Claiming Compensation for Accidents on Board a Plane

Many people are scared of flying, but if you’re one of those who are not, you probably see flying as part of the fun of a holiday.  The seats may be cramped and the food may be bad, but it’s the beginning of your two weeks away, so it should be fun, shouldn’t it?

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Statistically, we are less likely to have an accident on a plane than in the home, but accidents do happen. And if they do, they could leave you not only physically injured, but financially bereft too.

The problem with having an accident on a plane used to be that, traditionally, there was confusion as to jurisdiction.  This means it was unsure in which country you could claim damages.  After all, you are in airspace, maybe above oceans or between countries.  The Athens Convention means you can, generally, sue in your own country, although you should consult a specialist lawyer for further advice.

Can I claim financial compensation for an accident suffered on board a plane?

If you have an accident on a plane which was not your fault and you suffered an injury which caused you loss, then you may have a claim for compensation.  Typical accidents suffered on board a plane include:

  • Head injuries from being hit by unsecured luggage.
  • Burns from hot liquids or hot foods.
  • Whiplash injuries from faulty seats.

One woman who suffered whiplash when an off duty stewardess pulled her seat down, causing her head to spring forwards, resulting in injury to her neck, was awarded £3,000 in damages by the courts.

How long do I have to claim financial compensation for an accident on board a plane?

Most compensation claims for accidents which occur on board a plane must be made within 2 years of the injury.  This is shorter than the 3 years standard in most UK personal injury claims.

What should I do if I have an accident on board a plane?

As with all accidents, it is important to keep receipts of all expenditure which resulted from the accident.  This includes medical fees, transport costs, damage to clothes or property.  You should also take the names of any witnesses who can support your story: this will be important should your case go to court.

Accidents on board a plane can be serious.  You may have injuries so severe you need to take time off work, or even give up work altogether.  If this is the case you may need to instruct a medico-legal expert to assess the financial cost of lost earnings, loss of amenity and for the pain and suffering caused.

Airlines are generally wealthy and have large legal teams to help them ‘fend off’ any claims against them.  If you injured in an accident and it was not your fault, you should not suffer in silence.  Contact us at Manners Pimblett and our airline injury lawyers will see if you have a valid claim for compensation.

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