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How International Law Affects Airline Crash Settlements

Written by Ankin Law Office

Last month, the world was shocked and devastated to hear about the catastrophic airline crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 in San Francisco that took the lives of three girls and injured 182 others.

Victims of airplane crashes are generally able to recover compensation in a personal injury, wrongful death, or class action lawsuit from the airline, airport, or equipment manufacturer, but the potential payouts for the victims of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 could be vastly different for Americans and passengers from other countries. According to the Associated Press, an international treaty governs compensation paid to the victims of international air travel — whether they suffer property damage such as broken luggage or serious injuries or death in an airplane crash.

The likely effect of the treaty will be that U.S. courts are unavailable to many foreigners and they will be forced to pursue their claims in Asia or elsewhere, where lawsuits are more difficult to win and award lower payouts. Some legal experts estimate that victims of an airplane crash can expect to receive multimillion-dollar legal settlements if they are filed in the United States, the Associated Press reported.

U.S. citizens who are the victims of an aviation accident have access to the U.S. courts, but citizens of other countries may have a more difficult time pursing legal action in U.S. courts even though the accident took place in the United States.

Airplane accidents often involve several legal claims against multiple defendants since there may be more than one party responsible for the aviation accident. Since most airplane accidents are caused by human error or mechanical problems, lawsuits are most frequently brought against the airline company in which the plaintiff(s) assert a claim of negligence, but claims of product liability may be brought against the equipment manufacturer, as well.

Getting full and fair recovery following an airplane crash can be difficult since airlines usually hire a team of lawyers to defend the company against legal claims or to offer inadequate settlements to resolve the claims. In the case of the Asiana Airlines crash, many foreign victims will face an uphill battle to gain access to U.S. courts.

Federal law bars lawyers from soliciting victims of air disasters for the first 45 days after the crash, but the Chicago aviation accident lawyers at Ankin Law Offices, LLC are well-versed in the legal complexities associated with aviation accident lawsuits. We understand the importance of a thorough investigation, persuasive negotiation skills, solid legal claims, and strong legal advocacy in order to get you the compensation you deserve.

Contact our office at (312) 600-0000 to schedule a free consultation with one of our Chicago airplane accident attorneys.

Categories: Personal Injury