Here's How Varied Compensation for Injured Passengers on Singapore Airlines Flight
Here's How Varied Compensation for Injured Passengers on Singapore Airlines Flight

Bangkok, Thailand - Passengers injured during severe turbulence on a Singapore Airlines flight are facing varied compensation prospects under international law, highlighting discrepancies in payouts even for similar injuries.

The flight, SQ321, traveling from London to Singapore, was forced to make an emergency landing in Bangkok on Tuesday. Tragically, one passenger died, and 30 others were treated for injuries, with 71 passengers under medical care at Samitivej Hospital.

According to US aviation lawyers, under the Montreal Convention, Singapore Airlines is responsible for accidents, including turbulence, on international flights, regardless of negligence. The airline cannot contest damages up to approximately $175,000 if passengers file a lawsuit.

However, compensation amounts can vary significantly based on factors like the jurisdiction where the claim is filed and the legal system's approach to assessing damages. For instance, US courts have awarded over $1 million for emotional trauma due to severe turbulence, while courts in other countries may award significantly less or nothing for similar distress.

"The size of damages often comes down to the country where the case is filed and how the legal system assesses the amount of compensation," explained Daniel Rose, a New York attorney with Kreindler Kreindler.

The Montreal Convention provides guidelines on where a claim can be filed, depending on factors such as the destination, ticket purchase location, and passenger residence. This means passengers' ability to claim compensation can vary widely depending on their circumstances.

Aviation attorneys noted that passengers with round-trip tickets originating in London could file claims in UK courts, while others may need to file in their home countries, such as Indonesia for those connecting flights back home.

"The passengers were from all over the place," said Curtis Miner, a Florida attorney who represents passengers. "So, people who may have had similar injuries, some could bring their case in San Francisco but others who were not able to."

The situation underscores the complex and varied nature of aviation compensation laws and the importance of legal expertise in navigating these challenges.

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