The Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA)

The Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA) allows the surviving family members of anyone killed as the result of a wrongful act, negligence, or default occurring on the high seas beyond three nautical miles from the shores of the United States to seek fair compensation. The DOHSA was amended in 2000 to include deaths resulting from aviation accidents that occur beyond twelve nautical miles from the U.S. coastline.

At The Krist Law Firm, P.C., our team of Houston maritime accident lawyers has extensive experience handling wrongful death cases under the Death on the High Seas Act. If you have lost a loved one in a maritime accident, contact our Texas personal injury law firm today at to receive a free consultation.

History of the Death on the High Seas Act

Congress adopted the Death on the High Seas Act in 1920 with the intent of creating a federal remedy for wrongful deaths on the high seas and establishing uniformity to maritime law. Prior to the adoption of this statute, United States’ courts did not recognize a federal cause of action or remedy for wrongful deaths while at sea because no such remedy existed under common law. Today, the law is codified in 46 U.S.C. §30301 through §30308.

Houston Offshore Accidents Involving the Death on the High Seas Act

Under the DOHSA, a personal representative of the decedent’s spouse, children, parent, or dependent relative such as a capable personal injury attorney may bring a cause of action in admiralty against the responsible person or vessel owner. The damages recoverable under DOHSA are limited to pecuniary loss except in cases involving commercial aviation accidents.

If your loved one was killed while working more than 3 nautical miles offshore on a sea vessel, you may be able to recover the following compensation:

  • Burial expenses
  • Any medical expenses incurred prior to death
  • Any wages due at the time of the person’s death
  • Loss of care, support, maintenance, advice, and counsel
  • Loss of inheritance
  • Loss of financial contributions
  • Loss of household services once provided by the decedent

Compensation under the DOHSA is generally dependent upon proving that a vessel owner or other responsible party was negligent in causing your family member’s death. It is important that you speak with a knowledgeable Houston maritime accident lawyer who can explain whether the DOHSA applies to your situation and what options for compensation might be available for the loss of your loved one.

How Our Houston Maritime Accident Lawyers Can Help

At The Krist Law Firm, P.C., our Houston maritime accident lawyers understand how tragic the loss of a loved one can be and we are here to help you navigate the multitude of wrongful death laws that may impact your situation. In the aftermath of such a traumatic loss, you can rely on us to provide compassionate representation during your time of grief and to fight for the maximum compensation in your case.

Our team of skilled attorneys has over 27 years of experience helping families who have lost loved ones in offshore accidents recover the compensation they deserve. We understand the complexities of maritime laws and we have obtained some of the largest maritime recoveries in Texas history.

If you are seeking compensation for wrongful death at sea, it is important to work with lawyers who have a significant track record of success. Contact us at today to receive a free initial consultation.