The aftermath of the Malaysia Airlines crash in the Ukraine could consist of hundreds of millions of dollars in legal disputes and compensation claims. Because there are so many parties involved including, insurers, the airline, governments and the victim’s families, the variety of legal actions and claims that can be made is tremendous.
The lack of proof regarding who exactly is responsible for the crash also complicates things. Victims’ families could potentially seek out compensation from aviation authorities in both Malaysia and Holland. In addition, they could also find the airline or the Russian and Ukrainian governments liable for the crash.
While heading to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam, Malaysia Flight 17 was shot down while crossing over a war zone in Eastern Ukraine. The crash took 298 lives and is said to have been struck down missiles.
This has been a busy year for Malaysia Airlines as just months before this crash, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 seemingly vanished somewhere over the Southern Indian Ocean. Because the mystery behind the missing plane was never solved, insurers were forced to split the costs.
However with this crash, the pursuit of compensation is going to be a very long and stressful journey for the victims’ families as the circumstances of the tragedy are so complicated. Malaysia Airlines is required to provide the families with the initial compensation regardless of who’s responsible for the crash. However, the Montreal agreement sets the maximum payment per passenger at only US$170,000.
Even though it was a separate party that launched the missiles and took down the plane, Malaysia Airlines could be held liable for the crash by many people seeking compensation. This is due to the fact that most airlines were aware that the Ukraine was a dangerous warzone. In fact, two other planes had been shot down just the week before. In June, the UK Civil Aviation Authority issued a warning encouraging all airlines to avoid crossing through the Ukraine airspace.