Common Types of In-Flight Accidents
There are many ways in which airline passengers can suffer an injury while travelling on a commercial flight, such as:
- Slips and trips in the cabin
- Items falling from overhead lockers
- Burns caused by hot drink spillages
- Injuries that take place on transfer bus, tarmac or steps leading to the plane.
- Injuries caused by on-board turbulence
An aircraft passenger may also be accidentally hurt through the actions of a member of the crew or another passenger.
If you’ve been injured by another passenger, the air carrier itself wasn’t necessarily negligent, inasmuch as they didn’t directly make a mistake. But in the eyes of the law, they may bear ultimate responsibility for your safety and have to pay compensation accordingly.
Similarly, while no individual could be blamed if you’re injured in extreme turbulence, the airline still has a duty of care towards you, so in many cases they will be liable to compensate you.
That means any claim for compensation doesn’t have to be based on the fact that the airline made a mistake. In many circumstances, the simple fact that the accident took place is enough for you to be allowed to claim.
Based on the Montreal Convention, an accident on an aeroplane would need to be caused by an unusual or unexpected event or happening that is external to the passenger. A person cannot therefore claim if their injury resulted from an “internal reaction to the usual, normal and expected operation of the aircraft”. This would mean, for example, if you were to drop your bottle of duty-free on your foot, the Airline would not be responsible.
As advised, airlines are also responsible for accidents while you’re boarding or disembarking your aircraft.
The law around whether or not an Airline is responsible for your injury can be complicated. That’s why you should really speak to a specialist in the laws associated with airline accidents before your proceed with any claim.
Factors such as where you were flying from or to; whether the airline has a UK office and whether both countries are signatories to the Montreal Convention all come into play.
What Can I Be Compensated For?
If you suffer an injury aboard an aircraft, any compensation settlement will reflect how badly you’ve been injured and how your injury has affected your life.
Your Solicitor or Lawyer will calculate how much compensation you may be entitled to by gathering evidence, such as photos, correspondence with the airline on the matter and your medical records.
Our Holiday Claims Solicitors will also arrange for you to have an independent medical assessment, so we can assess the severity of your injury and what kind of impact it will have on you in the future.
Our valuation of your claim will also take into account the financial impact the injury has had on you. This could be anything from loss of past and future earnings and prescriptions to travel insurance excess and the cost of care, support and rehabilitation.
Note that airlines will often claim you cannot claim injury for psychological issues. Note that it is not always the case and is another reason you should seek legal advice. Certainly if you suffer head or brain injury – or depression arising out of broken leg or arm, there may be grounds to claim.
Our Holiday Claims team have considerable expertise and many of our Solicitors and Litigation Lawyers have worked for holiday tour operators in the past. That means we can approach cases armed with considerable first-hand knowledge of how the travel industry works, and use these insights to get the best outcomes for our clients.
Simpson Millar have been successful in bringing actions against the major airlines in the past including Thomson Airways (now TUI); Ryanair; Emirates; Easyjet and Singapore Airlines.