Injured on an International Flight


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Most people think of horrific airplane crashes as the cause of most aviation injuries.  While the injuries caused by crashes are serious, and often fatal, they are not the only type of aviation injury that can occur. For example, turbulence injury damage is a common type of harm that may create airline liability for injury.

Liability of In Flight Injuries

In determining airline liability for injury, a court will consider many factors including:

  • Whether the airline acted reasonably with regard to the circumstances of the accident;
  • Whether the accident could have been avoided with reasonable measures;
  • Whether the injuries were caused by the airline’s wrongdoing or failure to exercise reasonable care; and
  • The damages, such as the turbulence injury damage, incurred by the passenger.

Injury Compensation and Responsibility of Airline

The rights of injured passengers, or their survivors, to collect damages for an international airplane accident are often determined by the Warsaw Convention.  The Warsaw Convention was held in 1929 and the treaty was ratified by the United States in 1934.  While the treaty recognized the responsibility of international airlines for airline injuries, it limited compensation to $75,000 per passenger.  Since 1997, however, more than 100 international airlines have signed an agreement that maintains the legal responsibility of international airlines for damages but does away with the $75,000 limit per passenger and instead allows passengers, or their survivors to recover full compensatory damages for their injuries.

If the event causing the injury is not an accident, as defined by international law and interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court, an injured party may still be able to recover damages under a traditional tort theory of law.

How an Aviation Attorney Can Help

The Warsaw Convention, other international laws, and domestic laws may all be applicable to an individual’s injury claim when an injury occurs on an international flight.  Even if multiple people suffered injuries in the same accident, most U.S. Courts will hear individual cases and not certify a class action suit because the injuries incurred can vary dramatically.

If you have been hurt during an international flight, or you are defending international flight personal injury claims, then it is important to seek the assistance of an aviation attorney who can help you protect your interests in your case.

This article is provided for informational purposes only. If you need legal advice or representation,
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