What price do we give to the life of a victim of a passenger plane crash? The question, as sordid as delicate, inevitably arises after the crash of the A320 Germanwings, which killed 150 people. While the time of mourning and the investigation just beginning, insurers airline announced Tuesday, a week just after the tragedy, having set aside $ 300 million, 279 million, to cover the likely applications for damages which they will have to answer (the sum includes the loss of the aircraft, which would be provided just over € 6 million). A rather broad provision, called to be corrected. Because it is a long procedure of compensation that looks for relatives of victims.
► Who will pay?
The Montreal Convention of 1999, which sets the rules on aviation disaster, is very clear: the carrier is automatically responsible for the crash and injuries he caused. So are its more than 30 insurers, led by the German giant Allianz, which will bear the financial burden. And the bill looks salt: If the Montreal Convention provides for a maximum compensation of 143,000 euros per victim, this only holds if the airline demonstrates that it is not the cause of the disaster. The fact that the co-pilot of the A320 is caused by suicide does not relieve nothing: “Obviously, this is a major fault of the company, which is responsible for its employees,” explains lawyer Jean-Michel Bonzom specializing in transport and insurance.
► How will be calculated the amount of compensation?
Two types of losses are taken into account. Economic, first: insurers will estimate the loss of earnings suffered by the spouse or children who were financially dependent on the deceased. The allocated amount varies depending on the profession or age of the latter. Moral damage concerns over world grandchildren, siblings or even uncles and cousins (but slightly lower for amounts) may also make their suffering
But while the victims of the crash is 17. different nationalities, moral damage, which can account for 40 000-50 000 euros in France, is valued very differently from one country to another: Germany does not even recognize it. Everyone therefore may not be housed in the same boat. Note that in the case of the crash of the A320, another element should be taken into account: the fact that passengers are reported on the fatal waiting for them when the captain tried in vain back in the cockpit. “The minutes that have elapsed from the time they became aware of the crash constitute harm anguish that is transmitted to the beneficiaries,” said Jean-Michel Bozon.
► Will there any trial?
“In almost every case, everything happens in through negotiations between insurers and families, “says MetroNews Stephane Gicquel, secretary general of the National Federation of victims of bombings and mass accidents. Airlines prefer indeed avoid bad publicity. The amounts allocated are then kept secret (we talked an average of € 1 million per victim in the case of Concorde crash). But in case of disagreement, the trial could be brought in many countries. The Germanwings A320 taking off from Barcelona to win Düsseldorf, families could indeed decide to attack Spain, Germany or in their country of residence (to do in France, they would need to have bought their ticket ).
► Will the insurers reimburse the costs of research?
The French government has made great ways to locate the aircraft and conduct on-site investigation. But it should not be able to present the note to insurers. “This is part of the public service mission of the French state in case of accidents on its territory,” said Jean-Michel Bonzom. The lawyer, however, considers that “exceptional costs”, as the road created to access the site, could “possibly” be borne by Germanwings.
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