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Aircraft Accidents & Accidents onboard Planes

Have you sustained a personal injury onboard an aeroplane and want specialist aviation and air accident compensation claims advice?

Responsibility for an Accident Onboard an Airplane

Under Article 17 of the Montreal convention the air carrier is responsible for any injury caused to a passenger regardless of whether the airline itself caused the injury or was responsible for the passenger’s accident.

Even if another passenger caused the accident onboard a plane by, for example, dropping heavy hand luggage onto the victim, the airline is responsible and must pay compensation to the injured person.

The airline must also compensate the injured passenger in circumstances where no one is to blame such as when there is unexpected turbulence which causes an injury to a passenger.

The airline’s responsibility starts from the process of embarkation and finishes after the process of disembarkation.

What is an Air Accident?

The airline is responsible if someone has an accident.

Typical examples of accidents onboard aircraft include:

  • A plane crash or collision
  • An item falling from an overhead locker
  • A scalding injury caused by a spilt hot drink
  • Unexpected turbulence which causes injury
  • A slip on a spillage

The definition of an air accident is complicated. It has to be 'an unusual and unexpected event or happening external to the passenger'.

It will not be an accident 'where the injury results from the passenger’s own internal reaction to the usual, normal and expected operation of the aircraft'. Therefore, an accident would in most circumstances not extend to injuries caused by, for example, deep vein thrombosis and hearing loss occasioned through cabin pressure changes.

About Airplane Accident Compensation

Under the Montreal Convention compensation for injury onboard an aircraft is capped for air and aviation accidents to around £100,000 depending on the exchange rate for 'special drawing rights'.

Passengers pursuing an airplane accident claim can claim more compensation but will need to prove that the airline was negligent to succeed.

Passengers can claim compensation for their air injury and psychological trauma but cannot claim compensation for their distress unless the passenger was also physically injured.

Making a Compensation Claim for an Airplane Accident

Holiday Suitcases

Providing that the air accident involves countries who are signatories to the Montreal Convention the passenger is entitled to choose where they want to pursue their airplane accident compensation claim.

This can be in the country where the passenger lives or where the airline is based or where the flight was destined to arrive.

What is very important is that an air accident claim made under the Montreal Convention must be commenced in the courts within 2 years from the date of the accident otherwise the claim will be time barred.

If the flight was a domestic UK flight (eg London to Manchester) then the Montreal Convention will not apply but a claim for personal injury can nevertheless be brought against the airline using domestic UK law and based on negligence which will require proving that the airline was at fault.

Many holidaymakers have additional legal rights. If the holiday was a package holiday protected by the Package Travel [Etc] Regulations 1992 then a claim for compensation for an injury caused during the flight can be pursued against the tour operator who is responsible for their suppliers – including airlines.

Also, if the flight was paid for using a credit card (not a debit or charge card) and the cost of the flight was more than £100 then the passenger has the option of pursuing their credit card company. The passenger will have a 'like' claim against their credit card provider by virtue of Section 75(1) of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.

The Consumer Credit Act 1974 gives consumers the option of pursuing either the supplier of the services or the credit card provider providing they have a valid claim against the supplier of the services.

The Consumer Credit Act 1974 can provide passengers injured in aircraft accidents who are neither protected by the Montreal Convention, Package Travel Regulations 1992 or any other domestic laws with access to legal redress and compensation for aeroplane accidents.

The Law

In 1929 the Warsaw Convention introduced rules for carriage by air. In 1999 the Montreal Convention replaced much of the Warsaw Convention. The Montreal Convention was incorporated in UK law by the Carriage by Air Acts (Implementation of the Montreal Convention 1999) Order 2002.

Below we have listed some of the main airlines to whom the air accident compensation provisions apply:

If you have suffered an accident during a flight or whilst embarking or disembarking an aeroplane talk to us today and see if we can help you to make a compensation claim for your aircraft injury.

Passenger Receives £6,200 Air Accident Compensation

Mrs T from Wolverhampton received £6200 Compensation for injuries sustained following an Aircraft Accident onboard a KLM Royal Dutch Airlines flight.

Simpson Millar’s specialist Airline Compensation Claims Experts successfully recovered compensation for Mrs T’s head injury when she was struck on by a falling film projector - which fell from an overhead cabin locker.

Mrs T. from Wolverhampton was injured during the flight leaving America when a fellow passenger opened the overhead locker. Paramedics were summoned by the airline to attend to her injuries onboard the aircraft at Detroit Airport

The aircraft’s operator KLM admitted liability and agreed to pay Mrs T compensation for her aircraft accident out of court.

Thomas Cook Admit Liability for Airplane Accident

Thomas Cook has agreed to pay compensation for an airline accident which occurred at Palma airport and resulted in a passenger sustaining a personal injury onboard an aeroplane scheduled to depart

The aircraft accident occurred when a shuttle bus service ploughed into the side of the aircraft. The passenger was thrown forward during the impact sustaining a whiplash injury.

Thomas Cook admitted liability and have agreed to pay compensation for the injuries the passenger sustained onboard their aircraft.

Air accident solicitors Simpson Millar are pleased with Thomas Cook’s sensible decision to pay compensation to the passenger who can expect to receive a substantial award for her personal injury.

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