Germanwings families to take action against airline

The families of passengers killed in the Germanwings crash will take legal action against Lufthansa in the United States after rejecting the carrier’s compensation offer as inadequate, the Bild am Sonntag newspaper reported, citing the families’ lawyer.

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

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

US 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,” Bild am Sonntag quoted Giemulla as saying. Damage claims have not been set yet but plaintiffs will follow American law, Giemulla said.

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

“It’s our concern that the relatives will as quickly as possible receive the compensation payments they are entitled to,” the carrier said.

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.


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