Accidents Abroad

easyJet passenger awarded damages after suitcase fell from overhead locker causing injuries

Airplane overhead lockers
anne-thomson-hudgell-solicitors

Anne Thomson

Senior Litigation Executive

5 min read time

A woman on an easyJet flight was forced to leave the plane and seek hospital treatment after another passenger’s suitcase dropped on her head as she sat in her seat.

The effect of being hit by the falling luggage meant she required physiotherapy for months and suffered bouts of such severe dizziness that “it was like being in a washing machine. I had it every day for six months,” she said.

Following the accident paramedics boarded the plane on what would have been her return flight from Bristol Airport to Reykjavik in Iceland.

The flight was delayed as they treated her injuries and then declared she was ‘unfit to travel’, the pilot then made the decision to ask her to leave the plane.

The woman, who had been on a visit to Bath to see her daughter, was sat with her husband looking at family photos as they waited for take-off when the accident happened, “It was a really nice moment, and I was feeling so happy. Then this man came up behind me and as I looked up a suitcase dropped on my head.

“There was pain and dizziness. The paramedics came and then I was told I couldn’t fly. We had to leave the plane and go to hospital,” she recalled.

The woman, in her 60s, was treated at the Emergency Department of the Royal United Hospital in Bath and then spent three days in bed at her daughter’s home. When she did return to Iceland later that week an ambulance was called to take her to hospital again.

Due to the blow from the ‘heavy’ suitcase she suffered pain in her neck and shoulders and lived with bouts of severe dizziness for a year.

The claim was brought under the Montreal Convention

The woman eventually contacted Hudgell Solicitors, her case was taken up by our holiday accident claims expert Anne Thomson and she was eventually awarded a settlement of £8,000.

“This was an accident entirely outside my client’s control. She and her husband had to leave the plane and seek hospital treatment and she was bedridden for days with a severe headache and pains.

“The flight should have been the conclusion of a happy family gathering but the onboard accident, which was no fault of her own, resulted in her living with continuous pain and severe dizziness for months on end.

“It has been a pleasure to work with my client to ensure that the both the accident and the debilitating effect it had on her life were recognised.”

The holiday injury claim was brought under the Montreal Convention which governs international travel by air.

The Convention imposes a form of strict liability on airlines when it comes to personal injury during a flight or during one of the processes of embarking or disembarking at an airport.

Passengers do not have to prove fault. However, the person making a claim for damages must establish that there has been an ‘accident’. To be a ‘qualifying accident’ under the Convention, there must be an ‘unexpected or unusual event or happening that is external to the passenger’.

‘I knew my case was in safe hands’

The woman, who had flown into Bristol Airport in December 2019, was diagnosed with severe rotational dizziness, also known as vertigo.

The woman says she was aware of the Montreal Convention and decided to take legal advice because she felt the accident “was so unfair” and had left her physically inhibited.

“I would never have forgiven myself if I hadn’t tried because it was an accident that I had nothing to do with, I was confident I would be successful,” she recalled.

The woman had approached other legal firms for advice but had found the process “too complicated” and then contacted Hudgell Solicitors:

“With Anne, I knew my case was in safe hands; trust is very important, and I trusted her completely. I am happy with how it has ended.”

Travel litigation executive Anne Thomson said the case highlighted that it is possible in certain circumstances for a law firm in the UK to take on cases from travellers resident in other countries which involve accidents occurring during a flight or during one of the processes of embarking or disembarking.

“We are seeing an increasing number of overseas clients making enquiries about accidents which occur during the course of international carriage by air.

“Our client’s injury was caused by a heavy bag falling from an overhead locker and hitting her. This type of incident is, unfortunately, not uncommon.

“Other types of ‘accidents’ for the purpose of the Montreal Convention are spillages of hot drinks, trolleys hitting passengers and accidents on the bus taking passengers from the terminal to the aircraft and vice versa,” she said.

If you’ve suffered injuries in an accident onboard an aircraft, our specialist travel solicitors may be able to help you make a no win, no fee accident on holiday claim for the injuries and trauma you’ve suffered.

To benefit from a free, no obligation discussion about your case, contact us today.

Read more: In-flight Accidents and Injuries

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