Wrongful Death at Sea

Vacationing overseas on a cruise continues to be a very popular form of vacation and appeals to all generations. Despite its popularity, accidents can occur. These accidents are sometimes fatal.  Just recently, off the coast of Florida, a family boarded the Carnival Ecstasy cruise ship for a Christmas time cruise. On a Sunday evening, they were headed to dinner when they witnessed blood streaming down the doors of an elevator. Jose Sandoval Opazo was killed while working on an elevator on board the cruise ship. He was employed as an electrician on the cruise ship.  This is certainly a tragic story, yet, death overseas can suddenly happen to anyone embarking on a cruise.

If a death occurs more than three nautical miles from the coast, the Death on the High Seas Act (“DOHSA”) will apply. If a loved one’s death was caused by the negligent, reckless, or intentional act of another on a cruise ship, family members can recover for their pain, suffering, and monetary losses by filing a wrongful death claim against the responsible party. It is important that you hire an experienced wrongful death attorney. Doing so can ensure that you receive compensation for the financial consequences and for your pain and suffering from the devastating loss. The experienced Miami wrongful death attorneys at Gerson & Schwartz, PA are here to help. Our Miami wrongful death attorneys are Florida board certified trial lawyers and have also handled several wrongful death cases.

Death on the High Seas Act

Under DOHSA, a grieving Plaintiff may bring a claim under negligence, intentional wrongdoing, products liability or strict liability. If a negligence claim is pursued, per Florida law, the Plaintiff must prove the following:

  • That Defendant owed Plaintiff a duty of care;
  • That Defendant breached said duty of care;
  • That said breach was the cause in fact of Plaintiff’s injury;
  • That said breach was the proximate cause of Plaintiff’s injury; and
  • That Plaintiff suffered injury or damages.

It should be noted, however, that the only person with standing to bring a DOHSA action is the deceased’s personal representative. When said personal representative brings the action, it is on behalf of the deceased person’s spouse, of for their benefit, for for their parent, child(ren) or anyone who was financially dependent on the deceased individual.

It should also be noted that, under DOHSA, there is a three-year statute of limitations. Thus, if there is no settlement of the case, and you decide to file your case with the court system, you must do so within three years of the accident. This three-year limitations period must be strictly adhered to. If you do not file within such time period, you are most likely barred from doing so at a later time.  

Hire an Attorney for your Case

If you have lost a loved one because of the negligent, reckless, or intentionally wrongful act of another, it is imperative that you hire an attorney for your case. The attorneys at Gerson & Schwartz, PA are here to help. We are experienced Miami wrongful death attorneys, resourceful advocates and aggressive litigators for clients seeking to recover damages for the full extent of their losses. Contact us for a free consultation. Se Habla Espanol.

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