Passenger sustains injuries from luggage falling from overhead locker on airplane
Simpson Millar is pursuing a claim against Singapore Airlines after a bag containing books fell from the overhead locker landing directly onto the passenger’s head whilst returning from her holiday with family.
Our client felt the full force of the bag on her head. Since the incident she has suffered from headaches and requires dental treatment due to the impact. She states that the accident has really put a dampener on the holiday and her memories.
Montreal Convention 1999
Accidents on aircrafts are governed by the Montreal Convention 1999 and, as long as the accident involves countries who are signatories to the Montreal Convention, then the passenger has a choice of where they want to bring their claim.
This can include their country of residence, where the flight was going to or the country where the airline is based. Under this convention, an injured person only has 2 years in which to make a compensation claim whereas usually it is 3 years for Personal Injury claims in the UK.
It also imposes strict liability on the air carrier which means it is not always necessary to prove fault even if the accident is the fault of another passenger, or no one is at fault.
Therefore, so long as the accident happened and this resulted in the injury whilst embarking, disembarking, or on the aircraft a claim should result in compensation. However, under the Montreal Convention there are liability limits set in Special Drawing Rights (SDR). This is capped at around 113,000 special drawing rights. After this there needs to be proof that the airline was negligent in order to be successful.
What constitutes an ‘accident’ on an aircraft?
In order to classify the event as an accident it has to fulfil the criteria of being an injury caused by an external event caused by something unusual or unexpected. It cannot arise from the passengers own internal reaction to the usual, normal and expected operation of the aircraft. Typical examples include items falling from an over-head locker, aeroplane crash, spillage of a hot drink or a slip on a spillage.
Singapore airlines have accepted liability for proven bodily injury in this case. We are currently preparing medical evidence in order to prove the injuries sustained. We therefore have some way to go before we reach settlement in this case.
If you have had an accident whilst on an aircraft we would be interested to hear from you, as you may be entitled to compensation for the injuries sustained.