Many of us never expect for our flight to go down and we never bother to read the fine print of what is actually required of an airline if an accident were to occur. In 2013, Asana Airline Flight 214 went down taking the lives of two of her passengers and injuring more than half of the 307 crew and passengers. After this crash, it raised many questions about what rights do passengers actually have after an aircraft crash. Legal experts have determined that they have several.
Question – After a plane crashes, what is the airline required to provide for passengers?
Answer – All international flights are ruled over by the Montreal Convention. This international air carrier treaty was adopted by the International Civil Aviation Organization in 1999. In the event that an airline is found at fault for an accident, the Montreal Convention states that the airline is liable for 113,100 special drawing rights. While this value does change often, it can be equaled to about $170,000 per person in the United States.
Throughout the past 90 years, there have been various treaties and laws placed on victims as to what they can actually recover after the devastating effects of a crash. As of right now there is no limit of recovery against an airline unless it has the ability to prove that they took all the proper precautions to prevent an accident. This process was put into effect to make it easier for passengers and victims to recover after the devastating effects of an air crash. All of the burden has been placed on the airlines to allow time for the passengers and family to fully recover. With the case of the Asana flight, the passengers that were involved in that crash would have the ability to sue the airline. It would be determined that these passengers have the right to fair and just compensation.
Question: Who do passengers actually sue?
Answer – The Montreal Convention has stated that a carrier is liable for damages. However, the blame can be shifted to other issues.
According to Steve Dedmon, associate professor of Aeronautical Science at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, states that other entities can be named in a suit if they had been involved in the manufacturing process of the aircraft. For example, if the craft has been proven to be negligently designed or manufactured, the manufacturer can be named into the lawsuit. All it takes is to look at the many components of an aircraft to understand the many manufacturers.
Even with this in mind an airline will not be able to abdicate from its responsibility. This may mean there may be additional defendants such as part manufacturers involved.
Question – What is required of a passenger to get compensated?
Answer – A United States federal law does not allow law firms to contact victims from a plane crash to be contacted for a period of 45 days. However, a victim is allowed to contact an attorney whenever they feel the need to.
Question – Do passengers have to file a lawsuit on their own or be involved in a class action lawsuit?
Answer – Considering that passengers are located all across the country or world, the case would typically end up as an MDL or multi-district litigation. If there are pending cases in many different federal courts, a panel on MDL would decide if they should be consolidated into one case.