The world watched anxiously as the search for Malaysia Air Flight MH370 ensued. It recently came to light in an announcement from the Malaysian government that the plane plunged into the Indian Ocean and, unfortunately, everyone on board had been tragically killed. However, questions surround the cause of this disastrous event lead to many legal implications.
With the many victims involved, it is expected that a substantial number of their families will look to bring forward legal claims. Similar to the Fatal Accidents Act in Alberta, which provides financial relief for the victims’ families in relation to such accidents that occur in this Province, there is an International Convention that will likely play a central role in obtaining compensation for the families of victims of MH370. This Convention, entitled the Montreal Convention, was established in 1999 and provides relief for victims of air disasters. Airlines are strictly liable for proven damages for up to a set amount, which is currently approximately $175,000.00 US.
While Malaysia Air is likely on the hook for this amount per passenger, it may be they attempt to determine if there was any mechanical faults in respect of the airplane. If Malaysia Air is able to show some form of defect to the plane that led to its downfall, the manufacturer of the plane could be also at fault. With the number of passengers and crew on board, there is a high probability that substantial litigation will arise, especially as the details of what occurred on Flight MH370 continue to emerge.