In addition to controlling international treaties, the Warsaw and Montreal Conventions determine liability for passenger injuries on international flights. Under the Montreal Convention, the concept of negligence is irrelevant - the only thing you need to prove is that your injury was caused by an “accident."
According to the United States Supreme Court, this includes an unusual or unexpected event that happens to the passenger.
If you suffer an injury on an international flight, the Montreal Convention entitles you to compensation for your financial damages and emotional damages. However, you cannot seek compensation for emotional damages unless you sustained a physical injury too. In short, the Montreal Convention holds the airline responsible for passengers’ custody and care.
If you are a domestic traveler, you can hold the airline liable for negligence under international travel rules if the flight itinerary includes any destination in a foreign country. This is true even if your injury occurs during the domestic portion of your flight.
At Jaroslawicz & Jaros, PLLC, we have handled a wide variety of cases that involved airline passenger injuries. Some common types of airline injuries include:
- Embarking and Disembarking: Under the Warsaw Convention, you can hold the airline responsible for embarking / disembarking injuries. This includes slip and fall accidents while boarding, tripping over an obstruction, or any number of incidents. If you are a domestic traveler, you must demonstrate that the airline was negligent or careless.
- Falling Baggage: If a piece of baggage falls on an international passenger, the Montreal and Warsaw Conventions allow the passenger to seek financial compensation if he / she can demonstrate that the falling baggage was an “accident." If the passenger was a domestic traveler, he /she must demonstrate some form of negligence to seek compensation.
- Turbulence: Airlines are not responsible for unforeseen natural events (called “acts of god"); it is only liable for predictable dangers. Turbulence is often one of these predictable hazards. If the airline is aware of potential turbulence, it is obligated to warn passengers. If the airline does not warn passengers, it is responsible for any injuries caused by the severe weather.
- Food Carts: Food cart injuries are relatively common on airlines. Narrow aisles can make it difficult for flight attendants to safety maneuver carts past passengers. If airline workers do not exercise caution, they can accident ram into passengers’ shoulders, legs, or other body parts. Passengers who are moving about the cabin are also at risk of these injuries.
- Passengers with Special Needs: Passengers with special needs may require special assistance, especially while boarding and disembarking. In the past, passengers have suffered injuries from negligent assistants, defective wheelchairs, and careless airline personnel. Like any form of negligence, these accidents are often the responsibility of the airline.
If you or someone you love suffered an injury on an airline, speak to a legal representative at Jaroslawicz & Jaros, PLLC today. Our team has helped countless clients recover the money that they deserve. Call our office for a free legal consultation regarding your injury, your rights and you legal options. If we agree to handle your case, we will work on a contingency fee basis so you don’t have to worry about any upfront costs.