07 Nov Flight accident compensation and claims
Sustaining injuries on a flight can be scary. You won’t be able to receive immediate medical attention and you can be far from home. If you have been injured during a flight through no fault of your own, you might want to make a claim against the airline responsible. Contact Ferrys Solicitors LLP for advice.
Flight accidents and injuries in law
Unlike other personal injury cases in Ireland, flight accident claims are governed by international law. The Montreal Convention outlines standards and rules for air travel around the world.
The EU signed up to these unified rules, which apply to European aircraft carriers even if your flight’s destination is outside of the EU.
Under the Montreal Convention, passengers can go to court wherever they live and there is no limit for damages relating to injury or death. In some accidents, airlines are also obliged to promptly provide advance payments to address the injured party’s immediate financial needs.
Common flight accidents
Most flight accident claims aren’t related to crashes, but more minor events. Some common accidents which lead to injuries on a flight, include:
- Baggage falling from overhead bins
- Trips and falls
- Burns from hot food and drinks
- Injuries sustained during turbulence
To make a claim under the Montreal Convention, the accident which caused your injuries has to take place while embarking, travelling or disembarking. In general, this is considered to mean while on a flight or beyond airport security.
To make a claim, the accident also has to be outside of your control. If you were injured on a flight by something you did yourself, you can’t pursue a claim.
In Ireland, burns from hot drinks often lead to claims. For example:
- In 2019, an 8-year-old girl settled her High Court case against Ryanair for €150,000 after she sustained second degree burns from spilt hot chocolate on a flight
- Also in 2019, a 12-year-old boy settled a High Court action against Aer Lingus for €70,000 after his hot chocolate fell into his lap and burned his leg
- In 2017, a 27-year-old woman was awarded €10,500 in damages in the Circuit Court after she was scalded by tea
How to pursue a flight accident claim
Normally, claims are sent to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board before they can go to court. But claims involving ships or aircrafts aren’t under its remit. However, an application must still be sent to the Board in order to obtain authorisation to issue proceedings.
In minor cases, there is no need to prove negligence as airlines accept liability for injury claims up to about €140,000. But if you are looking for damages above this amount, you need to prove the airline was negligent in its duty of care and the airline can defend against your claim.
What to do when injured on a flight
- Report the accident to the cabin crew
- Seek medical assistance as soon as possible
- Record the accident in writing
- Keep your boarding card
- Document your injuries
- Contact a solicitor for advice
You have two years from the date your plane touches down bring forward a flight accident claim. Contact Ferrys Solicitors LLP. Our expert team of personal injury solicitors will look after your case.