Weeks after the Lion Air Flight 610 crash in Indonesia on October 29, 2018, families of the deceased were told by employees of the airline to sign a form to receive compensation for their losses. To receive payment, signers had to agree to not pursue legal action against Lion Air, it’s financial backers and insurers, or Boeing – the manufacturer of the plane.
At a hotel conference room, families of the victims of the Lion Air airplane accident were presented with an opportunity for government-mandated compensation for loss of life in an aviation accident. Families were eligible to receive 1.3 billion rupiahs, which is equivalent to $91,600.
While the amount is significant for families who lost breadwinners, have to pay bills, and have children in school, they were only offered the minimum of what they were entitled to receive under Indonesian law.
In order to collect the money, a release and discharge had to be signed, which made families agree to not pursue legal action. Additionally, the signers had to promise not to disclose the terms of the agreement.
According to the 2011 Indonesia Aviation Act, when families receive government-mandated payment for loss of life, that does not mean they give up their right to file a lawsuit against those who may have been involved. The document from Lion Air is unorthodox, and some are questioning its legality.
While months have passed since the accident, many questions remain regarding the cause. Investigations are focused on discovering whether the automated system designed to prevented stalls in the plan could have been triggered by false data and sent the plane into a nosedive. Pilots have made statements claiming they were not informed about the new system, nor were they adequately trained on how to use it.
For the families dealing with this stressful situation, the airline is doing little to ease the process. They are not allowed to take the documents home to review them. Some families were even prohibited from allowing their lawyers to look over the paperwork. When families sign the form, a Lion Air official video tapes the meeting. For some families, signing the paperwork is the only way to grieve properly and move forward. There are those, however, who are refusing to sign.
According to Tad Thomas from Thomas Law Offices in regard to Lion Air’s actions, “It should be a crime for a company that caused a tragedy to take advantage of people in need because of that same tragedy. These families should have a right to full compensation in a court against Lion Air, Boeing, and any other parties that may be found responsible for this crash.”
For individuals involved in the crash from the United States, there are ongoing lawsuits. Airplane crash litigation is complex. If you’ve lost a loved one in an accident, always consider speaking with a lawyer before talking with anyone else or signing any paperwork regarding settlements or legal action. Uphold your rights today by contacting us for the legal advice and representation you deserve.