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Wed, Jan 28, 2009

Passengers Hint At Future Lawsuits In Flight 1549

Man Says "He Would Like To Be Made Whole"

And so it begins. While "The Miracle on the Hudson" is gradually fading from the headlines, it appears clerks are toiling away in legal offices around the country to figure out who could be held legally liable in the incident under New York law, the depth of their pockets, and who'd get in line to collect.

Before we all blame the lawyers, though, it should be noted they may only be responding to passengers itching to sue US Airways for as-yet unknown damages.

USA Today found a salesman from Charlotte, NC who says he "...would like to be made whole for the incident." Joe Hart suffered a bloody nose and bruises in the water landing -- which, it should be noted, all 155 persons onboard survived -- and adds that it's too soon to know what emotional distress he's suffered.

Kreindler & Kreindler, a New York law firm with a history of representing plaintiffs suing for damages in aircraft incidents, reports it has been contacted by several passengers from US Airways flight 1549.

In addition to physical and emotional injuries, some passengers are saying their personal property on the stricken plane was worth more than the $3,300 the US Department of Transportation requires airlines to cover for checked bags. Some say they lost more than is covered by the $5,000 the airline has already mailed to each passenger.

So far, US Airways is getting kudos for reaching out to passengers, and at least not adding insult to injury.

Passenger and private pilot Fred Berretta suffered a small cut on his head during the landing, but says US Airways representatives have been in frequent touch, and that the $5,000 already sent covers the value of his lost personal items.

Amber Wells of Charlotte and her 9-month-old daughter, Rayley, were among those on the flight. She says she lost nursing equipment worth 2-thousand dollars, a laptop computer, a checked bag and her carry-on. The 34-year-old senior manager for NASCAR observes those things can all be replaced.

"My life cannot be replaced," she added.

Legal experts agree that if any of the passengers truly feel the need to sue, the $5,000 check will fall well short of what they'll seek in court.

(Image above by Gregory Lam)

FMI: www.usairways.com, www.kreindler.com

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