Glasgow EC135 – Lawyers describe Bond compensation offer “wholly inadequate”

Glasgow EC135 – Lawyers describe Bond compensation offer “wholly inadequate”

30-May-2014 Source: Irwin Mitchell editor note – The press release below from Irwin Mitchell is followed by a response from Bond Air Services, requested by the team

Lawyers representing families who lost loved ones in The Clutha helicopter crash six months ago have described the initial offers of compensation from the company responsible for operating the aircraft as ‘wholly inadequate’, and revealed their continued determination to gain justice for their clients.

Irwin Mitchell Scotland represents 17 people in relation to the incident, when ten people died and many others were injured after a Bond Aviation Group-operated police helicopter crashed into The Clutha Pub in Glasgow on November 29th.

The law firm has now confirmed that offers received from Bond in relation to the fatal cases have been rejected, but revealed its intention to continue fighting  to ensure its clients are properly provided for.

In the six months since the tragedy, the specialist lawyers have worked tirelessly to provide support to the victims of the crash including:

  • Negotiating with Bond Aviation Group from the earliest possible stage to secure interim payments for injured victims and to arrange specialist support for them
  • Investigating the full extent of injuries to ensure victims get the justice they deserve
  • Securing financial offers from Bond Aviation Group in relation to the fatal cases
  • Collaborating with Irwin Mitchell’s Expert Aviation Law team and writing to both the UK and Scottish Parliaments to urge them to consider a public inquiry into commercial helicopter safety in an effort to prevent future tragedies.

Elaine Russell, the Partner at Irwin Mitchell Scotland’s Glasgow office who is representing the victims of the incident, said:
Elaine Russell The Clutha tragedy shocked and united the city like never before. All of those we represent are continuing to work to try and come to terms with what happened on that fateful day, while our work on their behalf also continues to push forward.

“While no amount of money will ever undo the tragedy, we believe the offers made by Bond’s legal representation to the families of those who lost loved ones in the tragedy are inadequate and do not take account of the circumstances of this terrible tragedy

“We have further discussions planned with Bond’s representatives to review the situation regarding the survivors and are determined to ensure that all of those we represent will get access to the support many of them continue to need months on from the crash.

“All of those we act for have had their lives completely changed by this incident, so it is only fair they get the justice they deserve after everything they have been through.”

Elaine Russell added that there remains much appetite for answers regarding the crash, with the only official update released so far being an Air Accident Investigation Branch special bulletin which indicates that both engines lost power due to fuel starvation. However, the full chain of events that caused this to happen has not yet been determined.

She added:
Elaine Russell The lack of further information regarding the crash since the AAIB special bulletin is disappointing, particularly with our clients being so keen for answers and reassurances that safety improvements will be made where possible.

“We remain of the mind that the use of black-box recording equipment – such as flight data and cockpit voice recorders – could have made a huge difference in a crash of this kind, particularly allowing investigators access to key data regarding the sequence of events leading up to the incident.

“The use of such equipment would mean that high-quality data is available at an earlier opportunity, potentially meaning that victims would be spared a significant wait for answers regarding the ordeals that they and their loved ones had faced. This is why we remain convinced that a change in regulations is necessary to ensure such equipment is standard on all commercial passenger carrying helicopter operating in UK airspace.”

As well as acting for victims of the Clutha tragedy, Irwin Mitchell also acts for those affected by helicopter crashes such as the Eurocopter crashes off the coast of Shetland in August 2013 and in the North Sea in October 2012.

Bond Air Services have provided with the following response

In the six month since this tragedy Bond Air Services has worked diligently with families, colleagues and friends of those who lost their lives and with all those who were affected by the tragedy to process all claims as swiftly as possible.

  • In April we informed Irwin Mitchell of offers in respect to a number of their clients; to date we have received no reply in respect of these offers.
  • Irwin Mitchell have not yet presented us with claims regarding the vast majority of clients that they have informed us they represent.
  • Immediately following the accident, Bond Air Services set-up a free helpline for all affected by this tragedy. Every single person who contacts us receives a reply within 24 hours.

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