Aviation Attorneys Advice for Victims

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1 HERRMANN SCHOLBE Aviation Attorneys Advice for Victims These materials are provided to help victims understand challenges you will face and the assistance you will need to receive just compensation. Prepared by: HERRMANN SCHOLBE Charles Herrmann John Scholbe Attorneys at Law Preliminary Our hearts go out in sympathy for all of the victims of the horrific crash of Asiana Airlines Flight # OZ 214 at San Francisco on July 7, Having spent literally decades

2 representing victims of air crash cases, we know the sense of sorrow, shock and trauma you re experiencing. You have our sincere condolences. Herrmann Scholbe has been representing victims of major air crashes for literally decades. No law firm can match our proven track record in representing Chinese and Koreans in major disaster cases. You need the right professional lawyers on your side in order to receive the just compensation you deserve. See our record on our website at: Many victims of air disasters and members of their families need advice concerning their legal rights and how they should go about enforcing them. At the outset, you should understand that there are many complex issues presented by any particular case. Whole books have been written on these subjects. It is impossible to provide a complete explanation in just a few pages. Further, the answers to some questions are a matter of opinion and subject to much argument. Finally, at the beginning of any given case we obviously do not have available a large portion of the evidence that will we will have once our investigation is complete. Without this evidence, we can only make educated guesses as to the answer to many of the questions. With this understanding, we will do our best to provide you with a meaningful summary of the general issues involved in air crash case. MOST IMPORTANT. This is a complicated case. Many of its aspects are discussed in what follows. However, experience has taught us that victims should be apprised of four (4) things immediately, otherwise their legal claims for compensation can suffer irreversible damage. They are: 1. Do NOT discuss your injuries or settlement with representatives of Asiana Airlines or especially anyone from their insurance company. They may seem sympathetic and helpful, but the harsh truth is that their job is to minimize your claim to protect themselves as well as they can; 2. Keep photos you may have of the accident scene and take many graphic photos of your physical injuries, in the hospital or after you been discharged. Close ups with a reasonably high quality digital camera is best. Later photos do not accurately reflect how severe they were immediately following the accident; 3. Keep records of all medical treatment and all expenses you or your family members have incurred as a result of an accident; and, 4. All victims need USA lawyers - highly skilled personal injury trial lawyers experienced in not only air disaster cases, but also in representing Asians in U.S. courts. Korean victims will be far better served by American lawyers familiar with the Korean culture. Secure a lawyer as soon as possible. The quicker lawyers are able to start working on your behalf, the more effective they can be. 1. Facts: The Cause of This Accident. It is far too early to jump to firm conclusions as what caused this accident. While many pertinent facts are already known, the painstaking investigation already in progress will most likely take, at a minimum, several months to complete. At this point, we can only make educated but preliminary guesses on a few points. First, we know that because of construction, the Glide Slope instrumentation at the San Francisco airport was not functioning at the time of this accident. The Glide Slope instrumentation sends a signal to the aircraft providing the exact angle of dissent in its approach to the runway. Without it the pilots must rely far more on their ability to visually see the runway upon terrain below. The procedures are differently established under what is termed Visual Flight Rules (VFR). Then we also know that the Asiana pilot was relatively inexperienced in flying a Boeing 777 aircraft (43 hours). In addition this was his first landing at San Francisco airport. He did Page 2 of 9

