According to legal documents filed in a Chicago court on Wednesday, Boeing has reached an arrangement with the relatives of the 157 persons killed in the Ethiopian 737 MAX crash and has admitted responsibility for the crash.
“Boeing is committed to ensuring that all families who lost loved ones in the accidents are fully and fairly compensated for their loss,” the company said in a statement passed to AFP.
“By accepting responsibility, Boeing’s agreement with the families allows the parties to focus their efforts on determining the appropriate compensation for each family,” the aerospace giant said.
Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 to Nairobi crashed six minutes after takeoff southeast of the capital Addis Ababa on March 10, 2019.
After a 737 MAX operated by Lion Air crashed in Indonesia in October 2018, the disaster led in the grounding of the 737 MAX fleet and the largest crisis in the history of the American aircraft manufacturer.
The lead lawyers for victims’ families hailed the agreement as “historic” and a “significant milestone for the families in their pursuit of justice against Boeing.”
“It will ensure they are all treated equitably and eligible to recover full damages,” said lawyers Robert Clifford, Steven Marks and Justin Green in a statement.
The agreement announced on Wednesday did not specify monetary numbers, but stated that jurors would be responsible for determining compensation amounts based on the information provided.
Victims’ families will be able to file a lawsuit in US courts to seek compensation. There were 35 different countries represented among the 157 people that died.
“We extend our deepest condolences to the families of those lost on Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302,” Boeing said.
“Since the accidents, Boeing has made significant changes as a company, and to the design of the 737 MAX, to ensure that accidents like those never happen again,” it added.
A preliminary agreement will be ratified at a hearing next Tuesday in Chicago.
There will be mediations after that, but if those fail, each family will be entitled to bring their case to a jury for damages under Illinois law, which is where Chicago is located.