Have you heard of the Death on the High Seas Act of 1920?

Like people across the country, some Long Beach residents take cruises. Other people may charter smaller boats for their vacations. What happens if someone dies as the result of negligence while on one of these vessels during those trips? The answer may lie in the Death on the High Seas Act of 1920.

If the death occurred at least three nautical miles from one of the country's shores, surviving family members may turn to the act for restitution. The safety of you and your family should be the top priority of the cruise ship or other recreational vessel. Unfortunately, slip and falls, assaults and other serious or fatal accidents do happen.

Poorly trained staff, poor maintenance and inadequately designed ships could all be sources of accidents. Something as simple as the failure to put out a "wet floor" sign could lead to disaster. The source of the negligence could come from anyone from the owner of the vessel down to the staff member who failed to display that all-important warning sign. In some cases, the problem is another passenger.

Regardless of how the serious injuries or fatalities occurred, the question of whether negligence caused or contributed to them may not be as simple to answer as you might expect. The existence of the Death on the High Seas Act of 1920 alone is not enough to prove a claim. As a victim or surviving family member, you will still need to prove negligence in a civil court in order to be eligible for a monetary award. The odds of success will most likely increase with the assistance of a Long Beach attorney experienced in maritime law.

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