3 however have a much more experienced pilot assisting him in the cockpit; but even he had been certified as a trainer a mere 3 weeks previously. By themselves, these fact prove very little. However, when we add known facts that the plane s approach was obviously far too slow, 123 mph instead of 158 mph - and far too low, they nearly landed in the water, then the cause of this accident begins to take shape. It has now been reported that the pilots claim that the Boeing plane s auto-throttle malfunctioned by failing to keep the air craft s speed where the crew had set. The autothrottle is somewhat similar to a car s cruise control; keeping a constant speed when set and working properly. If this proves true, while it doesn t excuse the crew, it is a solid indication of equipment failure, which could form the basis of a case against Boeing. At this point, we have no other information that would specifically indicate the absence or failure of any other essential equipment. Still, these facts beg the questions of why the plane s approach was so slow and so low, and perhaps as equally important: why didn t the air traffic control (ATC) warn the pilots. The ATC certainly has the means to both detect the dangerous approach and obviously to warn the pilots. All these questions present lines of inquiry to be pursued in the ongoing investigation. Generally speaking, there are three entities we always examine very closely in investigating the cause of an air crash. First, the airlines, its crew, maintenance and management. Second, the equipment, the aircraft and its subcomponents especially those parts supplying power, guidance and safety warnings. In this case, they are Asiana, Boeing, and U.S. Government Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). We conclude this very preliminary summary with stating that most often there are a number of errors or failures that tragically come together simultaneously to cause most air crashes. It is usually not just one single cause. However, in this accident we have virtually the entire airplane available to examine. The critical Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) and Flight Data Recorder (FDR) commonly called Black Box were both recovered intact. Videos and photos of the actual crash, as well as the immediate aftermath and evacuation, are available. Plus the entire crew survived as well as almost all of the passengers. We have many eyewitnesses. We have virtually everything. All the causes will be known by the time the investigations are completed. 2. Law: Claims for Compensation. Fortunately for all passengers, all countries of their citizenship, the home of Asiana Airlines, Boeing, and the U.S. Government are signatories to the more modern international treaty Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air (Montreal). Korea, China, Japan and the United States have all signed Montreal. Fault: Montreal governs all passenger claims against Asiana Airlines. Perhaps the first thing victims should be made aware of is that this treaty provides each passenger injured in an accident on an international flight with compensation for the full amount of their injuries including out of pocket expenses, loss of income, physical injury and resulting emotional trauma. There is no requirement to prove fault on the part of the airlines or any other entity involved in the accident. However, if the airlines can affirmatively prove no negligence on its part or any of its personnel, it may escape liability for any amount of compensation above 113,100 Special Drawing Rights (SDRs). SDRs are a fluctuating mix of currency values established by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) currently (7/10/13) valued at $168, U.S. Dollars. So, to be clear, passenger victims are unequivocally entitled to receive full compensation for their injuries up to currently $168K U.S. Dollars. For those injured more severely of for those who tragically died in this crash, proof of any negligence on the part of the airlines will entitle them to full compensation, no matter how high that may be. Page 3 of 9

4 Jurisdiction: Montreal 1999 further controls where, in what country, they may bring a lawsuit to receive their compensation from Asiana Airlines. They are in plain language: 1. Country of Registration of the Airlines Korea; 2. Principal place of business of the airlines Korea; 3. Country in which the ticket was purchased; 4. Country of the final destination on the ticket; and, 5. Country in which the passenger principally & permanently resides. Note: The country where the accident occurred USA - is NOT one of the listed countries. For instance, a passenger living in China who bought his/her ticket in China, which was round trip back to China (final destination on ticket), would have two choices as to where to bring a lawsuit against Asiana Airlines: China or Korea. Not the USA. Likewise, a passenger living in Korea who bought his/her ticket in Korea, which was round trip back to Korea (final destination on ticket), would have only one choice as to where to bring a lawsuit against Asiana Airlines: Korea, again not the USA. However, those passengers who were regularly living in the USA, bought their ticket in the USA, or whose final destination on their ticket was the USA can all present a claim against Asiana in the courts of the USA. Any of those circumstances would be sufficient to bring a case against Asiana in the USA. At this point, all passenger victims should realize that the standards for amounts of compensation in U.S. courts have historically been far higher than in the courts of China, Korea, and Japan. To the contrary, if it proves out that either the ground control (ATC) at the airport and/or the equipment manufacturers (Boeing) are at least partially at fault in this accident, then every person onboard the plane including the crew would have good claims for the full amount of all their damages in the courts of the USA. AMOUNT OF COMPENSATION. Issues of the amount of compensation are unique to each individual victim. Survivor s claims involve the nature and extent of their injuries, their pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement, medical bills, loss of income as well as other physical injuries they may have sustained. All of them, whether they sustained severe physical injuries or not, have experienced an intense psychological and emotional trauma that may take them much time to overcome, even with professional counseling. Again, we thoroughly develop and professionally present all aspects of our clients cases. Only then can we properly and finally advise you as to a professional evaluation of your individual claim. For the families of those who died, the loss is immeasurable. The loss of love and affection, companionship, support and all other financial losses can amount to substantial sums of money depending upon family relationships, age of the victim, actual and potential earnings. A great many factors go into calculating the just amount for a particular victim. We will fully prepare each and every aspect of your case, utilizing experts whenever necessary, to maximize your just claim. In the past on other cases we ve recovered compensation sometimes for as much as several millions of dollars in both survivor and wrongful death cases. You may want to look at our record as to amounts we have been able to recover for victims of disaster accidents. See our record on our website at: However, we want to be clear that past results do not guarantee any particular future recovery for different victims in a different accident. We invite all passengers to contact us for a totally free, personal, and private consultation. Chinese may contact Holly Li on her cell: or her Koreans: Julie Hwang Herrmann on her cell: or Anyone may also contact Charles Herrmann on his cell: or his Finally, our Seattle office phone is Page 4 of 9

