Accident in a Public Place*

Flight Accident Claims*

If you or a family member have been involved in an accident while on a flight it is imperative that you talk to a solicitor to obtain advice in relation to possibly bringing a personal injuries claim.

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Involved in a Flight Accident?

Being involved in an accident while on a flight can be a traumatic experience – whether you have sustained any injuries or not. In cases where you are involved in an accident on a flight that was not your fault, there may be a legal remedy by way of a flight accident claim.

Who is Liable?

The 1999 Montreal Convention has set out guidelines with regards to air flight compensation amounts for personal injury and damages suffered by a passenger on an aircraft. The amount of your claim will determine how your flight accident claim will progress.

For example, if you had been injured on an aircraft and your claim for damages does not exceed approx. €126,800, then you do not have to prove that the airline was at fault or negligent. The airline is obliged to pay the monies to you.

However, if your claim for personal injuries exceeds €126,800, then you will have to prove that the airline was at fault or negligent and your injuries were a result of that.

The 1999 Montreal Convention also stipulates that in airline accidents resulting in death or injury to passengers, the airline shall, if required by its national law, make advance payments to the person entitled to claim. This is so that the person who is entitled to claim has the financial resources available to them to cover any additional costs arising from the accident.

Common Flight Accident Injuries

A flight accident can cause a serious injury. Some common types include:

Common Causes of Flight Accidents*

Flight accident claims relate to personal injuries suffered while travelling on an aircraft. In many cases, personal injuries are sustained when either embarking or disembarking an aircraft or while on flights for various different reasons. If you have been injured while boarding, disembarking a flight or during a flight, then you may be entitled to pursue a flight accident claim.

Some of the most common scenarios where an accident on a flight may lead to a personal injury include:

Death or Injury to Passengers

In this instance, the airline carrier is liable for the damage caused to a passenger. This is provided that the accident occurs on-board the aircraft or in the course of embarking or disembarking the aircraft. These accidents can occur due to:

  • Items falling from unsecured overhead lockers
  • Accidents when serving hot food and drinks
  • Slip, trip or fall inside the aircraft
  • Unexpected turbulence

Damage to, Destruction of, or Loss of Checked Baggage

In this instance, the airline is liable in cases where the event that led to the damage, destruction or loss took place on board the aircraft or during any period where the checked baggage was in possession of/ under the responsibility of the airline. It is important to remember that you cannot claim in cases where your checked baggage was unchecked, open or of poor quality. In the case of unchecked hand luggage, the airline is responsible if the event leading to the damage to the hand luggage was caused by the airline employees.

Damage to Cargo

The airline is liable to pay for damages to luggage in the aircraft’s cargo hold if damage was sustained while in flight.

What do I do if I'm involved in a flight accident?

Following a flight accident, there are a number of steps you should follow:

  1. Seek medical attention

    Following an accident on an airplane, if you have suffered an injury, your first port of call is to ensure that you get some medical attention. This can be difficult to get while you are thousands of feet in the air. However, all flight attendants should have basic first aid training. This is to help you and anybody else who may have been injured in the accident. It is important that, if you have suffered a personal injury while travelling with an airline, you should book an appointment with a doctor as soon as possible after once you’ve landed. This is regardless of how minor you think the injuries are. In some cases, these minor injuries can develop into a more serious threat to your health.

  2. Report the accident

    It is important that you report the accident to the airline staff. You may be required to fill in an accident form for the airline. This is to provide them details of how the accident occurred and details of the injury.

  3. Identify any witnesses

    Details of any witnesses to the accident – their names and contact information – as well as the names and contact details of any cabin crew members involved in the accident.

  4. Document the incident

    Just like any personal injury claim, documenting exactly what happened is a very important step. It is important to obtain:

    • Your flight seat number.
    • Details of any witnesses to the accident; their names, contact information.
    • Name and contact details of any cabin crew members involved in the accident.
    • Take photos of the scene, from different angles and any injuries you suffered; this will help your solicitor understand how the accident happened.
    • Time and Date of the accident.
  5. Speak to a personal injury solicitor

    If you are considering moving forward with an accident claim for any personal injuries sustained, it is advisable that you speak with a public accident claims solicitor as soon as possible. If you are proceeding with a claim, the first step will be submitting your claim to the Injuries Board for assessment. A personal injury solicitor can help you in preparing your application to the Injuries Board and ensure that you follow the process in the correct format, meaning that you can move forward with your claim quickly without unnecessary delays.

