We’ve all been watching the aftermath of the Asiana airplane accident, including liability and injuries. For anyone involved or for anyone who flies one large question remains: How will the injured and the families of the three victims who passed away recover compensation for their death? Can they sue Asiana Airlines and who else can be held accountable for the accident?
Victim compensation for oversees airplane accidents is governed by an international treaty called the Montreal Convention. Under the 1999 Montreal Convention, airline companies are strictly liable for damages up to approximately $138,000 per passenger. All damages that exceed this amount fall under a negligence standard, which means the airline can dispute that its negligence caused the additional damages.
Not all airplane accident passengers will receive the same amount of compensation, even if they have similar injuries. The reason is quite interesting. According to flight records, there were 141 Chinese, 64 Americans, 77 South Koreans and at least five people from other countries on the airplane. The Americans on the airplane should have no trouble bringing lawsuits in the U.S., but other injured individuals may need to fight to get into U.S. courts.
Under the Montreal Treaty, international passengers can seek damages in one of five places: Their country of residence, the place where their ticket was issued, the air carrier’s home base, the air carrier’s principal place of business and the passengers’ final destination. If passengers from China carried a round-trip ticket back to China it will be difficult to impossible to pursue a personal injury claims in a U.S. Court. This is important because the forum will play a significant role in determining how much compensation an injured person will receive.
Here is an example of the stark difference it can make. The typical child wrongful death case in the U.S. can reach well into the millions of dollars depending on several factors. In South Korea, when an airplane crashed in Guam and killed five family members, a South Korean court only ordered the airline to pay $510,000 for those deaths. In fact, according to an attorney who represented the victims in that Korean Air Lines crash, those who brought lawsuits in the U.S. “settled for as much as 100 times more than those who sued in South Korea.”
Fair? Nope! But until the Convention is changed, international airplane accident victims will continue to face disparate treatment. Being aware of what the law is can often take you from the position of a victim to that of a victor. This is why we practice law. We are the Law Office of Guenard & Bozarth and our team of experienced trial lawyers are here to represent your interests and fight for you. Call us 24/7/365 at 888-809-1075 or visit http://www.gbleglal.com We Can Help!