5 HERRMANN SCHOLBE Firm Record HERRMANN SCHOLBE has been continuously representing victims of disaster accident cases for the last 30 years. Our record of successful results speaks for itself. We have recovered over $185 million U.S. dollars for our clients. Here is a brief listing of our disaster accident recoveries since 1983: KAL 007: In 1983 a Soviet MIG shot down Korean Air flight KAL 007 after it had wandered off course deep into Soviet territory during its flight from New York to Seoul, Korea. History records this incident as second closest the USA and the Soviet Union came to starting World War III, behind only the Cuban Missile crisis. After interviewing numerous U.S. law firms, the families of 89 out of the 102 Koreans who died in this disaster chose HERRMANN SCHOLBE to represent them. Charles Herrmann s role in winning the case was portrayed in the HBO movie Tailspin and featured in the book Death of Flight 007. Arrow Air: In 1985, a charter flight of Arrow Air carrying 256 members of the U.S. Army 101 st Airborne Division and crew from Cairo, Egypt to Ft. Campbell, Kentucky in the USA. Shortly after takeoff at the airport in Gander, Newfoundland, Canada the plane crashed and burst into flames, killing everyone aboard. The parents of our only hometown trooper chose our firm to represent them. KE 801: In 1997, Korean Airlines crashed its flight KE 801 into Nimitz Hill while trying to land at Agana, Guam in bad weather. Approximately half of the passengers survived the initial impact only to burn to death in the ensuing fire. There were a handful of survivors. The victims came together to form a group, selected a committee and elected a chairman. They in turn screened all the U.S. aviation firms until they selected 10 firms to make presentations to all victims. After the presentations were completed, 56 families (over half) chose our firm to represent them. The second biggest group any law firm had was 14. We proceeded to recover in excess of $92,000, for our clients. CI 611: In 2002, China Airlines flight CI 611 disintegrated over the Straight of Taiwan during a flight from Taipei, Taiwan to Hong Kong, China. Our investigation revealed that the plane came apart as a result of faulty repairs at the direction of Boeing, the company that had built the plane. All people on board were killed. Like the Koreans, the Taiwanese came together to form a group to interview all the U.S. lawyers interested in representing them. All but a handful of the victims chose our law firm to represent them; recovering in excess of $26 million U.S. dollars. CA 129: Also in 2002, China Air flight CA 129 starting in Beijing crashed into a mountain while attempting to land at the Gim Hae airport near Busan, Korea. 86 of the 97 victims who brought suit chose us to represent them. The case was concluded before the Supreme Court of Korea and we obtained a judgment several times the amount that Korean courts have traditionally awarded for wrongful deaths and personal injuries totaling more than $23 Million. NTPS: In 2003, a Korean Air Force Major was selected to attend a highly specialized course at the National Test Pilot School near Rosamond, California. In his first training flight with an instructor, the plane crashed killing both men. We are particularly proud of the fact that the incident landed on the Korean Air Force Attaché s desk at the Korean Embassy in Washington D.C. where he proceeded to conduct a meticulous survey of U.S. aviation firms. He made the final decision to refer that deceased Major s widow to our firm. We collected $4,000, for his family. TA 390: In 2008, TACA Airlines flight TA 390 ran off the runway while attempting to land at the airport in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. We have filed the first lawsuit in the USA on behalf of several of our Honduran clients. We now represent a total of 33 victims of this accident including both passengers and people on the ground. In keeping with our firm s tradition, we are first and have the most. Five survivor cases filed in the USA have been settled for as much as $1,750, The remaining cases are currently being litigated in Honduras and El Salvador. Page 5 of 9

