Our reaction to the most recent press reports about the Essen lawsuit for higher pain and suffering compensation
Whether the letters from Lufthansa were a statement to the Essen district court or to the plaintiff survivors eludes our knowledge. The fact is that on 12 and 13 August 2019 there were extensive press releases by the leading media on this topic. The letter from Lufthansa suggests that the passengers were not aware of the eventual crash and thus would not have experienced any fear of dying. Instead, they claim that the passengers would have experienced the event as a normal descent.
Would Lufthansa have us believe that during the captain’s alleged absence from the cockpit he would have interpreted such a descent in same way? After all, this absence took five minutes until the first six knocking sounds recorded by the cockpit voice recorder (from 09.30 to 09.35, according to the BEA report).
It is not proven and so is only assumed that the captain had gone the toilet, and it is also not proven that it was he who knocked on the cockpit door (it might well have been a flight attendant), since there are no video recordings from in front of the cockpit door.
Another scenario: The Germanwings aircraft had no visual barrier (i.e., a curtain) blocking the view of the area immediately in front of the cockpit door. Thus, passengers would have easily witnessed what was occurring at the cockpit door. Then one would suspect that at least some passengers would have made pictures or videos of the events with mobile phones or cameras. In this case, there would be documented evidence of what was happening in the aircraft and, combined with the descent, passengers would likely have guessed and feared an impending crash and their deaths.
According to the information provided by victims’ lawyers, these devices were returned to the relatives with all images deleted, thus removing possibly critical evidence …
Now, in the autumn of 2019, a hearing will be held before the district court of Essen concerning the claims for compensation of the survivors. The payment amount should be based on the suffering of the passengers in the last few minutes before the fatal crash of the Germanwings aircraft.
In order to reach a fair judgment, the judges of the district court of Essen would actually have to demand and review the cockpit voice recorder as necessary evidence, but even more vital would be the images and video recordings from the mobile devices and cameras, provided they are available from the investigating authorities.
Pain and suffering compensation – an elastic term. Does money cure pain at all?
What role does the amount play?…