Passengers to sue Southwest Airlines?

Everyone by now has heard the horrific story last week of how a passenger died during a flight on Southwest airlines, when the engine blew apart, and caused serious damage to the aircraft while in flight. The woman was nearly sucked out of the window, and passengers helped keep her inside the plan. However the injuries sustained were severe enough that the woman didn’t survive. Other passengers were also hurt in the incident.

Certainly the pilots deserve credit for saving the plane and avoiding a crash that perhaps could have killed all on board. It doesn’t alleviate however, that passengers injured as a result or the victim’s survivors may not decide to sue Southwest airlines for what happened.

Southwest airlines is most likely facing millions of dollars in legal damages for what occurred in flight 1380. What happened last week is that during a flight from  New York to Dallas, an engine suddenly blew apart, firing shrapnel along the fuselage and smashing a window. The pilots engaged in a heroic effort in safely landing the plane in Philadelphia, but  Jennifer Riordan died as a result, and seven were injured. Many of the other passengers on board certainly have suffered an emotional and traumatic event that will follow them the rest of their lives.

Southwest is responsible for maintaining its’ aircraft and if there was a problem with one of the engines, they can be held liable.

The National Transit Safety Board is investigating the accident. The engine inspections of all Southwest aircraft will be a critical key in determining what went wrong. The NTSB is focusing on metal fatigue on a fan blade that broke in the jet engine. Last year, Southwest Airlines objected to a recommendation by the engine manufacturer to require ultrasonic inspections of the jet engines within twelve months, indicating it needed more time to complete the process.

Potential damages involving  the death of Jennifer Riordan, could rise to eight figures. The passengers who were not physically injured, but were on board, may be compensated to the amount of $250,000 each.

For those passengers injured, it is difficult to prognosticate on how they are to be compensated, depending on the severity of their injuries, how long it takes to heal, what the size of their medical bills may be, and if they suffer any long term disability.

Lawyers must generally wait 45 days before approaching passengers involved in aviation accidents.



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