Compensation for passenger injured on a flight

Business poeple at airport

Boarding a plane, for work or pleasure, is something many of us will do in our lives.

Something you might not think of, or ever need to know,is what legal protection you have if you were to have an accident during your flight.

However, accidents can and do happen.

Our client was in her seat on a return flight from Italy when she was struck by a handheld computer that fell from the drinks trolley.

She suffered injuries to her arms and leg after being struck by the electronic device which was not securely fixed or holstered to the trolley.

At Digby Brown Solicitors, our dedicated Travel Law Department was able to help and recovered thousands of pounds in compensation through the Scottish courts.

Our specialist travel law solicitors frequently deal with these types of accidents and are able to advise people of their legal rights.

Air passengers protected by Montreal Convention

What passengers might not know is they are likely to be protected by the Montreal Convention should they suffer an injury on a flight.

Article 17 of the Montreal Convention provides that airlines are liable for the death or bodily injury of a passenger upon the condition that the accident that caused the death or injury took place on board the aircraft and was not the passenger’s fault.

In other words, there is no requirement for the passenger to prove that the accident occurred as a result of the airline. You will still be compensated if the accident was caused by airport staff or other passengers..

The UK Courts have further defined the types of accidents that the Convention applies to. In a case against British Airways, it was held that “an accident is a distinct event, not having been any part of the usual, normal and expected operation of the aircraft.”

This also extends to accidents that can happen during boarding and disembarking a flight such as accidents on the bus from the terminal to the aircraft

Broadly speaking this means that if a passenger is injured during air travel by something out with the normal function of the flight, the operator must compensate the passenger for that injury. There is no further requirement to prove negligence.

The range of accidents that the Montreal Convention might apply to is vast. We have successfully pursued cases for individuals who were injured by falling luggage from overhead storage to those burned and scarred from the spilling of hot coffee.

We have also represented the victims and families of the Clutha and Air France disasters in their pursuit of justice.

Not long to bring a claim against the airline forward…

If you have suffered an accident on a flight, and wish to rely upon the Montreal Convention, it is important to note that you must bring your claim within two years from the date of injury.

This is shorter than the usual three-year period to raise your claim in court for most accidents in the UK.

The Montreal Convention also has limitations on compensation for purely psychiatric injury and how it applies to each case can be complex.

We would always advise therefore that passengers do not delay in bringing their claim and instructing specialist solicitors to do so.

Find out more about your rights if you are injured on a flight.