In flight injuries compensation
We all know the feeling of excitement at the prospect of jetting off to a foreign destination for a holiday or short break.
However, for those who suffer inflight injuries on airplanes, or when getting on or off the flight, the anticipation and excitement is quickly replaced by the pain and inconvenience of an air travel injury.
If you do suffer an accident in the course of international air travel, then our serious injury lawyers can assist in guiding you through the legal process.
Montreal Convention Claims; knowing the law
Liability against airlines for personal injury is enshrined in the 1999 ‘Montreal Convention’. As a multilateral treaty, more than 130 countries signed the agreement to legally cover the interests of passengers.
Because of this, most airline injuries now fall under the Montreal Convention personal injury regime, however there are exceptions.
If there’s any doubt in your mind around the validity of your airplane injury claim, we recommend seeking advice from one of our travel litigation specialists, in order to establish what law applies to your claim and in what country your legal action can be pursued.
Remember, as the majority of airline injury compensation claims are subject the Montreal Convention personal injury treaty, here is a brief guide to help you get started:
Montreal Convention Personal Injury Claims; What you must prove
The convention operates a ‘strict liability’ scheme in respect of claims for personal injury up a value of 113,000 Special Drawing Rights (a form of international currency which currently equates to approximately £120,000).
This means that, for most claimants, there is no need to prove negligence on the part of the airline in order to succeed.
The convention requires Claimants to instead prove that they sustained ‘bodily injury’ as a result of an ‘accident’ ‘on board the aircraft or in the process of embarkation or disembarkation’
- The convention operates a ‘strict liability’ scheme in respect of personal injury claims up to a value of 113,000 Special Drawing Rights.
- Special Drawing Rights is a form of international currency which equates to approximately £120,000.
- There is no need for ‘most’ claimants to prove negligence on the part of the airline in order to succeed.
- Instead, the convention requires Claimants to prove that they sustained ‘bodily injury’ as a result of an ‘accident’ ‘on board the aircraft, or in the process of embarkation or disembarkation’
We have set out below some guidance on the meaning of these terms;
Bodily injuries simply refer to any physical injuries, such as fractures, tissue injuries, burns and cuts.
‘Pure’ psychiatric injuries are normally not recoverable; however, this is an evolving and complex area of airline accident law.
If you’re confident that you sustained a ‘bodily injury’, the next step is to demonstrate this happened in an ‘accident.’
An accident, in a Montreal Convention personal injury claim, has been interpreted by the Courts to mean;
- An unusual or unexpected event
- Outside of the normal operation of the aircraft
- Which is external to the passenger
This is a test that has to be carefully applied to the facts of the case, which is why you need expert legal advice when considering pursuing an inflight injury compensation claim.
Embarkation or disembarkation
To be successful with the claim, the accident must take place either on board the aircraft or in the process of embarkation or disembarkation.
Although there normally no controversy as to whether someone is on board an aircraft, there is often significant dispute about whether the accident happened during embarkation or disembarkation.
For example, much of the embarkation process takes place in the airport (for example, walking to your gate when the plane is called or going through security).
Similarly, if you slip and fall whilst heading towards the luggage carousals after the plane has landed, you could have a Montreal Convention personal injury claim.
As with the meaning of ‘accident’, establishing whether something has happened during embarkation or disembarkation is very fact specific and requires careful analysis of the facts and the law.
There is a strict two-year time limit (‘limitation period’) in respect of Montreal Convention Claims, and this limitation period, unlike in some other areas of law, cannot be extended.
If you have suffered an accident in the court of air travel you should get in touch with our legal experts immediately to discuss your case.
Fletchers Serious Injury solicitors are airline accident & injury specialists
If the worst does happen and you experience a serious air travel accident, Fletchers Solicitors are experts in representing victims. If you have had an accident during air travel, embarking or disembarking a flight that wasn’t your fault, our expert lawyers can guide you through the process of claiming damages and getting your life back on track.