Last updated: 01:56 PM ET, Tue August 11 2015

Germanwings Families Plan Lawsuit in US

Impacting Travel | Rich Thomaselli | August 11, 2015

Germanwings Families Plan Lawsuit in US

The families of the 150 passengers killed in the Germanwings crash in March will file a lawsuit against parent company Lufthansa – but will do so in the United States, where they can take advantage of more favorable laws regarding emotional damage, the German publication Bild am Sonntag reported.

An attorney for the families told the publication that the relatives and loved ones of the victims have rejected an offer of €25,000, or roughly $27,500 per passenger, as being too low. Lufthansa has already paid out $50,000 in immediate assistance to the families.

U.S. law allows for damages to be paid for emotional distress, an option not available under German law.

"We are preparing a lawsuit in the United States and see good chances for a place of jurisdiction there," Elmar Giemulla, a lawyer representing some of the victims, told Bild am Sonntag.

Germanwings declined to comment on the report.

"It's our concern that the relatives will as quickly as possible receive the compensation payments they are entitled to," the carrier said in a statement.

Much of the suit will depend on whether prosecutors can prove that Lubitz was suffering from depression yet was allowed to fly.

Prosecutors allege co-pilot Andreas Lubitz deliberately crashed Germanwings Flight 9525 into the side of the French Alps in March, killing all 150 onboard the flight from Barcelona to Dusseldorf. He apparently locked the pilot out of the cockpit when the captain got up to use the restroom, setting the plane on a slow, controlled descent to its fate.

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