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January 16th 2019

Accidents & Illness Abroad

What are your rights if you suffer in-flight injuries on an aeroplane?

Anne Thomson

Anne Thomson

Litigation Executive, Travel

What are your rights if you suffer in-flight injuries on an aeroplane?

Flying may be one of the safest forms of transport, but when an accident takes place onboard an aircraft it can cause a great deal of distress.

Flying may be one of the safest forms of transport, but when an accident takes place onboard an aircraft it can cause a great deal of distress.

Depending on how serious the injury is, and the subsequent pain it causes, it could ruin your foreign holiday or important business trip.

Unfortunately, passengers who are injured on an aircraft often don’t understand their rights – meaning they can be left feeling confused and frustrated.

Can I sue an airline for in-flight injuries?

In short, the answer is yes – you may be eligible to make a personal injury claim if you are injured in an accident on an airline.

The main reason for making a claim is to compensate you for any pain and suffering you experience, any financial loss caused and, if required, any rehabilitative care needed.

10 of the most common airline negligence cases are:-

  1. Accidents arising from poorly stowed luggage
  2. Items falling from overhead lockers & causing injury
  3. Unexpected severe turbulence causing injury
  4. Hot liquid spills – causing burns or discomfort
  5. Food served with insufficient allergy information
  6. Avoidable slips, trips or falls within the aircraft
  7. Injuries or accidents caused by actions of other passengers
  8. Accidents or injuries caused by actions of cabin crew
  9. Avoidable slips, trips and falls whilst in process of embarking and disembarking the aircraft
  10. Accidents involving the airport shuttle bus or transportation

Obviously, claims can be made for accidents which take place during take-off, mid-flight or landing.

In some cases, you may be able to bring a case for an injury suffered at the airport itself, either during the departure or disembarking process. Much will depend on where the accident occurs and whether you were in the process of embarking or disembarking from the aircraft.

Examples include:

  • Avoidable slips, trips or falls on the way to the departure gate
  • Accidents involving airport crew or transport
  • Injury caused by planes colliding with terminal or docking steps

Why airlines are ‘strictly liable’ for your safety under the Montreal Convention

In most cases, airline compensation claims are made under the Montreal Convention 1999 – a powerful, pro-consumer law which protects people injured in an accident during international air travel.

Under the Convention, passengers are usually entitled to pursue an accident claim for compensation in their home country against the airline.

According to law, an airline accident is defined as a distinct event which is ‘unusual’ or ‘unexpected’ – and not as a result of a passenger’s physical reaction to flying (e.g. hearing loss or deep vein thrombosis claims are not compensatable).

If a passenger is injured by something out of the ordinary during an international flight, the airline is “strictly liable” under the Montreal Convention and there is no need to prove the airline has been “negligent”.

The passenger only needs to prove an accident or fatality occurred on board the aircraft (or while embarking and disembarking) – and that the Convention applies to that particular type of accident.

Normally, there is a two-year time period from the date of the accident in which to bring a claim. However, it is advisable to make a claim at the earliest opportunity as this helps with evidence gathering and may improve the chances of success.

How to pursue your airline case with Hudgell Solicitors

Going away is meant to be a relaxing experience that you enjoy. But if something does go wrong, through no fault of your own, we are here to help.

At Hudgell Solicitors, we deal with all types of accidents abroad – from serious road traffic accidents to airline accident cases – where people have been injured whilst innocently going about their business.

We understand that holiday accidents, and their implications, can affect both you and your loved ones – and we promise to take the worry and hassle out of making a claim. The majority of our airline accident cases are conducted on a No Win, No Fee basis – so there is no financial risk to you.

Before accepting a case, we provide a free consultation to determine who was responsible for your injury and whether taking legal action is an appropriate response.



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