Terms of an international treaty will determine whether passengers can sue for tons of money or whether they get nothing for their injuries.
Many survivors of the San Francisco plane crash that killed three teens and injured more than 180 people might get nothing, while others could get millions.
Even passengers on the Asiana Airlines flight who suffered the same injuries could see different payouts, according to lawyers who spoke with The Christian Science Monitor.
“The dramatic discrepancy in payouts is due to an international treaty called the Montreal Convention, which limits air disaster victims to filing lawsuits in their home country, their final destination, or the country the air carrier is based in,” the paper says. Under the rules, many non-Americans on the flight will have to file complaints outside the U.S., where lawsuits may be much less lucrative, lawyers say.
Federal law prevents lawyers from contacting air crash victims for 45 days, a period the airline will likely use to reach cheap, private settlements with passengers.
Those who pursue litigation here will get at least $148,000, and possibly much more unless Asiana can prove it wasn’t at fault, the Monitor says. The cause of the crash is still under investigation.
“There are no caps on payouts for wrongful death and injury cases in California,” Bloomberg adds. But the cases could take up to five years to resolve, lawyers told the site.