US judge awards CAL crash survivor US$272,000

A US federal judge has ordered Caribbean Airlines (CAL)  to pay about US$272,000 in damages to a Connecticut , US woman injured in a plane crash at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Timehri in 2011.

According to the Associated Press, Judge Michael Shea in Hartford ruled on Tuesday that Caribbean Airlines was responsible for the injuries of  Indrawatie Shiwbodh. The decision came in Shiwbodh’s lawsuit against the airline and after a non-jury trial before Shea, the report said. Lawsuits by other passengers were settled, and Shiwbodh’s case was the only one to go to trial.

Shiwbodh, 47, was among 157 passengers and six crew members on a Boeing 737-800 that overshot the runway and broke in half.  There was no fatality  but dozens of people were injured.

Investigators concluded that coordination between the captain and co-pilot broke down as the plane landed and that the pilots failed to reduce excess power during landing and did not use the plane’s full deceleration power.

Documents in Shiwbodh’s court case say her head struck the seat in front of her, causing a laceration to her forehead that required several stitches. While getting out of the wreck, she had to jump off a wing about 12 feet above the ground, aggravating a lower back injury and hurting her right knee and right ankle, the documents say.

Shiwbodh had sought nearly US$2 million for medical bills, past and future lost wages and pain and suffering. Her lawyer, Steven Jacobs, said yesterday that he and Shiwbodh are disappointed with the award amount and are considering an appeal.

The report said that the airline’s lawyers — John Maggio, Zachary Groendyk and Vincent Marino — said the airline conceded it was liable to pay damages, but disputed the extent of the injuries claimed by Shiwbodh.

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