MH370 victim compensation deadline looms
10th Feb 2015
Families of victims of the MH370 disaster only have one more year in which to bring compensation claims against Malaysia Airlines before time runs out, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.
Australian Lawyers Alliance aviation spokesperson Joseph Wheeler said that under international law, victims’ families would forever lose the chance to claim compensation from Malaysia Airlines for the loss of their loved ones if they did not now act quickly and prudently.
Mr Wheeler urged families to get quality advice before considering any airline offer of compensation, and to not delay taking advice, as the process to be followed to claim could be time consuming and vary depending on each family’s particular situation.
Mr Wheeler spoke following the recent announcement by the Malaysian Government officially declaring the disappearance of Flight MH370 an accident. He said this announcement should simplify the compensation process for many families but doesn’t mean the search will now end.
“According to international law, the families of Australian victims of the MH370 disaster have until March 2016 to bring their claims against Malaysia Airlines, before those claims are lost altogether,” Mr Wheeler said.
“The Malaysian Government’s declaration is a timely reminder that MH370 victims’ families should now seriously consider their avenues of redress or risk losing them.
“Negotiating realistic levels of compensation following an incident such as this one can be unexpectedly time consuming, and require expert assistance,” Mr Wheeler said.
However, Mr Wheeler cautioned potential claimants not to rush into accepting any standardised offer of settlement, and to get good advice from a suitably qualified Australian aviation compensation specialist.
“While the Malaysian Government’s announcement was upsetting to many, it does not mean the search for the aircraft, and the search for answers to what happened will now stop. It also does not mean that Australian families must just accept whatever they are offered by the airline,” Mr Wheeler said.
“It is vital to get proper advice when considering important issues such as these as it will affect families’ financial futures. There is never a ‘good’ time to consider compensation, but there is certainly a time when it becomes too late or impractical to try.”