Crash victims' families reject Germanwings compensation offer

People stand near a stela commemorating the victims of the March 24 Germanwings Airbus A320 crash in the village of Le Vernet, southeastern France.
People stand near a stela commemorating the victims of the March 24 Germanwings Airbus A320 crash in the village of Le Vernet, southeastern France. PHOTO: AFP

FRANKFURT (REUTERS) - Some of the close relatives of those killed in the Germanwings plane crash in March have rejected the carrier's offer of €25,000 (S$37,000) in compensation payments for their pain and suffering.

A lawyer representing some of the German victims, Elmar Giemulla, said on Saturday he had notified Germanwings earlier this week in a letter that the offer was inadequate.

He added a low six-digit amount would be adequate compensation.

Germanwings, a unit of Lufthansa, was not immediately available to comment outside usual business hours.

Evidence shows co-pilot Andreas Lubitz locked the captain out of the cockpit of Germanwings flight 4U9525 from Barcelona to Duesseldorf and deliberately steered the plane into a remote mountainside, killing all 150 onboard.

The €25,000 offer is on top of €50,000 already paid as immediate financial assistance to relatives.

German law does not usually provide for a separate award for pain and suffering, unlike in the United States.

The proposed payout for emotional distress would be made to parents, widowed spouses, partners and children of the victims and does not require proof of damages incurred to be presented in order for it to be made, Germanwings said in June.

Relatives living in Germany may also claim an additional €10,000 each as compensation for any health problems without needing to offer formal proof, the company said.

Families of the victims still have the right to make further claims for other financial costs, such as burial costs or lost pensions, although this will require proof of damages incurred.