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Boeing 737 Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Boeing, a popular aircraft manufacturer, is facing recent lawsuits concerning the 2019 crash of Ethiopian Airways flight ET302 that killed 157 people. Attorneys for the victims’ families argue that the victims suffered pain before the plane crashed and are entitled to compensation for that suffering. The incident has been described as a six-minute rollercoaster that led to a high-speed, fatal nosedive. No passengers survived.

Calculating Victims’ Pain and Suffering

Both parties’ attorneys have difficulty deciding whether compensation should be awarded to these victims. Boeing lawyers have argued that any pain and suffering the crash victims may have felt before impact is irrelevant when calculating payment. Lawyers have also said that under Illinois law, family members can only be awarded damages for their grief—not how much the decedent suffered.

Both parties had hired expert witnesses to discuss whether victims suffered pain or injuries before the plane crashed. Boeing attorneys have argued that crash victims died instantaneously on impact, and their brains would not have had time to process pain signals. On the other hand, the families’ attorneys have addressed different physical and psychological possibilities, stating that the victims knew they would die and whether unbelted passengers would have hit the ceiling as the plane fell. In response, Boeing has said that these possibilities are speculative and that no substantial evidence shows that anyone suffered any pain or injuries before impact.

The aircraft company admitted responsibility for the crash in 2021. Boeing acknowledged their fault as a deal with plaintiffs’ attorneys to remove potential punitive damages from the lawsuits. The company had also discussed in court filings that evidence about victims’ suffering would confuse the jury, possibly leading to big awards equivalent to punitive damages.

However, just last week, U.S. Federal Judge of the Northern District of Illinois Judge Jorge Alonso ruled that the victims’ families can seek compensation for their loved one’s pain and suffering before the crash in Ethiopia.

Despite Boeing’s argument to avoid paying pain and suffering damages, Judge Alonso wrote, “A jury could reasonably infer from the evidence that will be presented at trial that the passengers on ET 302 perceived that they were going to crash, horrifically, to their certain death.” The crash was described as a six-minute rollercoaster, leading to a high-speed, fatal nosedive that left no surviving victims.

There are potentially millions of dollars of compensation per plaintiff whose claims remain unresolved. Around 75 cases could go to trial.

“We are deeply sorry to all who lost loved ones on Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Flight 302,” a Boeing representative stated. “We have acknowledged the terrible impact of these tragic accidents and made an upfront commitment to fully and fairly compensate every family who suffered a loss.”

Robert Clifford, an attorney representing multiple families, said in a statement, “Boeing’s victims undeniably suffered horrific emotional distress, pain and suffering, and physical impact and injury while they endured extreme G-forces, braced for impact, knew the airplane was malfunctioning, and ultimately plummeted nose-down to the ground at nearly 600 miles per hour, leaving a crater 30 feet deep.” Family members and their attorneys look forward to the upcoming trials to present the evidence to the jury.

Reach Out to a Wrongful Death Attorney

If your loved one was killed in an accident, you might be able to receive compensation for funeral expenses, lost income, and other financial hardships. While the death of a loved one is not something you can change, filing a wrongful death claim can provide compensation and financial stability for your loved one’s family. Contact The Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. to learn more about what our attorneys can do for your wrongful death case.

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