Experts on Friday hinted that airline Lufthansa could face “unlimited” compensation claims for the Germanwings crash that killed 150 people. The damages of £100,000 might not be applicable to relatives as they will be able to demand more.
According to treaty based on deaths and injuries aboard international flights, relatives of victims can claim damages up to $157,000, regardless of the reason for the crash. Article 21 of the Internationally binding 1999 Montreal Convention mentions that the airline has to prove that the crash was not due to “negligible or other wrongful act,” to avoid liability.
“So more or less you will have unlimited financial damage,” said Marco Abate, German aviation lawyer.
Lufthansa is likely to have a tough time argue as the pilot had intentionally crashed the plane into the Alps on Tuesday. Investigators stated that the co-pilot of Germanwings flight 9525 locked himself into the cockpit, before the crash. Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr stated that would consider international arrangements regulating liability. An immediate aid of 50,000 euros is offered, apart from the eventual compensation payments.
The airline is likely to face several claims as the flight was en route from Barcelona to Duesseldorf. Though damages are lower in the Europe, when compared with the US, three American families of the victims are likely to sue the airline. According to the Montreal Convention, the damages are determined based on a passenger’s “principal and permanent residence.”
However experts also indicate that Lufthansa might opt for a ou-of-court settlement with the families. Families will be compensated based on the number of years, if the victim was the sole breadwinner. Dutch lawyer Wouter Munten, who represents victims of last year’s Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 in Ukraine stated that the compensation issues should be resolved quickly, once the grief and shock subsides.[ Via ]