Accidents on an Aircraft
If you or a family member has been injured in an airplane crash you may be eligible for compensation.
You may also be eligible for compensation if you have an accident whilst in the air.
Many people accept incidents such as tripping on a piece of carpet, having a hot drink spilled on them, jamming their hand in a chair as being "just an accident".
If you have been injured in an accident on board an aircraft in the last 2 years then you may be eligible for compensation.
The Warsaw Convention was created to determine the liability of air carriers in the case of an accident, both in regards to passengers and also baggage and cargo.
Article 17 provides: "The carrier shall be liable for damage sustained in the event of the death or wounding of a passenger or any other bodily injury suffered by a passenger, if the accident which caused the damage so sustained took place on board the aircraft or in the course of any of the operations of embarking or disembarking."
However the Warsaw Convention has now been superseded by the Montreal Convention and it was put into force in this country by the Carriage by Air Act 1961.
The Carriage by Air Acts (Implementation of the Montreal Convention 1999) Order 2002
This convention provides that a carrier is strictly liable for bodily injuries as a result of an accident that occurred on board the aircraft.
Therefore under the terms of the Montreal Convention, the airline company will be liable to compensate you for your injuries without you having to prove that the accident was caused by the negligence of the airline company.
This means that accident could be the fault of another passenger. Also it means that even if nobody is to blame for the accident, you could be eligible for compensation.
There has been much debate as to what constitutes an "accident". The leading case on this is Air France v Saks 474 US 392, where the definition of accident was given as "an unusual and unexpected event or happening external to the passenger".
If you have been involved in an accident onboard a plane abroad or whilst flying in the UK, whether while embarking, disembarking, or during the journey, then you may be able to claim compensation.
It may be possible, depending on the circumstances, to bring a claim in the UK against the Tour Operators or air carriers.
In other cases, claims may be made abroad, for example against the plane owners.
Compensation Claim Form