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Louisiana DOHSA Attorneys

The Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA) of 1920

The DOHSA is an act passed in 1920 to protect maritime workers and their families by allowing them to seek financial compensation for a wrongful death accident occurring at sea. Recently, the DOHSA has branched out to include commercial airline crashes that fall at least 12 nautical miles from the U.S. waters border. Dock workers and other offshore employees who work within 3 miles of the shore are not covered by DOHSA—instead, they are covered by the Longshoreman & Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act. To learn more about that law, visit our page on it.

Before this act was passed, there was no tangible piece of legislature plaintiffs could use against shipping companies to seek retribution for the loss of their loved one.

Since its creation, workers, manufacturers, supervisors, and owners of airlines and shipping vessels are now held to a higher set of standards and regulations designed create a safe working environment. When theses standard are not met, and a family loses a loved one because of accident that could have been avoided, said families now have a piece of ground to stand on in fighting for the compensation they absolutely deserve.

The Dangers of Maritime Work

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is the regulative organization in charge of setting standards of practice, gathering evidence from, and enforcing violations of rules pertaining to the safety of workplaces in every industry in the United States. In their findings, OSHA has concluded that maritime workers have double the likelihood of experiencing and injury or death in an accident than even the construction industry. This would make maritime work one of the most perilous types of work in our country today.

Employees on offshore sites face dangers including:

  • The possibility of falling overboard
  • Exposure to harmful fumes in enclosed spaces
  • Chemical burns
  • Powerful electrical shocks
  • Explosions of machinery
  • Piracy

If the death of your loved was the result of or related to any of these kinds of accidents, or an accident unlisted here, it is important that you understand the DOHSA and how it can help you. Additionally, it is important to hire expert maritime legal counsel that can navigate this act and put it to use in at least partially providing recovery for your significant loss.

DOHSA Limitations

Although it has been a vastly helpful piece of legislature since its establishment in 1920, the DOHSA has notable restrictions. As mentioned, it will cover death in the event of a commercial airline crash, but only if the airline crash occurred 12 mile past the border of United States waters.

If your case qualifies, and it comes time for recovering financial compensation for the wrongful death of your loved one, DOHSA compensation only covers certain aspects of your loss. In many wrongful death suits, families can receive compensation for pain and suffering, loss of future wages, and loss of companionship, but these losses are not covered under DOHSA.

The act only covers financial compensation immediately pertaining to the loss of your loved one and no other related expenses. However, there are other avenues through which to obtain compensation for those expenses and an expert legal team can navigate them for you.

Maritime Legal Representation

Arnold & Itkin LLP is a nationally renowned personal injury firm dedicated to bringing justice and order back to victims and families of victims who have suffered a tragedy that should have been avoided. Our experts will go to any length to provide you with the help you need.

If your loved one was wrongfully killed at sea in a commercial shipping or aviation accident off the coast of Louisiana, call us today at (225) 412-6348 to schedule your free consultation and begin your fight for compensation.

Case Results

Check Out Our Victories

  • $29Million The Largest Known Settlement for a Wrongful Death Offshore Kurt Arnold, Jason Itkin, and Cory Itkin successfully secured a record settlement for a single family who tragically lost a loved one. It is the largest known settlement for a death that occurred offshore. While a settlement is not an admittance of responsibility, our firm was pleased that the company was willing to provide fair compensation to the family of their employee without a fight.
  • $14Million Jones Act Settlement Reached Two Days Before Trial Arnold & Itkin represented a seaman after he suffered a head injury on the Hercules 15 inland barge. Hercules employees tack welded a three foot pipe to the derrick and then forgot to remove it before starting drilling operations. The pipe was jarred loose and hit Plaintiff in the head, causing severe injury. We presented his case under the Jones Act against Hercules, who chose to settle just before trial.
  • $11.5Million Settlement Won for Injured Victim of Offshore Accident Arnold & Itkin obtained a settlement of $11.5 million on behalf of an offshore accident victim suffering from both physical and psychological injuries. His settlement will ensure that our client gets all the time, financial support, and stability he needs to fully recover and get back on his feet.
  • Confidential Defendant Paid Massive Settlement Rather Than Risk Trial Arnold & Itkin is proud to have aggressively pursued compensation for our client before the trial even began. Our pretrial preparation resulted in nearly two dozen depositions before the defendant chose to resolve the case.
  • $8.9Million Settlement Achieved for Severely Injured Seaman Arnold & Itkin helped secure a settlement on behalf of a seaman who injured his head when working aboard an offshore drilling vessel. Our firm helped to recover $8.9 million on his behalf.
  • $8Million Massive Settlement Reached Before Trial Began Our firm represented an offshore worker (a steward) who seriously injured his back in an accident. The injury prevented him from making a living. While other lawyers told him his case was only worth a few hundred thousand dollars, our attorneys knew better. Due to intense negotiations by the firm, Arnold & Itkin was able to obtain a settlement for $8 million from his employers.
  • $7.2Million Millions Won for Brain-Injured Client in Louisiana Arnold & Itkin recovered more than $7 million in a settlement for a severely injured Louisiana client. Our client suffered brain injury and memory issues while working on an offshore platform. The defendant settled his case during jury selection, and our client now has the money he needs to receive quality medical care for the rest of his life.
  • $7.1Million Concussed Worker Received a Massive Settlement after Accident Arnold & Itkin represented an offshore worker with a concussion and a herniated disk from an accident on the job. These injuries inhibited our client’s ability to make a living, requiring him to pursue a claim. His employers eventually resolved the case by settling for $7.1 million.
  • $6.9Million Settlement Obtained for Family of Deceased Offshore Worker Arnold & Itkin negotiated a multi-million dollar settlement for the family of a man who died offshore. Though the defendant attempted to get away with an extremely low offer, our team obtained a settlement that was many times larger.
  • $6.6Million Settlement Obtained for Wife & Family of Deceased Offshore Worker Arnold & Itkin helped a woman and her family get justice after her husband was killed in an incident offshore. Despite undue pressure from the defendant, our firm made sure our clients were taken care of for the rest of their lives.
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“What I feel is that he never considered me as a number, never looked at me as a number. He looked at me as a person, as an individual who needs help, who needs guidance.” - Mildred Solar Cortes