Wednesday, December 1

The Spanair catastrophe “was not a traffic accident”




The victims of the accident involving Spanair flight JK-5022 that crashed on August 20, 2008, leaving 154 dead and 18 survivors have asked the Supreme Court to raise a preliminary ruling question to the Superior Court of Justice of the European Union to rule on the treatment they have received from the Spanish justice system, where the compensation have been agreed based on the scale for traffic accidents despite being an aerial catastrophe.

In a letter to which ABC had access, the legal team representing the Association of those affected by Flight JK5022 explains that the Spanish courts have acted behind the back of European Union law, which clearly imposes that the assessment of damage in this type of accident must be carried out individually, taking into account the impact that the event has had on the person and their environment , in order to agree on a comprehensive repair not because a table says so, but in light of the evidence.

«Consequently, any model of generalized objectification of the damage is excluded. and, even more so, the use, as a possible reference parameter, of models or guiding indices for the assessment of damage made for specific risk sectors – occupational accidents, damages due to infringement of competition law or in the circulation of motor vehicles ), which present perfectly differentiated characteristics and in which the variable obligation to insure / probability of risk leads to a very different socialization of their costs ”, says the letter.

3% of the policy

But this has not worked like that in national territory, where despite the fact that the courts have applied in most cases an increase of 50% on the compensation set by that standard table for road accidents, the insurer has only finished disbursing 3% of the millionaire policy available, as explained by the lawyers.

“We are not asking for anything exorbitant, but rather amounts based on individual personal involvement, says lawyer Carlos Cotillas, from the Esteban Mestre law firm, to which three experts from CSC Abogados have joined for this matter.

He explains that what the victims are claiming would ultimately amount to between 7 and 10% of the amount of that policy, “a reasonable thing based on the particular damages suffered by each person.”

He gives an example that “the traffic scale treats all individuals equally and does not include particular circumstances”: “Many families have lost not just a relative, but two three and four on that plane and yet this greater damage is not contemplated, that is not compensated ». It is the reality of “practically all” of the Spanair victims represented by this office, as the brief explains to the Supreme Court.

The price of a life

“In that group are the parents of my niece,” tells ABC the president of the association, Pilar Vera. «It is unspeakable. There are no words for what it takes to put a price on a person’s life. My niece was 30 years old and there is no money to make up for that, but my priority is air safety. If insurers are forced to repair the damage caused to the victims, we will be ensuring that air safety is a priority.

Without hiding her indignation, Vera talks about “New grievance” to add to the long list of ailments of the relatives of those 154 deceased. He explains that in all these years, only the Provincial Court of Barcelona issued a sentence that rejected the traffic scale to calculate compensation and ended in cassation in the Supreme Court. In your opinion, this haggling is a “scam” because in the end, the contracted policy goes against the company’s income statement. And those of Spanair put the airline into bankruptcy.

“The victims they return to do a job that does not correspond to them, which is to give an instrument to the judges so that in the event of another air tragedy, that scale is not applied when it should not be applied, “he says.

However, for this to happen, the Supreme Court must first accept the request to raise that question for a preliminary ruling and the Court of Justice of the European Union, rule and agree with them. Spearhead is a survivor of tragedy, RV, on whose behalf the CJEU is specifically asked and to which the insurer has appealed the compensation asking that the loss of profits proven in the procedure, just over one million euros, “be replaced by the application of a mere abstract correction factor, and totally removed from reality.” It would mean reducing the compensation already awarded to an amount “less than even a third,” explains the letter from the lawyers.

But after him, everyone else goes. “It is a historic opportunity to repair damage and treat any victim of an air disaster for what it is. It is not a traffic accident ”, adds Vera.

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