A group of people stand in front of the wreckage of Asiana Flight 214, which crashed on Saturday, July 6, 2013, as buses that were reported to be carrying passengers and family members are parked next to it on a tarmac at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, Wednesday, July 10, 2013. Two passengers were killed and many others were injured in the crash. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - When the crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 goes to court, the potential payouts will probably be vastly different for Americans and passengers from other countries, even if they were seated side by side as the jetliner crash-landed.
An international treaty governs compensation to passengers harmed by international air travel - from damaged luggage to crippling injuries and death. The pact is likely to close U.S. courts to many foreigners, forcing them to pursue claims in Asia and elsewhere, where lawsuits are rarer, harder to win and offer smaller payouts.
Northern California attorney Frank Pitre represents two Americans who were aboard the plane. He says U.S. citizens will have no problem getting into U.S. courts. Others, he says, will have a fight on their hands.