What are your rights if you are injured on a flight?

People at airport waiting to board flight

Over the summer, many will be looking forward to heading to warmer climates for hopefully a relaxing and enjoyable holiday. However, for some, flying there and back is not an enjoyable part of the journey but instead a nerve wracking experience.

If you’re injured while travelling abroad, knowing where to turn can be daunting.

Majority of airplane accidents are slips and trips

When people think of aeroplane accidents, many will think of plane crashes and other major disasters. However, the majority of aeroplane accidents are slips and falls when boarding or getting off the plane, or incidents while in the cabin.

At Digby Brown, we have seen passengers injured during the flight by cabin crew spilling hot drinks on them causing burns, or when luggage falls out of overhead lockers which have not been properly closed. Equally, accidents can happen where passengers slip or trip on the stairs, or are injured when cabin crew or airport staff make mistakes when assisting them onto the flight.

Your rights against the airline

If you are injured while boarding or getting off a flight, or while onboard, your claim will be against your airline under the Montreal Convention.

The Montreal Convention allows you to claim in Scotland in many cases, regardless of where in the world you were flying from and to at the time your accident happens. Over 120 countries are signed up to the Montreal Convention including the UK, the United States, Canada, Australia, China and the entire EU.

In many circumstances, the airline will be subject to the Montreal Convention’s strict liability regime, and will require to compensate you for your injuries onboard their flight or during embarkation or disembarkation.

The accident does not need to be the fault of the airline or its crew – they can be liable to compensate you even if your accident is caused by airport staff or other passengers.

It is important to note that, for a claim against the airline, injured passengers only have two years from the date of the accident to raise a court action against the airline. This is a shorter time frame than for other personal injury claims in Scotland where you have three years.

Claiming compensation for an airplane accident

If you have been injured during a flight, our advice is to gather all the evidence you can. This can help prove how the accident was caused and the subsequent injuries.

As a rule:

  • Ask to fill out an accident form with the airline and ask for a copy;
  • Keep all your receipts, tickets and boarding passes;
  • Take pictures of the location of the accident and any defects that have caused it;
  • Take pictures of the injuries you have suffered;
  • Write down names and contact details of witnesses;
  • Obtain copies of any medical records of hospitals you get treatment at abroad.

You should contact a solicitor with specialist knowledge in aeroplane accidents as soon as possible after the accident. That is especially important in aeroplane accidents as non-specialists may not be aware of the shorter time limit you have to make your claim.

Specialist aeroplane accident lawyers

Claims for injuries sustained onboard a flight or while embarking or disembarking are a complex and specialist area of the law. The individual circumstances of your accident that determine whether or not the airline is liable to compensate you may not be what you would expect. It is therefore crucial that you instruct a specialist solicitor to deal with your claim.

At Digby Brown, we have considerable experience in this field and a successful track record of recovering compensation from airlines. We have dealt with both major incidents injuring dozens of passengers as well as individual incidents affecting a single person.

We hope that you have a great summer holiday, but although accidents that can happen on your flight can seem minor, they can and do cause injury and spoil holidays. In the unfortunate event that an accident happens to you, we are here to help you get the compensation you are entitled to.

Contact Digby Brown on 0333 200 5925 or fill in our enquiry form to speak to one of our specialist legal team.