At common law, death terminated all causes of action for personal injuries, and gave rise to no causes of action for compensation of the decedent's estate or family. Admiralty, which adopted the common law, therefore provided neither a remedy for wrongful death nor for survival of causes of action. To correct this, there have been a number of Congressional enactments and judicially created remedies which, however, are complicated by inconsistencies and vagaries. If death results from an injury occurring on navigable waters, recovery may be sought under the Death on the High Seas Act, the Jones Act, the Longshoremen's and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, state statutes, or foreign law. The purpose of this Article is two-fold. First, some of the jurisdictional problems of the Death on the High Seas Act, the Longshoremen's and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, and the Jones Act will be examined with special emphasis upon the question of when a state remedy will be applied in death action falling under these particular acts. Second, many difficulties in the application of these enactments will be traced to the inconsistent recovery and uniformity principles in an attempt to point out the need for establishing an over-riding policy as to the applicability of state remedies in connection with these acts.
Judith N. Keep,
Jurisdictional Problems of Maritime Tort Actions: Application of State and Federal Remedies,
San Diego L. Rev.
Available at: https://digital.sandiego.edu/sdlr/vol6/iss3/8