Germanwings crash families prepare lawsuit in U.S. – report

The families of victims of a Germanwings jet crash in the French Alps which killed all 150 on board will take legal action against carrier Lufthansa, German newspaper Bild am Sonntag says.

HAMBURG, GERMANY (PLANE SPOTTER) – The families of passengers killed in a Germanwings crash will take legal action against Lufthansa in the United States after rejecting the carrier’s compensation offer as inadequate, German newspaper Bild am Sonntag reported on Sunday (August 9), citing the families’ lawyer.

Germanwings, a unit of Lufthansa, in June offered 25,000 euros ($27,500) per victim for the pain and suffering caused by the March 24 crash that killed all 150 onboard.

The 25,000-euro offer is on top of 50,000 euros per passenger already paid as immediate financial assistance to relatives.

United States law provides for large payouts for emotional damages, unlike German law. A low six-digit amount would be adequate compensation, Elmar Giemulla, a lawyer representing some of the victims said last month.

“We are preparing a lawsuit in the United States and see good chances for a place of jurisdiction there,” the Bild am Sonntag quoted Giemulla as saying. Damage claims have not been set yet but plaintiffs will follow American law, Giemulla said.

Germanwings on Sunday declined to comment on the report but said compensation would be “at least 100,000 euros” per passenger and, depending on families’ circumstances, reach a high six-digit amount that could rise up to a million euros.

The planned legal action will aim to find out why co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, who had previously suffered from depression, was allowed to fly, Giemulla said.

Giemulla did not return calls seeking comment.

Evidence shows Lubitz locked the captain out of the cockpit of Germanwings flight 4U9525 from Barcelona to Duesseldorf and deliberately steered the plane into a remote mountainside.

Giemulla will cooperate with New York-based law firm Kreindler & Kreindler, the newspaper said.