The damages recoverable of a maritime or offshore injury or death depend largely on what law applies. Below you will find damages broken down into three different categories: 1) damages in the context of a Jones Act, unseaworthiness or general maritime injury; 2) damages in the context of a Jones Act death case or DOHSA (Death on the High Seas Act); and 3) damages available under section 905(b) of the LHWCA.
Damages for injuries to seaman:
A seaman who successfully pursues an action against his employer or a vessel owner may recover damages for the following:
- Past Loss of Wages (from the date of injury to the date of trial).
- Loss of Future Earning Capacity (from the date trial into the future)
- Past and Future Medical Expenses
- Pain, Suffering, and Loss of Life’s Enjoyments
- Pre-Judgment and Post Judgment Interest. Pre-Judgment interest is not available when the case is tried to a jury.
Punitive Damages (also known as exelmpry damages) are not currently allowed under the Jones Act.
Damages for the death of a seaman or under DOHSA:
Damages under the Jones Act and DOHSA are limited to pecuniary losses (also known as economic losses). This is unlike most wrongful death statutes, which typically allow you to recover for pain and suffering, loss of consortium and other non-pecuniary damages. Pecuniary losses may include loss of support, loss of the services of the deceased, loss of nurture, guidance, care, and instruction, loss of inheritance, and funeral expenses, assuming such amounts were paid by the person’s dependents.
In the case of the Jones Act, a seaman may also recover damages for any pre-death pain and suffering, assuming the same can be proved.
- Damages under a 905(b) claim generally include:
- medical and rehabilitation expenses;
- loss of earning capacity;
- loss of family and personal services;
- pain and suffering;
- psychological and emotional injuries;
- loss of enjoyment of life;
- permanent disability and disfigurement;
- in the case of a death, loss of society to dependents; and
- prejudgment interest.
Our attorneys are very knowledgeable in Admiralty and maritime law and they are available to help you understand the law and the damages you may be entitled to receive.