpful here.

Don’t allow yourself to be overwhelmed by the process

We know that you have a lot to deal with after losing a loved one. Don’t make it any harder on yourself by trying to navigate a wrongful death claim on your own. Instead, figure out how you can find the support and relief you need to secure an outcome that’s just and fair.