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Germanwings and Wrongful Death

Wrongful death is “a civil action against someone who can be held liable for a death.” Any injury that causes someone’s death retains the possibility for being classified as a wrongful death action. Florida’s wrongful death act governs how lawsuits are filed against responsible parties and includes negligent acts, breach of contract and warranty, and intentional acts. Automobile accidents, shootings, airline crashes, boating accidents, and car manufacturer negligence are all examples of events that can lead to wrongful death liability.

In order to establish that a wrongful death occurred, you must be able to prove:

– The individual who caused the death had a duty of care to the deceased;
– They breached the standard of care through action or omission, and their wrongful actions were the direct cause of the injury or death of the person who died; and
– Damages resulted.

Germanwings Crash

The tragedy of the Germanwings jetliner crash in the French Alps that occurred on March 24, 2015 highlights the indispensable care that must be taken on behalf of airlines in order to ensure the safety of passengers. The crash killed all 150 people who were on board. Andreas Lubitz was the copilot flying the Germanwings jetliner that crashed into a mountain. The New York Times reports that he sought treatment for vision problems that held the potential for forfeiting his career. Indeed, the revelation comes on the heels of information from authorities who say Lubitz was being treated for psychological issues and had suppressed it from the airline.

In response to the crash — Lufthansa A.G., the parent company of Germanwings – could face wrongful death lawsuits in the United States by the families of Americans who were killed in the jet. French authorities revealed that voice recorder data shows that Lubitz locked the captain out of the cockpit and crashed the plane intentionally.

Mary Schiavo, an attorney who leads the aviation team at Motley Rice in South Carolina, has represented passengers and crew members in U.S. airline crashes before. She believes the United States is a better forum to bring a lawsuit when compared to its European counterparts. According to the Montreal Convention – a convention that unifies rules for international carriage by air – passengers may bring claims under various jurisdictions including where the airline is headquartered, and the passengers’ final destination, among other places.

Airlines have to prove that they are without fault in the accident if they are to fall under the Convention’s limits of liability for accidents. The challenge for Lufthansa is that they have to show that they were not negligent. This includes when they hired Lubitz or when he was allowed to be alone in the cockpit. Many experts believe that the cases will settle in lieu of pursuing all the way to trial.

Wrongful death lawsuits are challenging to prove and require an experienced lawyer who can sort through the evidence. Contact the personal injury attorneys at Boone & Davis for a free consultation today if your loved one has been killed as a result of the negligence of another.

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