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March 12, 2015 |


Over 70 passengers who were injured in an Asiana Airlines plane crash in San Francisco on July 6, 2013 have reached a settlement with the airline, the plane’s manufacturer, and the manufacturer of the inflatable evacuation slides that were in use on the plane at the time of the crash. According to a NewsBug report, the plane crash was the result of pilot error, although the NTSB also faulted the Chicago based airline manufacturer Boeing for overly confusing instructions regarding the auto-throttle system that was not enabled when the plane crashed into a wall at the end of the runway on the day of the crash.

The details of the settlement were not released. The three passengers who were killed in the crash, as well as most of the more seriously injured passengers, have filed separate lawsuits that have not yet settled. According to the article, there are still dozens of cases with nearly 70 plaintiffs that remain pending in Federal Court in Northern California.

Recovering After a Tragedy: Where to File Suit

When a tragic disaster like this plane crash occurs, it can be difficult for victims to know where to turn for help, especially when they are often seriously injured or grieving for the death of loved ones while trying to obtain financial relief from the effects of the accident. Accident and disaster victims often file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party and hope to obtain relief.

In a case like this one, where the defendants are from different states (Asiana Airlines is actually centered in South Korea), it can be difficult to know where and in which court to file a case. It could be possible to sue each individual defendant in the state court where their business is centered, and it could even be possible to sue the airline in its home country of Korea. Unfortunately, most personal injury or wrongful death plaintiffs do not have the desire or means to prosecute cases in California, New Jersey, Illinois, and South Korea at the same time.

Since this crash happened in California and involves companies that are involved in interstate (and international) commerce, lawsuits are best brought against all of the defendants in U.S. Federal Court in California. Federal courts have jurisdiction over matters that involve federal law or occur between plaintiffs and defendants who reside in different states. In the case of an international plane crash, the federal courts can assume jurisdiction over the case because interstate travel regulation is a federal matter, and furthermore most of the passengers are not residents of the United States. If a case may be brought in federal court, that does not mean it is forbidden from being brought in state court. Some cases could be brought in either court at the same time.

State courts and federal courts have small procedural differences and work in different ways. Some cases may be more successful if brought in state court, and some plaintiffs may fare better in federal court. It is important for an accident victim to file their case in the best jurisdiction to maximize the potential that they will be fairly compensated.

Have You Been Injured in an Illinois Accident?

The Chicago personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at the Cavanagh Sorich Law Group have an intricate knowledge of both state and federal laws and procedures, and we can give you the best advice on how to pursue your case. Our attorneys handle many types of personal injury and wrongful death cases, and we practice in both state and federal court. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in an accident, contact us to schedule a no-obligation consultation with an Illinois personal injury attorney today, or schedule a consultation through our website.

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