Compensation gap for Alps crash victims

(Reuters Business Report) – Grieving relatives at the site of the Germanwings crash.

Now facing another blow – lawyers warning that they could receive VASTLY different compensation payouts.

It could all hinge on where the ticket was bought.

Vicky Bryan is Reuters European Airlines correspondent in Frankfurt.

Reuters European Airlines correspondent, Vicky Bryan,

“The level of compensation varies, and it depends on where you can bring the claim, and unfortunately victims who can bring their claim in the United States will receive far higher levels of compensation than those in Europe or even Asia.”

Claims can be made where the ticket was purchased… in the home country of the airline … at courts in the passenger’s destination ….or back in the passenger’s home country.

Aviation And Administrative Law Lawyer, Prof. Elmar Giemulla,

“In the U.S. there would be at least a million dollars in compensation per victim, besides everything else that has been paid for, while in Europe it’s in the range of 100,000 euros. Somewhere between the two is perhaps the most likely outcome.”

More than 18 different nationalities were represented on the Germanwings flight.

The majority of passengers from Germany and Spain, with three from the United States.

Reuters European Airlines correspondent, Vicky Bryan,

“People sitting next to each other on the flight, their families will end up with very different amounts at the end of the day even though those passengers on that flight all shared the same fate.”

Reuters sources expect insurers to stick with Lufthansa’s liability policies, even though the airline was aware that co-pilot Lubitz had experienced severe depression.

Allianz – which is handling insurance for the crash – estimating an initial cost of $300 million.

The CEO of Lufthansa promising the airline will provide assistance to the families of those killed “for as long as help is needed”.

The question is whether they feel any moral pressure to pay even a cent more than the law obliges.