    It is important to remember to keep copies of any expenses that you have incurred as a result of the accident. It is also imperative to retain copies of medical reports or incident report forms where possible as you will need them when making a claim.

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How do I make a claim?

Once you have gathered most of the relevant information in relation to your injury it is then time to move forward with your claim. It is important to use a specialist flight accident claim solicitor to help you with this.

  1. Prepare information for a solicitor

    When you decide you want to move forward with your claim it is important to have as much as possible of the relevant information to hand when contacting a solicitor. Some of the important information to have on hand at this point is:

    • Date of the accident
    • Location of the accident
    • Details of who/what caused the accident
    • Specifics of what happened
    • Who did you report the accident to?
    • Is there CCTV that may have captured the accident?
    • Details of your injuries
    • Details of hospital or GP attended
    • Any pictures you may have taken of the scene of the accident and/or your injuries
    • Your seat number and a copy of your boarding information
    • Copy of your on-board accident form (if available)
  2. Solicitor becomes your trusted advisor

    As a solicitor is aware of the claims process they can avoid any legal bumps in the road you might encounter if you looked after this matter yourself. It is their job to be your trusted advisor on all legal matters throughout your case.

  3. Solicitor obtains a medical report

    One of the most important documents in your case is a medical report. Your solicitor will ask for your doctor’s or hospital details so they can obtain a report on your injuries. This report will then be used to allow us to progress your case.

  4. Solicitor prepares the Injuries Board application

    As soon as your solicitor has gathered all the information, your accident claim will be submitted to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board for assessment. Your solicitor will do this for you. Once the Injuries Board assess your claim, they will revert with a suggested settlement amount to your solicitor. At this stage, you have a choice to accept the Injuries Board assessment or reject it and move to the next steps.

    At this point one of two scenarios will unfold:

    a. If both you and the other party accept the Injuries Board assessment, your case is settled and the person at fault will be ordered to pay settlement to you.

    b. If either you or the other party reject the Injuries Board assessment, then you move to the next stage and your solicitor will issue legal proceedings.

  5. Possible case outcomes

    Before you start to concern yourself with court and everything that comes with it, it’s important to understand that only a very small percentage of cases actually make it to a courtroom.

    Settlement meetings will be arranged where a settlement can be negotiated. Most cases are settled at this point prior to a court hearing date without you ever having to step foot into a courtroom and remember it’s your solicitor’s job to be with you every step of the way, right beside you to ensure that your best interests are met at all stages. Your solicitor is to be your trusted advisor throughout the process and this allows you to focus on your recovery, as they focus on settling your case.

At Tracey Solicitors LLP, we make law accessible to all – regardless of your knowledge or experience with the claims process. For more information and a confidential discussion on your accident, phone 01 649 9900 or email to tell us about your case, where you can speak with a member of our team straight away.

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Case Settlement

If you are to proceed with an airline accident claim you may be entitled to recoup costs to you as a result of the accident. This is along with added expenses you may have incurred, these claims are called damages:

General Damages

Non-financial damages such as pain and suffering and/or physical and emotional injuries. As per the 1999 Montreal Convention, a person can claim for physical injuries sustained on-board a flight. However, a person cannot claim for psychological injuries suffered while on an aircraft.

Special Damages

Out of pocket expenses incurred as a result of an accident on-board an aircraft. For example, loss of earnings, medical bills, and added travel costs as a result of the accident, for example, travel to and from a hospital. Learn more about Special Damages.

Material Damages

Material damage refers to damage caused to your personal property. For example, in an accident on a flight, the material damage would be the damage to your personal property/hand luggage.

What are the Legal Time Limits?

After involvement in an accident on an airplane, it is important to remember that there is a certain timeframe in place within which you can make a claim. The 1999 Montreal Convention explains that a person has two years from the date the accident occurred. It is important, therefore, that you have spoken with a solicitor and an application has been sent to the Injuries Board. This must be submitted before the two year time limit has expired.

If you are travelling with a non-Irish airline, a person can proceed with a flight accident claim in Ireland. This includes if the accident happened on board a non-Irish company. This is provided that the person making the flight accident claim is resident in Ireland at the time. The Irish time frame in which you have to make a claim is called the statute of limitations.

Learn more about Legal Time Limits

About Tracey Solicitors LLP

We draw on more than 35 years of experience in personal injury law to provide you with expert advice and legal services.

We’re here to help you with your claim, and will work with you to ensure you understand every step of your legal journey.

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