SQ006 Crash : Who is to Blame?

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Taiwanese Aviation Safety Council has released its factual reports on the SQ006 crash. This report can be viewed at the Safety Council's website at http://www.asc.gov.tw

For a copy of this report in English, contact the Nolan Law Group at 888-630-4000, or 312-630-4000, or Email Nolan Law Group.

Don Nolan Fox News Interview on SQ006

Dealing with Burn Injuries


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Hans Ephramson, Chairman of the American Association for Victims and Families of of Flight 007 is available to answer questions and provide advice. Email KAL007@CompuServe.com or phone 201-652-7050. Mr. Ephramson has a wealth of knowledge on pertinent issues.

http://siacrash.net An internet forum for discussion and support after the crash, from the family member of a person killed in a previous disaster.

Nolan Law Group currently represents over thirty victims and families of victims of the crash of Singapore Airlines Flight SQ006. Nolan Law Grouphas already filed lawsuits on behalf of victims. Click here for a copy of one complaint pending in the Northern District of California


Taiwan Cases May not be Limited by the Warsaw Convention. If the Warsaw Convention does not apply to those passengers with a round trip destination to Taiwan, the Convention's limitations on the jurisdictions in which a suit may be brought on behalf of such passengers will not apply. Click here for a detailed explanation. The 9th Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals in the case of Mingtai Fire and Marine Insurance Company v. UPS, has ruled that the Taiwan is not bound by the Provisions of the Warsaw Convention. Click here for the text of that opinion.

Who is to Blame? We are at this time providing you with the views of Kevin Darcy, former Chief Accident Investigator for Boeing. Says Darcy:

"Airline accidents are rarely the result of a single human error. Almost always they happen because of a combination of failures in multiple parts of the aviation system. Although the SQ006 investigation so far has focused on the actions of the flight crew, investigators will be looking at many issues for possible involvement in the accident." Click here for full text of Darcy's comments.

While it is still extremely premature to talk about compensation issues when so many lives have been so recently shattered, with the controversy surrounding Singapore Airlines' offer of $400,000 US to compensate the victims of the SQ006 crash, we are being asked to address these disturbing questions. No amount of money can replace the lives that have been lost and devastated by this crash. But a death or disability leaves an economic wake behind it, and the civil justice system is the only process to try to soften the impact of this tragedy.

The first step in assessing damages is to evaluate what injuries were suffered by the survivor, and what compensable losses were suffered by the family members of the decedent.

For a full treatment of damages, click here.

Burn Injuries. Amidst the confusion and the flames, emerges people who lives will be destroyed by the pain, disfigurement and disability that comes from burns. Perhaps nothing is as painful as a burn. Worse, their is no guarantee of survival from significant third degree burns, as the entire body is ravaged by this attack. The cardiovascular system is assaulted, severe dehydration will occur and hypothermia and infections can also prove deadly. And while great progress is being made in the world's great burn centers, even those who survive will face horrible disfigurement, years of plastic surgery and skin grafts and severe limitations in long term activities and employment. Click here for more information on burns.

But burns are certainly not the only injuries suffered. Our experience is that burn injuries often involve far more than the loss of skin and tissue. The bodies vital systems may also be involved and the brain is often damaged as a result of smoke inhalation, or cerebral oxygen or blood flow problems.

Head Injuries. Further, decelerating a jet in take off and the debris that accompanies a jet braking apart as this one did, can be expected to result in traumatic brain and other injuries as well. As is said in one of the leading treatises on head injuries:"Traumatic brain injury may also be overlooked in the face of more dramatic physical injury (eg, orthopedic or spinal cord injury)." American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine. With so many catastrophically burned and killed, significant brain injuries may have been missed. Click here for more on head injuries.

Emotional and Psychological Injuries. An airplane crash, because it occurs unexpectedly and without warning and because the terror and horror are particularly intense and inescapable, virtually always causes emotional and psychological injuries. This emotional impact is in all likelihood going to be severe enough to have an impact upon the survivors functioning and may actually result in disability. Psychiatrists have created a diagnostic criteria called Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) when these emotional injuries create lasting emotional problems. In fact, one study found that two percent of the survivors of a flood suffered PTSD while fully 100 percent of the survivors of an airplane crash suffered from this condition. Click here to learn more about PTSD.

Spinal Cord and Soft Tissue Injuries. Rapid deceleration is known to cause herniated disks, and other spinal cord problems, as well as disabling injuries to the connective tissue of the body. While these injuries could not realistically be expected to be the focus of the emergency medical personnel in this catastrophe, they may ultimately disable.

Wrongful Death Cases. In general, the surviving family members of one who is killed are entitled to recover substantial economic damages resulting because of the loss of the support and love and companionship of the decedent.

Justice. Attorney Donald J. Nolan warns that the insurance company for Singapore Airlines' offer of $400,000 US to families of those who died, is wholly inadequate to fully compensate the victims, and is far from generous. Click here for more on the adequacy of Singapore Airlines offer. The Taiwanese Government is apparently considering charges of negligence against the pilot, but not manslaughter. Certainly, the pilot did not intend to injure or kill people. What were the contributing causes of the crash? Current investigations are looking at the issue of runway lighting. Hopes for justice lie in the civil legal process, which because of the multi-national nature of international air flight, will require procedural, evidentiary and substantive experience and expertise. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions regarding the legal process to come.

The Warsaw Convention and What it Means. The Warsaw Convention treaty sets forth who an injured party or deceased's next-of-kin can sue, where they can sue and for how much. While it generally severely limits recoveries for survivors and those who died, it will likely not prevent the victims of Flight SQ006 from recovering their full damages. Click here for help understanding the legal process.

Causes. With the release of the black box voice recordings, it is clear that up to the moment of impact, that both Singapore Air's pilot, Captain Foong Chee Kong and the control tower were completely unaware that the 747-400 was taking off from a closed runway. For the perspective of an aviation expert, Kevin Darcy, as to the directions that the investigation will go now, click here.

  • Wrong Runway. The use of the wrong runway remains the central focus in the determination of cause of the crash. The airline certainly owes the duty of of highest care to its passengers and under the Warsaw Convention (IATA) is liable for full damages unless it has taken all reasonable measures to avoid the occurrence. Some have pointed out that fault may rest with others for not doing all that could be done to clearly and appropriately mark the closed runway, or warning the pilot that the plane was on the wrong runway. All of these and other issues, including survivability after the crash, need to and will be addressed in the investigation and litigation which will follow.
  • Weather. The issue of weather still is central to the investigation, as it almost certainly contributed to both the pilot and the control towers confusion as to what runway the jet was on. For a video of the typhoon on the day of the crash, click here.

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©2000 Attorney Donald J. Nolan, Nolan Law Group 312-630-4000