Family members of those killed on boats and other vessels at sea might be able to file wrongful death lawsuits. These kinds of lawsuits are filed by the surviving parents, spouses, or children of someone killed in an accident to get the compensation they need for the loss and other damages the family incurs. If you lost a loved one in an accident on a cruise ship, an oil rig, a commercial fishing boat, or another ship, you might be entitled to file a maritime wrongful death lawsuit.
Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A.’s maritime wrongful death lawyers represent the families of the deceased and work to sue shipping companies, cruise ship companies, and employers for damages. For a free legal consultation on your potential case, call our Miami boat accident lawyers today to discuss what happened and what you might be entitled to. Our phone number is (866) 386-1762.
Common Causes of Deadly Accidents at Sea
If a loved one was killed in an accident on a ship, you might be entitled to sue the ship and the company that operates it for their death. Injuries and accidents on ships are far more common than one might expect, and they are often caused by unsafe conditions on the ship. Other issues in the operations aboard the vessel could also lead to accidents that the ship owner and operator might be liable for.
A ship must be seaworthy, or else any victims of injuries aboard the ship might be entitled to sue. This means that if the vessel was not properly equipped to go out on the ocean and then sank, the surviving victims and the families of deceased victims might be able to sue for injuries and wrongful death.
In many cases, unseaworthiness does not result in a ship’s sinking. Instead, dangers aboard the vessel might lead to the same kinds of accidents and injuries common on land. This could include slip and falls, electrocution, fires, and other injuries caused by unsafe conditions. People could also get sick from viruses or food poisoning on a ship.
Some of these accidents and causes of injury have the propensity to be very dangerous or even deadly. Especially if the victim faces serious head injuries or spinal injuries, they could be killed. Victims can also be killed if they are thrown overboard or fall overboard.
Deadly injuries are also quite common among workers at sea. Commercial fishers, shipping workers, and oil rig workers are at a high risk of on-the-job injuries, and many of those injuries could be quite deadly.
Suing for a Death on a Ship Under U.S. Maritime Law
When someone is killed in an accident, their family is usually permitted to sue the parties who caused the accident. On land, this means filing a lawsuit under the laws of the state where the injury took place. If your loved one was killed on a boat while it was in state waters, you might be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit in that state’s court system. However, if the ship was in U.S. waters or international waters, your case will usually be filed under U.S. maritime law.
Lawsuits under maritime law can come from cruise ship injuries and death as well as injuries from shipping, oil rigs, fishing, and other activities at sea. If your loved one was killed on a ship as a passenger, the lawsuit will likely be filed against that ship’s operators. This could mean suing the cruise line, the loved one’s employer, or whoever else was responsible for the vessel’s safe operation.
In lawsuits caused by an individual’s negligence, you can often still sue the ship operator. Ship captains, individual safety and security officers, coworkers, and others who work on a ship are usually employees of the ship operator. This means that the ship operator may be ultimately responsible for their choices and mistakes on the job. If the death was caused by another passenger on the ship, the ship operators might be liable because they provided negligent security or inadequate aboard the vessel.
To prove your case against the at-fault party, you must prove that they committed some act or omission that was “negligent.” Negligence means that there was some legal duty that they owed the potential victim, but they did not use the proper care or skill to meet that duty. This could include negligent care by a shipboard physician, negligent navigation through a storm, failure to test and maintain fire suppression systems, or failing to install safe, secure handrails to keep passengers from falling overboard.
Proving a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against a Ship Operator
To seek damages in your wrongful death case, you must also prove what damages your family suffered because of the death. In many wrongful death cases, you can sue for the injuries your loved one would have been able to sue for had they survived. This means seeking damages for end-of-life pain and suffering and medical care.
You can also claim damages for the harms your family faced. This could include the cost of burial and funeral expenses, lost wages, lost household services, lost spousal services, lost companionship, and other damages. Some of these harms are mental or emotional rather than economic, but you can claim financial compensation even for the intangible harms like grief and loss.
Call Our Maritime Wrongful Death Lawyers for a Free Case Evaluation
If you lost a loved one in an accident on a ship, call Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind today. Our maritime wrongful death lawyers represent families of deceased ship injury victims and fight to get them compensation for the harms they faced because of the loved one’s death. For a free legal consultation on your potential claim, call us today at (866) 386-1762.