Louisiana residents should be aware of the efforts that are being made to change the Death on the High Act, or DOSHA. Legislation has been introduced in Congress that will enhance the rights of surviving family members who are pursing compensation when the negligence of a cruise line results in the death of a loved one at sea. It can prevent the companies from using an archaic law to avoid taking responsibilities for their part in the incidents.
DOSHA currently prevents the plaintiffs from seeking compensation due to emotional damages, such as mental distress and pain and suffering, when the death of a passenger occurs beyond state territorial waters. If individuals who receive no earned income, like a child or a retiree, perish because of a cruise line's negligence, their surviving loved ones are only able to pursue limited damages, typically just funeral and burial expenses.
The improvements being proposed would allow the surviving family members to pursue non-pecuniary compensation as allowed by the majority of states. This can include damages for bereavement and grief.
DOSHA was established by Congress in 1920 at a time where there were few state-level wrongful death statutes that allowed family members to seek damages for the emotional toll of losing a loved one. Since that time, most the states have amended and improved their laws to allow for the full financial compensation for emotional suffering.
An attorney who practices maritime law may assist with filing a suit against the parties whose negligent behavior may have contributed to injuries or death at sea. Financial compensation may be pursued for an injured ship passenger as well as for one who perished.