If you or someone in your family is involved in an accident on board an aeroplane, you may be entitled to claim compensation. Our expert personal injury lawyers are specialists in claims for airline passengers and can provide you with the best possible guidance.
Time Limits for Aircraft Passenger Claims
Airline and Airport Employee Injuries
Making a Compensation Claim
Aircraft Accident Compensation
Our Expert Lawyers
Previous Claims for Aircraft Passengers
For the most part, air travel is a very safe and efficient mode of transport. Sometimes however, accidents do occur. These range from minor, on-board incidents to large scale plane crashes, involving various degrees of personal injury and sometimes with multiple parties involved.
Some common types of in-flight accidents in which aircraft passengers are injured include:
• Burns from spillages of hot liquid
• Tripping accidents caused by defects or improperly stowed luggage
• Bruising and other injuries caused by the operations of the air steward trolleys
• Head injuries from falling luggage or unsecured overhead lockers
• Injuries resulting from turbulence
Plane crashes can occur for various reasons, for example:
• Mechanical failures
• Severe weather conditions
• Pilot errors
• Air traffic control errors
There are some cases of injuries to aeroplane passengers that are simply accidents and could not have been predicted or prevented by anyone. If this is the case, it may not be possible to claim damages unless one of the Air Conventions applies to the claim. If, however, your personal injury was caused by the negligence of someone else, or if one of the Conventions apply, you may be entitled to compensation.
The general time limit for making a personal injury claim in the UK is three years from the date of your accident (with limited exceptions such as claims for minors, see our time limits to bring your claim guide).
Most accidents on-board aeroplanes are subject to different rules however and the time limit is restricted to two years in the majority of cases. You should always seek advice from a personal injury lawyer with experience in airline accident claims if you feel that you may be entitled to compensation, as the laws on limitation can be complicated and are best dealt with by an expert.
If you are a pilot, cabin crew member, baggage handler, ground crew member, check-in staff or any other airline or airport employee, your employer has a duty of care to prevent you from suffering an injury at work as far as is reasonably possible.
Measures that should be taken to prevent airline employee injuries include:
• Safe manual handling procedures
• The use of personal protective equipment (for example ear defenders and high visibility vests for ground crew)
• Carrying out risk assessments for each task to identify potential problems
• The use of warning signs where hazards are present
• Adequate employee training
• Providing a clean, safe and suitable working environment
• Maintaining all work equipment to a safe standard
• Avoiding employee exposure to hazardous substances, excessive noise and vibration
If you suffer an accident at work which you believe to be the fault of your employer, you should seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity. It is also important to ensure that you report the incident to your employer, so that they have a record of what happened and can try to prevent similar incidents occurring in the future.
Our specialist lawyers have assisted many airline and airport employees with compensation claims. Mrs Dimes, an airport employee injured at work when she fell on some stairs due to a wet floor, said of the service she received: "I would like to thank you for your time and advice in the matter of my claim. It was a successful outcome for me personally and I hope it was for you too."
If you are unlucky enough to suffer an illness or injury during air travel, it may be possible for you to claim personal injury compensation.
Try to make sure that your accident is recorded in any available accident book and report it to your travel representative if you are on a package holiday. It is also important to record as much detail as possible about what happened. This could include witness information and photographs.
As with any personal injury claim, the advice and assistance of a specialist lawyer is invaluable. They can collate all of the relevant information, provide guidance and negotiate a suitable settlement with the third party insurers. If liability is not admitted or a suitable amount of damages can not be agreed upon, your case may need to be pursued through the courts. Your lawyer can advise on whether you should proceed and deal with this process on your behalf.
In the vast majority of cases, medical evidence will be required. Unless one of the International Conventions governing carriage by air applies to the claim, it will be necessary to show that the person that you are making a claim against owed you a duty of care, that they breached that duty of care (were negligent), and that the injury you sustained was a reasonably foreseeable consequence of that negligence.
There are two elements to a compensation award made in a personal injury claim. The first, called general damages, is for the pain and suffering you may have gone through and any loss of amenity (for example an inability to do DIY, go shopping or continue with hobbies). The award for loss of amenity can be for a short period after an accident or forever if that is what the medical evidence supports.
The second element of a compensation award, for your losses and expenses, is known as special damages and aims to put you back in a position financially as if the accident had never occurred. This may include an amount for loss of earnings, costs of treatment and so on. It is important to keep receipts for any expenditure you have related to your personal injury so that these can be reclaimed.
In serious cases, where a person may no longer be able to continue their employment, this can be taken into account. Costs for care, equipment, transport and housing modifications can also be factored into the calculations. However, there are financial limits that may apply in certain aircraft accident claims and you should seek assistance from experienced lawyer in this field if the level of compensation that you are being offered is being limited by the application of the Conventions.
If a person is fatally injured, a dependent relative such as a widow and children may be able to claim a statutory sum for their bereavement and funeral expenses, but also sums for the loss of income and contribution to the household in the form of future losses.
Our lawyers are specialists in all areas of personal injury and have a wealth of experience in claims for those injured in accidents on aircraft, both as passengers and airline employees.
We can provide the accident claim advice that you require on a confidential basis.
Below you can read details of previous compensation claims handled successfully by our solicitors on behalf of aircraft passengers. Further articles can be found in our personal injury news and success stories sections:
Our client was on a flight, asleep in his reclined seat. It was on an exit row, so had a large space behind it and some fold-down crew seats. An off-duty cabin crew member lowered the seat directly behind the claimant and the two connected. This caused the client’s seat to spring forward and he suffered a personal injury to his neck as a result.
His holiday was affected and it took time for our client to fully recover. Our lawyers made a claim against the airline on his behalf and secured £3,000 compensation.