€68k for woman whose only son died in plane disaster

A mother who lost her only child when an Air France plane crashed in what is regarded as one of the world’s worst aviation disasters has been awarded almost €68,000 by the High Court.

€68k  for woman whose only son died in plane disaster

Lidia Ivanova’s 25-year-old son was on flight AF447 from Rio de Janeiro to Paris Charles de Gaulle when the aircraft crashed in to the sea on Jun 1, 2009, killing all 228 passengers on board.

Three young Irish doctors were among the dead, along with Mrs Ivanova’s son, Maksim.

Yesterday in the High Court, Lidia Ivanova, from Swords, Co Dublin, was awarded damages in respect of her son’s death.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine said Air France had quite properly admitted liability for the incident, had apologised to Mrs Ivanova for the anguish and distress which she has experienced as a result of the loss of her only child, and had already paid out €17,600.

The judge said Mrs Ivanova, who is a ground operative with Aer Lingus, had come to Ireland in 2005 from Estonia and her son joined her the following year.

The judge said that as a result of her son’s death, Mrs Ivanova has experienced tremendous sadness and upset, apart from the fact that she has also lost the support which her son used to give her in the course of her day-to-day activities.

“In the aftermath of his death, she received some professional support from within the Aer Lingus organisation. However, it was clear from the evidence she has not yet come to terms with the death of her only child to whom she appears to have been absolutely devoted.”

Ms Justice Irvine said she hoped Mrs Ivanova would eventually come to terms with what must have been a catastrophic loss for her as a lone parent.

The judge said she was curtailed in the amount she could ward for mental distress, which is capped at €25,400, which she was sure Mrs Ivanova would view as a paltry sum having regard to the effect that her son’s death had on her life.

Mrs Ivanova had made a claim for loss of dependency. Ms Justice Irvine said having regard to the fact that Mrs Ivanova has been denied the opportunity of continuing to have regular meals at home with her son, she no longer incurs the financial costs associated with this activity.

“The potential loss arising from any contribution he may have made to her grocery bill has effectively been negative by his unfortunate death.”

The judge also turned down a claim for 12 hours support a week, and said she believed much of the time Mrs Ivanova spent with her son was spent in the type of normal engagement that occurs between a parent and a grown up child who comes to visit.

Ms Justice Irvine said Mrs Ivanova and her son may have enjoyed a closer bond than many mothers and their sons, and the judge said it was reasonable to conclude that were it not for his death, Mr Ivanova would have continued in the course of their joint lives up to the time of his likely marriage to have provided his mother with an average of seven hours a week.

Allowing a total of €69,164 for loss of support, travel, and holiday contributions the total award came to €94,562. The judge said the value of the assets which passed to Mrs Ivanova following the death of her son must be deducted and the monies already paid by Air France, bringing the final award to €67,490.

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