UNITED STATES: As legal battles continue in the aftermath of two fatal crashes of Boeing 737 MAX planes that claimed the lives of nearly 350 people, new developments in the ongoing dispute have emerged.
Attorneys for Boeing and the crash victims’ families have locked horns in a legal dispute over the kind of damages that the company has to pay under Illinois state case law.
According to a court filing, Boeing’s lawyers cited an expert who claimed that victims in the 2019 Ethiopian Airlines crash would not have felt any pain before they died as they hit the ground too quickly.
The expert argued that the impact occurred at a speed that was faster than the human brain can process pain.
The crash victims’ families claim they should be compensated for the terror and suffering their relatives may have experienced in the minutes leading up to the fatal crashes.
Boeing’s lawyers, however, argue that damages can only be paid for crash victims’ “conscious pain and suffering” if there is verifiable evidence that suffering occurred.
The lawyers claim that, in this case, any speculative pain suffered by the passengers in the milliseconds before their deaths is irrelevant in determining damages because they would not have been aware that they were injured before they died.
Attorneys for the families of the crash victims have dismissed Boeing’s argument, stating that the passengers endured “horrific emotional distress, pain and suffering, and physical impact or injury while they endured extreme G-forces, braced for impact, knew the airplane was malfunctioning, and ultimately plummeted nose-down to the ground at terrifying speed.”
The ongoing legal battle will determine what kinds of damages can be collected, and later this year will be presented to a jury to establish how much compensatory damages Boeing has to pay.
The airplane manufacturer has already settled most of the claims, but about 25% of the cases remain unresolved.
Boeing has accepted financial responsibility for the accidents caused by faulty automated systems and has set aside $600 million for distribution to families and charities in addition to the upcoming court-decided damages.
The company has stated that it is committed to fully and fairly compensating every family that suffered a loss in the tragic accident.
Legal experts have weighed in on the ongoing dispute, stating that it will be up to the judge to determine what kinds of damages can be collected and disagreeing on whether the involved parties can settle Illinois case law on the issue of precrash injury damages.
As the legal battle continues, the crash victims’ families still seek justice and compensation for their losses.
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