How Does the Law Protect the Loved Ones of Someone Who Dies on a Cruise Ship?

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April 13, 2016
Colson Hicks Eidson

Miami Wrongful Death Lawyer Tells Tragic Story of One Death on the High Seas Act Case

Certain maritime laws stretch back hundreds of years, and many are cold and limiting on what victims can legally recover. In particular, under the Death on the High Seas Act, it can be incredibly difficult for the families of medical malpractice victims seriously injured on cruise ships to obtain the damages they deserve for their loss. In this video, Miami wrongful death attorney Joe Kalbac recounts a case he handled where a 14-year-old boy was tragically killed due to medical error on a cruise ship, and how our law firm was able to gain a successful legal resolution for this family.

The Death on the High Seas Act is outdated and needs to be fixed, but families who have lost loved ones at sea still have rights. If your loved one has been killed due to the negligent actions of a cruise ship doctor, seek legal counsel who can begin investigating and working immediately on your behalf.

Video Transcription:

Another case that’s particularly interesting involving the cruise lines is I represented a family whose 14-year-old boy had just gotten on a cruise ship. He went and ate some seafood, he had an allergic reaction to the seafood, he then collapsed because he couldn’t breathe. They found him, took him to the infirmary, the doctors there intubated him into his stomach instead of into his lung and he died. Injuries and death especially death that occur on the high seas are governed by a federal statute called Death on the High Seas Act. It provides that if a death occurs more than three miles from shore or outside the territorial waters of a state, there are no pain and suffering damages recoverable and as you can imagine in the death of a 14-year-old, there are no economic damages. In Florida, we looked at the late 1800 Constitution for the state of Florida to determine, where are the territorial boundaries to the state of Florida? And we determined that in this particular area off of Miami, it was the western edge of the Gulf Stream. Well, the western edge of the Gulf Stream moves every day. So we went further, determined by satellite imagery through an oceanographer that the Gulf Stream on this particular day was 12 miles off shore from the coast of Florida, and this incident happened 11.2 miles. So in this particular case, because of the work we did here at Colson Hicks Eidson, this family was able to recover fair compensation for the death of their 14-year-old child, if there is such a thing. Contact our lawyers at 305-476-7400 or contact our website at for more information.