A Brazilian court recently awarded US$ 1.2 million to the family of a passenger on the Air France plane that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off Brazil last year.  Air France’s insurers, led by AXA, reportedly intend to appeal the decision.

On June 1, 2009, Flight 447 from Rio de Janeiro to Paris crashed into the ocean.  All 228 passengers and crew were killed. The cause of the crash has not yet been established because the plane’s black boxes are still missing. The search for the missing black boxes, which is entering its third phase at an expected cost of US$ 13.73 million, is expected to resume later this week.

Although the investigation is ongoing, a Brazilian court recently ordered Air France to pay a US$ 1.16 million award to the family of Marcelle Valpacos Fonseca Lima, who was a state attorney general at the time of her death. The judge concluded in his ruling that, while the cause of the crash remains unclear, it was largely due to the negligent conduct of Air France.

According to media reports, Air France’s insurers, led by AXA, intend to appeal the decision.  The insurers’ position reportedly is that compensation for the victim’s families should not be decided by a court but by a specially-created committee of government officials, associations of victims’ families and insurers tasked with identifying criteria to determine fair compensation for each victim’s family.

If you have any questions about the Brazilian court system or insurance coverage for aviation claims, please click the “Email the Editor” button and provide your contact information for follow-up by an EAPD attorney.