6 Here is an itemized list: # Flight Description Recovery U.S. $ 1 KAL year-old married businessman $10,000, KAL year-old retired man & wife $1,575, KAL year-old cruise ship purser $2,275, KAL year-old housewife & 2 children $2,225, KAL year-old student $575, KAL year-old student $575, KAL year-old divorced travel agent $575, KAL year-old businessman $3,275, KAL 007 (78) - Koreans combined $7,700, Arrow Air 19-year-old single soldier $650, KE year-old executive $2,000, KE year-old married businessman $2,586, KE year-old retired single tax officer $825, KE year-old housewife $1,500, KE year-old single clinic manager $750, KE year-old married school teacher $2,185, KE year-old single businessman $1,500, KE year-old female college student $825, KE year-old single computer tech. $825, KE year-old survivor $3,500, KE year-old married businessman $2,500, KE year-old married businessman $2,000, KE year-old married businesswoman $2,600, KE year-old single businesswoman $2,500, KE year-old lawyer & 9-year-old son $3,000, KE year-old married businessman $6,250, KE year-old single travel agent $750, KE year-old housewife survivor $5,500, KE year-old single executive survivor $850, KE year-old high school student $850, KE year-old single physician $1,700, KE year-old student $850, KE year-old married executive $1,500, KE year-old survivor $2,550, KE year-old survivor $3,500, KE year-old single technician $750, KE year-old widow $750, KE year-old married businessman $3,200, KE year-old single female model $750, Page 6 of 9

7 120 KE year-old married businessman $2,375, KE year-old female computer tech $4,650, KE 801 (26) Partial cases combined $30,000, CI year-old restaurateur $3,500, CI year-old businessman $3,265, CI 611 (59) - Taiwanese combined $26,375, CA 129 (86) Koreans Combined $22,360, NTPS 38-year-old Air Force Major $4,000, TA year-old Business woman $1,750, TA year-old Secretary $300, TA year-old Attorney $90, TA year-old Construction owner $90, TA year-old Government employee $90, TOTAL $185,366, OUR ATTORNEYS Charles Herrmann is an owner and the senior litigator in our disaster accident department. A Vietnam veteran, he left the army a Captain after serving as an Engineer Advisor with the 5 th Vietnamese Ranger Group. Returning home, he won the Dean s Medal for Legal Argument at Gonzaga University School of Law where he graduated in He then began his legal career as a Pierce County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney. He then went into private practice with his father, Former Senator and Insurance Commissioner Karl Herrmann, to concentrate in the area of personal injury. Charles gained an international reputation for his part in the litigation that arose out of the controversial shoot down of Korean Air Lines flight KAL 007 by the Soviet Union over Sakhalin Island in He represented 89 families of the victims. After secret and lengthy negotiations in Korea, Herrmann was able to secure the testimony of another Korean Air Lines 747 pilot - that literally cracked the case. His role was portrayed in the HBO movie Tailspin and featured in the definitive book on the case Death of Flight 007. He eventually recovered $10 million dollars for one family alone and millions more for the rest of his clients. Herrmann then led the firm in recovering in excess of $92 million dollars for 56 families of the victims of the crash of Korean Air flight KE 801 on August 6, 1997 near Agana, Guam. Further, he recovered $4 million dollars for the family of a Korean Air Force Major killed in a tragic accident at the National Test Pilot School in California. He concluded cases before the Korean courts for 86 victims in the crash of Air China flight CA 129 that crashed while attempting to land at the Gim Hae airport near Busan in the spring of 2002 as Korea hosted the World Cup. Currently, Charles is leading an international team of lawyers representing 33 victims of the crash of TACA flight 390 that overshot the runway while attempting to land at Tegucigalpa, Honduras in May of Five survivor cases filed in the USA have been settled for as much as $1,750, The remaining cases are currently being litigated in Honduras and El Salvador. He takes great pride in the firm s tradition of representing the average person, the little guy, against airlines, transportation companies, governments, Lloyds of London, and other giants of the insurance industry. Page 7 of 9

