What Are Asiana Flight 214 Passenger’s Legal Rights?

by Jamie R. Lebovitz | July 9th, 2013

Scores of passengers from Asiana Flight 214 were injured, many severely. Two teenagers lost their lives. What are the rights of the victims and their families? The fact that the crash occurred on U.S. soil while the aircraft was en route to a U.S. destination airport is important.  Those passengers who choose to hire a lawyer will have the right to bring their case in the Federal Court in San Francisco,  where I have had substantial experience in other air crash disaster cases.  Since this was an international flight, that is, between and foreign country and the United States, the remedies available to the victims will be governed by a treaty known as the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air , or more simply the Montreal Convention.

Under the Montreal Convention, Asiana Airlines will be absolutely liable for all damages suffered by each victim up to $135,000.00 U.S. dollars, and, all damages both economic and non-economic (such as pain and suffering, emotional anguish and more) above $135,000.00 U.S. Dollars, unless Asiana Airlines can prove that it took all necessary measures to avoid the crash.  This is a burden which is likely to be next to impossible to meet, given the facts we already know.  There may be victims with serious physical, emotional and financial damages who will be entitled to substantial recoveries. While the Montreal Convention provides the basic framework for determining an air carrier’s obligations to the victims of a disaster such as this one, no individual case is the same as any other.   Many factors, both legal and factual, can influence the amount and type of damages a particular survivor or family is entitled to recover.

Because of this, it is vital that victims and their families make an informed and intelligent decision as to which law firm and lawyers are best suited to represent their interests and look out for their needs.  The lawyers for the airline and their insurance carrier are highly experienced, and they have a single objective—minimizing impact of the crash on their clients’ (or Asiana’s) bottom line.  Once the expressions of sympathy are over, the airline, its insurers, and lawyers will be approaching this accident from a purely business standpoint.  This is exactly why victims and their families must have an advocate and attorney on their side, who will not only level the playing field, but will also make sure that victims and their families receive justice and the compensation they deserve.

Authored by: Aviation Trial Attorney Jamie R. Lebovitz