The families of people killed in last October's Lion Air crash say they were tricked out of their compensation.

Attorneys say about 50 families were pressured into signing forms that prevented them from using US courts to take legal against Lion Air or against the manufacturer of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft that crashed into the Java Sea north of Jakarta.

Merdian Agustin's husband was one of the 189 people killed.  "They give me some document to sign.  The document said you can have the money but you can't sue Lion Air.  You can't sue Boeing," she told the BBC.  "They said you should sign this.  You should move forward.  In one hour or two hours you will get the money and you will continue life, but I don't want it.  It's not about the money.  It's about my husband's life."

She didn't sign.  But the families that did agreed to a compensation package of about AU$133,000.  That's only slightly more than the AU$127,000 they were automatically entitled to under Indonesian law.  

American attorney Sanjiv Singh is representing other families and believes they are potentially entitled to millions of dollars in compensation.

"The families who signed the release and discharge (documents) have been cheated out of compensation, they've been preyed upon by insurance companies and by the counsel for those insurance companies, and ultimately, to the benefit of Boeing," said Singh.