The Montreal Convention, previously known as the Warsaw Convention controls an international airline passenger’s right to receive financial compensation in the event of an injury or death which takes place either on board the aircraft, or while the passenger is in the process of boarding or disembarking that flight.
Pursuant to Article 17 of the Convention the carrier is liable for damage sustained in case of death or bodily injury of a passenger upon condition only that the accident which caused the death or injury took place on board the aircraft or in the course of any of the operations of embarking or disembarking. The Convention provides for strict liability against the carrier provided the passenger can prove that he or she was injured in an “accident” as that term has come to be defined by the Courts.
Our airplane accident lawyers explain that the term “accident” been defined by the United States Supreme Court in Saks v. Air France as an unexpected and unusual incident or occurrence external to the passenger, which cannot arise from the passenger’s own internal reaction to the usual, normal, and expected operation of the aircraft.
In addition to the obvious application of the term accident to air crashes, or other situations where the actual aircraft is involved in a mishap “Accident” has been broadly defined to include flight injuries caused by turbulence, terrorist attacks, assaults by fellow passengers, boarding ramp falls; burns from flight attendant’s spilling scalding water, wet stairs and floors within airports, and the failure or delay of the airline to provide medical aid or attention to a sick passenger.
The Convention essentially has a two-tier liability system which makes air carriers strictly liable for proven damages up to 113,000 SDR (about $170,000). Thereafter, the burden of proof shifts to the carrier to prove that the accident which caused the flight injury or death was not due to its negligence or was attributable to the negligence of a third party. This carrier cannot seek the “third party” defense when the passenger seeks damages of less than 100,000 SDR.
The Convention also amended the jurisdictional provisions of Warsaw and now provides for a “fifth jurisdiction” so that victims or their families can sue foreign carriers in the country where they maintain their principal residence.
It is important to note that the Montreal Convention carries only a two year statute of limitations and any case not filed within that time will be barred.
The airplane accident lawyers at Bohrer & Lukeman have filed and successfully litigated numerous cases under the Warsaw and Montreal Convention, both in crash and in flight injury situations. A flight attorney from our team is familiar with virtually all of the scenarios under which a passenger injured during the course of an international flight can recover damages. We have litigated the seminal case of Magan v. Lufthansa and made new law in the United States and worldwide in favor of passengers injured as a result of in flight turbulence during the course of an international flight. Please contact r an airplane crash attorney at our office today if you or a loved one have been seriously injured during the course of an international flight.