Flight Accident Claims *
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 *.
The rules that govern airline personal injury claims * are set out in the 1999 Montreal Convention. These rules were set out and agreed by most of the worlds’ developed countries. It had the aim that there could be a worldwide set of rules for air travel to protect passengers, set minimum liability standards and the extent of monies payable for damages suffered by the passengers.
Types of Airplane Accidents *
Accidents while on board an aircraft can happen in a number of different ways. Here are some of the most common scenarios where an accident on a flight may lead to a personal injury:
- 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 too place on board the aircraft or during any period where the checked baggage was in possession (responsibility of) the airline. It is important to remember that you cannot claim in cases where your checked baggage was unchecked, opens 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 baggage 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 damaged was sustained while in flight.
Making A Claim *
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 you 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 more serious threat to your health.
If you have decided to pursue an airline accident claim * , you will need to take the following steps:
Document the accident
– Just like any personal injury claim *, documenting exactly what happened is a very important step. It is important to obtain:
- 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
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.
Contact a Flight Accident Claims Solicitor *
It is advisable to contact a personal injury * solicitor to discuss your case and how you can proceed with your flight accident claim *. This will ensure that you make the right moves at the right time. This depends on where the accident occurred, it may affect how you proceed with your claim.
If you are to proceed with an airline 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.
Important to note here is that, as per the 1999 Montreal Convention, a person can claim for physical injuries * sustained on aboard 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.
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.
Flight Compensation as per 1999 Montreal Convention
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 exceeds €126,800 then you will have to prove that 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, to make advance payments to the person entitled to claim. This is so that the person who is entitled to claim has the financial resources at available to them to cover any additional costs arising from the accident.
Statute of Limitations – Legal Time Frames
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 2 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 2 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.
The Injuries Board
Flight accident claims * must be passed through the Injuries Board for assessment as a first step. Contacting a personal injury solicitor * to help should be your first step.
Tell Us About Your Case
With 30 years’ experience as specialist personal injury solicitors *, Tracey Solicitors, ensure not to overwhelm you with legal jargon. We can provide you with legal advice and guidance with your best interest at heart, in a language that you can understand.