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Who can file a wrongful death claim under maritime law?

Labor may be labor in the view of most people, but when it comes to working on land and working on the water there are significant differences. It's one thing to do industrial work on the stable platform of a factory floor. Crewmembers on commercial vessels out of Texas or Louisiana know that they do the same kind of work and it becomes a lot more hazardous because they are doing it on the pitching deck of a boat.

An accident on the high seas has a way of causing more serious injury than the same kind of accident on terra firma. And because the environment is unique, there are specialized laws, such as the Jones Act, that tend to apply. The circumstances of a given case dictate the law under which action can be taken and finding the most appropriate statute and proper jurisdiction, whether state or federal, is something that is best done under the guidance of an experienced attorney.

In the worst of situations, an accident on a commercial vessel can result in a seaman's death. And more often than not, that loss of life has an effect that is felt most deeply by the family on the shore. In cases where the death is suspected to be the result of negligence by an employer, the surviving family members may have a cause for action.

That's the claim made by the children of one man who died while working on a commercial fishing boat back in 2013. The suit, filed in Jefferson County, alleges that the man was working on the deck when improperly maintained equipment broke, sending a large metal pulley into the man's head. The man suffered critical injuries and died after 38 days in the hospital.

The children seek compensation for the extreme suffering their father endured, the cost of his care and burial, and the mental anguish, loss of companionship and financial support that they suffered.

Source: , "Children of former seaman allege wrongful death," Kasey Schefflin-Emrich, July 27, 2015

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