Aviation lawyers believe that the families of victims in Tuesday's Germanwings plane crash may be able to seek unlimited liabilities from Lufthansa, Germanwings' parent company.
Investigators said Thursday that Andreas Lubitz, the plane's co-pilot, was likely to have intentionally crashed the plane into the French Alps, killing all 150 people on board. Investigators also believe Lubitz locked the pilot out of the cockpit.
"The liability for the victims would be uncapped," George Leloudas, an aviation law expert, told Bloomberg. "From the perspective of the airline, it's difficult. There are no real defenses that you can use. It is irrational. That is why you buy insurance."
Bloomberg notes that under the international Montreal Convention, coverage for the victims' families will likely begin at $139,000. Kevin Durkin, an air crash attorney at Clifford Law Offices in Chicago, told Bloomberg that the convention "does not limit a person's recovery," and the claimants may be able to seek more.
In that case, "the burden is on Germanwings to prove that some entity other than it was the only cause of the occurrence," Bloomberg explains. James Healy-Pratt, an aviation lawyer at London's Stewarts Law LLP, told Bloomberg that Germanwings may be insured for up to $1 billion.