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Choose the Right Maritime Wrongful Death Lawyer for Your Maritime Claim

Keith Brais

By whatever name, cruise ship passenger, Jones Act seaman, merchant marine, seafarer, crew member, oil rig worker, commercial fisherman, all work or travel in oftentimes demanding and unforgiving offshore environments. Unfortunately, these working conditions can result in the death of a loved one with parents, spouses, and even children left behind to pursue wrongful death and survival claims against marine employers. These employers most often include cruise ship, tug & barge, container, and tanker companies along with their insurance companies with teams of lawyers. Having previously represented shipping, cruise lines, and marine insurance companies for nearly two decades, a board-certified maritime wrongful death lawyer at Brais Law Firm knows the tactics often employed when defending wrongful death claims. Our firm is here to help the families of cruise ship passengers, merchant seamen & crew members due to a shipboard or offshore accident causing death.

Maritime Related Deaths

An accidental death, unfortunately, occurs to cruise ship passengers, seamen, crew members, longshoremen, and harbor workers. These tragic consequences can result from a wide array of circumstances on the ocean, inland navigable waters, or locations in close proximity to the water, e.g., piers and loading docks. Examples include: collisions between pleasure yachts, out-of-control “go-fast” boats, reckless Jet Ski operators, defective cranes and/or forklifts used for loading stores, substandard or delayed medical care on or off a cruise ship, and the list goes on. The applicable law and amount of damages loved ones are entitled to depend upon whether or not the deceased was a maritime worker or cruise ship passenger and where the death occurred. There are four bodies of maritime law which deal with fatalities. These are general maritime law (federal common law), the Jones Act, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, and the Death on the High Seas Act.

Wrongful Death vs. Survival Action Claims

Understanding the differences between wrongful death and a survival action requires identifying on whose behalf the suit is being brought and for what type of damages. A wrongful death action recognizes the right of a victim’s dependents to recover for their losses as a result of a loved one’s passing. This claim typically allows for the recovery of loss of support, the value of services that would have been rendered by the deceased but for the death, and the value of parental guidance. A survival action recognizes the right of a victim’s estate to recover damages for their personal injuries prior to death, i.e., the decedent’s pain and suffering before death, medical expenses, future lost wages, or loss of accumulated earnings, and funeral expenses.

Selecting the right maritime wrongful death lawyer with expertise in this highly complicated area of law is very important to the success of your claim. Choosing a law firm specializing in admiralty and maritime law is critical to ensuring the right claim is timely filed and the right damages are sought.

Wrongful Death Claims Seek to Replace Lost Financial and Emotional Contributions 

As we discussed above, a wrongful death claim and a survival action claim are distinct because of the perspectives they adopt. A wrongful death claim is filed on behalf of the family members of the deceased. While no amount of money can replace the loss of a loved one, the purpose of a wrongful death claim is to replace the loss of their financial and emotional contribution to your home. 

The Amount You Could be Owed is Complex to Calculate 

Determining the exact amount to pursue in your wrongful death claim requires complex calculations. For example, you will be entitled to compensation for the loss of your loved one’s financial contribution to your household from the time of their death through the remainder of their working life. This amount is calculated, then converted into present value and incorporated into your claim. 

Measuring your true damages often requires experience and knowledge of how similar claims have been processed — something that your attorney will put to work in support of your damages. A maritime wrongful death lawyer at Brais Law Firm can not only help you calculate the amount to which you are entitled but also handle the entire claims process on your behalf. 

Your Wrongful Death or Survival Claim is Filed with an Insurance Company 

Losing a loved one to a maritime accident will generally entitle you to compensation, but you will not receive this automatically after your loss. Instead, you’ll have to collect evidence, draft a claim, and file it with the appropriate insurance company in the limited amount of time that you have to file. If you miss your deadline, known as the statute of limitations, then you will be unable to pursue compensation for your loss. 

Knowing what deadlines apply to your claim and what evidence you need to prove your damages can be difficult to identify. Working with a maritime wrongful death lawyer provides you with support throughout every step of the process, and we are especially helpful during the evidence-collection phase. The amount of evidence that you provide in support of your claim and the timeliness of your filing will determine whether you get compensation and the amount you may receive. 

Insurance Companies Work for Profit, Not For You 

It is important to understand that insurance companies make revenue from their clients who pay premiums and maximize their profits by reducing their costs, which are mainly payments to injured persons or their families. Insurance companies have full-time teams of claim analysts and attorneys who will do whatever they can to deny your claim or reduce the amount you are paid. 

Your Maritime Wrongful Death Lawyer Handles All Communications and Negotiations on Your Behalf 

When you have a maritime wrongful death lawyer by your side, you can step back and focus on helping your family recover and adapt to the loss of your loved one. Once we begin working on your case, we’ll take over all communications with the insurance company. We also handle the evidence collection, claim drafting and filing, and the negotiations necessary to achieve the best possible settlement on your behalf.

Get Help Today From A Board Certified Maritime Wrongful Death Lawyer

The experienced lawyers at Brais Law Firm have the experience to protect your rights, the compassion to serve your needs, and the skill to obtain the compensation you deserve. To reach a maritime wrongful death lawyer, you may call 800-499-0551 from within the U.S., call 305-416-2901 in Florida or click Contact Us to select and complete a form for a free evaluation of your case.


Who will be handling my case?

Your case will be handled by an experienced personal injury attorney who knows what it takes to get the results you deserve. The practitioners at our firm have over 70 years of collective trial experience. Our credentials and qualifications are extensive, including an “AV” Preeminent rating by Martindale-Hubbell and membership in the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. More importantly, we have a first-hand understanding of how insurance carriers operate because we represented clients insured with major insurance companies for nearly 20 years before we made a choice to change sides so that we could help the people who need us most – individuals just like you.

Brais Law Firm: Who We Are

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I highly recommend Brais Law Firm. Their professionalism and expertise were top notch. My slip and fall injury case involved a well known cruise ship and was nerve racking to me. They calmed all my fears and walked me through step by step. In the end they helped me obtain a favorable recovery. Look no further, call them with your…


Awesome team of legal professionals!! I can't thank Mr. Brais and his team enough for helping me through the worst experience of my life. Had it not been for their dedication to seeing things through. I would be in a very bad place. I highly recommend Brais Law firm.


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