8 John Scholbe is an owner and the chief litigation attorney for the HERRMANN SCHOLBE Seattle office. John graduated from the University of Washington in 1996 with a Degree in English. He then graduated from Seattle University with a Juris Doctorate Degree in 1999 and accepted a job with the Federal Way Public Defender s office. After establishing himself as a formidable trial attorney in the criminal defense arena, John joined HERRMANN SCHOLBE to commence practice in the areas of wrongful death and personal injury. John assumed a pivotal role in the recovery for the wrongful death of a Korean Air Force Major against the National Test Pilot School in California and is now working closely with Charles Herrmann on TACA Flight 390 cases pending in Central America and in which the firm has already recovered millions for 5 cases brought in the USA. His current practice includes wrongful death cases arising out of aviation disasters, admiralty accidents and auto accidents. Lara Herrmann is an owner and senior attorney at HERRMANN SCHOLBE, spearheading the negotiation and pre-litigation department for both the Seattle and Tacoma offices. A human rights and environmental activist at heart, Lara s passion is the inspirational force behind her ability to champion her clients with integrity and dedication when they have suffered an injury or loss. This passion, combined with her acute knowledge of legal theory and strategy, have provided her with solid expertise in the personal injury field, including motor-vehicle collisions, wrongful death, international aviation disasters, and a variety of other injury cases. Lara has also held leadership positions with Washington Women Lawyers, is the founder and chair of the annual Women of the Year award. She won the Seattle University School of Law Women s Law Caucus First Annual Alumni Service Award in 2005 and has been chosen three times as a Rising Star by Washington Law & Politics, for which only 2.5% of the attorneys in Washington are selected based on peer recognition and professional achievements. Page 8 of 9

9 Karl Herrmann ( ) founded HERRMANN SCHOLBE in President Lyndon B. Johnson congratulates Karl Herrmann on the passage of federal insurance law protecting people from the abuses of insurance companies. Karl was first elected to the Washington State Senate in 1956 where he was immediately appointed chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions and Insurance. He later chaired a Special Joint Interim Committee on Insurance that catapulted him to election as the Washington State Insurance Commissioner in Because of his tough pro-consumer stance against insurance companies, the people reelected him in 1972 by such a wide margin that he set the record as the first person in the history of the State of Washington to receive a million votes. Among his many accomplishments, he created Personal Injury Protection (PIP) which is vital to people who have been injured in auto accidents. He also led Washington to become the first state in the nation to create a guaranty fund that pays policy holders when an insurance company goes bankrupt. He was also instrumental in extending medical insurance coverage to chiropractors and to drug and alcohol treatment centers during his tenures in public office. He gained national recognition spearheading national insurance legislation when President Lyndon B. Johnson awarded him the first pen he used to sign new consumer legislation. It is Karl Herrmann s principles in championing the rights of injured people that HERRMANN SCHOLBE is proud to carry on in our practice today. Page 9 of 9

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