Boeing is now the subject of numerous lawsuits after two of their new 737 Max 8 airplanes crashed within months of each other, killing a total of 346 people. These lawsuits allege that practices used to cut expenses led to inadequate safety measures that resulted in human lives being lost, for which Boeing is responsible. Boeing, one of the largest companies in the world is currently being sued along with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for negligence.
People have been dreaming of flight since the age of antiquity. Often used in ancient myths to represent freedom, like in the Greek myth of Daedalus and Icarus where a father and son built wings to fly from their prison window to liberty, flight symbolizes freedom and the ability to pursue lofty goals. But flying— even in myths— can come with hefty consequences when you ignore safety. Icarus, in his youth and exuberance, flew too close to the sun and melted the wax holding his wings together causing him to plummet to the ground. Boeing’s 737 Max 8s have been experiencing similar difficulties recently due to what many conjecture were careless and irresponsible practices to cut fuel & training costs combined with a lack of regulation.
The Boeing 737 Max 8 was a redesigned 737 model meant to maximize fuel efficiency. In order to achieve this goal, engineers at Boeing moved the position of the engines further back and higher up on the aircraft. These positional changes led to an increase in nose-lift, which pilots would not be used to. Rather than retraining their pilots to compensate for the extra lift, Boeing designed a safeguard system called MCAS (an anti-stall system) to point the nose of the aircraft down if a sensor detected that the nose of the aircraft was pointed too far into the air.
Rather than correcting the problem, the new flight-control software is reported to have had sensor errors that would point the nose towards the ground when the plane was in a controlled flight. This issue is what is believed to have resulted in the two crashes that pushed governments and Boeing to ground the Boeing 737 Max 8s and Boeing to halt production of their top-selling plane.
One of the lawsuits, brought on behalf of an Illinois victim’s estate is taking Boeing to task for designing a flawed system and failing to warn pilots of the effect as well as the FAA for negligence in certifying the aircraft by delegating too much responsibility to Boeing and failing to require the necessary safeguards outlined in their own protocols.
Another lawsuit from the families of the Indonesian passengers who perished on the Lion Air crash in October asserts that the families of the victims deserve compensation for wrongful death. One woman whose husband died in the crash explained that families who refused to sign a “release and discharge” document stripping their rights to sue Lion Air, Boeing or their associates were unable to receive the $85,000 wrongful death compensation they are entitled to in Indonesia.
Companies like Boeing rely on insurance companies with deep pockets to protect them from liability. There are many tactics insurance companies use to avoid admitting culpability. Often, the most harmful tactics for plaintiffs who are struggling with injuries or a crippled income are delay tactics used to force a cash-strapped plaintiff to settle for less than he or she deserves. This is where pre-settlement funding can be a life-saver for a lawsuit plaintiff.
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