A settlement has been reached with the families of several individuals who died in the first plane crash linked to problems with the 737 Max aircraft, with Boeing reportedly agreeing to pay $1.2 million per family to resolve the claims.
Plaintiffs indicate that the Boeing settlement resolves 11 different wrongful death lawsuits filed against the air carrier following the crash of Lion Air Flight 610, which fell from the sky minutes into its flight from Jakarta, Indonesia on October 29, 2018.
According to various media reports, the settlements will involve payments of at least $1.2 million to the families of victims, but the agreement does not include an admission of wrong doing from Boeing.
Investigators have determined the pilots fought for 11 minutes to keep the plane in the air, likely due to a problem with the plane’s Angle of Attack (AOA) sensor, which kept telling an automated system, which the pilots could not shut off, to point the nose down.
Months later, another Boeing 737 Max plane crashed just minutes into its flight on March 10, killing all 157 passengers and crew on board Ethiopian Airline Flight 302.
After similarities were discovered between the two crashes, nations worldwide grounded Boeing’s entire 737 MAX fleet until further investigations into the crashes could be completed and any safety issues addressed. Investigators determined that conflicting AOA sensor data and the automated flight system’s efforts to address the perceived problem played significant roles in both accidents.
The U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have launched a criminal probe into the certification of the Boeing 737 MAX jet, in addition to ongoing investigations by the National Transportation Safety Board as well as French investigators.
Before these latest settlements, Boeing had already promised to pay $144,500 to the families of every victim of the two accidents from a $100 million compensation fund. Those who lost loved ones in the accidents have until December 31, 2019 to participate in the compensation fund. However, filing a claim with the fund does not negate their ability to pursue an individual lawsuit against Boeing.
Boeing still faces more than 50 additional lawsuits linked to both crashes in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The 737 MAX aircraft remains grounded worldwide.