Saturday 24 March 2018

Mother awarded €68,000 in damages after son died in Air France disaster

Three Irish citizens died when an Air France jet crashed in the Atlantic in 2009
Three Irish citizens died when an Air France jet crashed in the Atlantic in 2009

Ann O'Loughlin

A MOTHER whose only child was among 228 people who died when an Air France plane crashed into the sea in one of the world's worst aviation disasters has been awarded nearly €68,000 in High Court damages.

Lidia Ivanova's 25-year old son Maksim was on flight AF447 which was en route from Rio deJaneiro to Paris when the aircraft crashed into the sea on June 1, 2009, killing all 228 people on board, including three young Irish doctors.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine awarded Ms Ivanova, a native of Estonia with an address in Swords, Co Dublin, some €68,000 arising from her son's death.

The judge said Air France had quite properly admitted liability in the matter, had apologised to Ms Ivanova for the anguish and distress experienced as a result of the loss of her only child and had already paid out €17,600.   

She was entitled to sue here as EU law provides a case like this can be taken in the country where one is resident.

Ms Ivanova, a ground operative with Aer Lingus, had come to Ireland in 2005 and her son joined her the following year.

As a result of her son's death, Ms Ivanova experienced tremendous sadness and upset plus the support her son used to give her in the course of her day to day activities.

While Ms Ivanova had received some professional support from within Aer Lingus, it was clear she had not yet come to terms with the death of her only child "to whom she appears to have been absolutely devoted", the judge said.

She hoped Ms Ivanova would eventually come to terms with what must have been "a catastrophic loss" for her as a lone parent, the judge said.

The judge noted the maximum sum that may be awarded for mental distress is €25,400 and said she was sure Mrs Ivanova would view that as "paltry" having regard to the effect  her son's death had on her life.

The judge awarded a total of €69,164 for loss of support, travel and holiday contributions, bringing the total award came to €94,562.

The judge said the value of the assets which passed to Ms Ivanova following her son's death, plus the monies already paid by Air France, must be deducted from the total, bringing the final award to €67,490.

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