Wrongful death suits are civil suits that allow the family of a deceased person to gain financial compensation to cover the expenses of the loved one’s death. These suits are filed against the person who directly or indirectly caused the death by being negligent. If your relative died at sea or near water, consult the Maritime Wrongful Death Attorneys at Lapeze & Johns to learn more about wrongful death suits and whether a suit is the right course of action for you. In Louisiana, Texas, and throughout the Gulf Coast, Lapeze & Johns is prepared to fight for a settlement for your family.
If there is a solution under federal maritime law, state wrongful death statues will not apply. Federal acts that cover wrongful death under maritime law include The Jones Act, the Death on the High Seas Act, and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.
For some families, recompense may be available through the Jones Act. Any deaths that occur more than 3 miles from shore in the U.S. may be covered by the Death on the High Seas Act. Death on the High Seas act does not provide damages as punishment for or for the loss of companionship. Longshoremen may find compensation for death under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. Employers, vessel owners, or crew members may be the negligent party.
Inside U.S. waters, there are more damages that may be recovered through a wrongful death claim, including punitive damages and damages for the loss of companionship or society. General maritime law applies to wrongful death suits for maritime and non-maritime workers, and is only available within 3 miles of U.S. shores or territories. Any person’s death may be covered under general maritime law, unless they are covered by one of the aforementioned acts. Any person can be held liable for the death and subject to pay damages.
The implications for wrongful death suits for maritime workers are complex. Only an experienced Gulf Coast offshore injuries attorney can help you determine the application of the law as it relates to your situation.
Many negligent acts can contribute to the death of a worker at sea. Wrongful death suits may be the result of fires or explosion, as were the 11 deaths related to the Deepwater Horizon, or they may be due to equipment malfunctioning. Other causes of death that may be eligible for a wrongful death suit include:
- Head injury from falling or being struck
- Becoming wedged between vessels
- Contracting an illness that is work related
The damages awarded from maritime wrongful death suits include financial compensation for the income lost by the deceased, other support the deceased might have provided that now has to be paid for, funeral expenses, the cost of raising and guiding children through adulthood, and, in some cases, punitive damages for the wrongful act. For the aforementioned maritime acts available to workers in and around the sea, punitive damages may not be available as part of the action.
When you work with Lapeze & Johns on a wrongful death suit, our first aim is to investigate the cause of death. Many of the accidents that cause death offshore could have been prevented with safety measures. All employers owe crew members a safe work environment and a seaworthy ship under maritime law. The statute of limitations for wrongful death claims differs depending on which claim is filed. General maritime law holds that action must be brought within three years of the cause of action or death. If you’ve lost a loved one due to a wrongful death, contact our maritime attorneys immediately.
Maritime Wrongful Death Lawyers
For more information about wrongful death suits, contact the Maritime Wrongful Death Attorneys at Lapeze & Johns today. We serve Houston, Texas and the Gulf Coast. We can help you understand the differences in suits and which ones you or your loved ones may be eligible to pursue. We understand that dealing with death is painful and difficult. Our aim is to make the legal process as painless as possible and gain you the compensation you deserve.