Airline and Airport Injury Compensation –Watermans

12th Mar 2020
Lisa Boyle

Airline and Airport Injury Compensation –Watermans

Airline and airport accident compensation


Holidays at home or abroad offer a meaningful travel experience and provide some welcome respite with friends, family or loved ones.

However, if you suffer from an injury during your time as an airline passenger, either in-flight or in the airport, it could make your trip one to remember for all of the wrong reasons. It can  not only spoil your getaway, but also spoil some of the months or in worse cases, years afterwards too.

Here, our trainee solicitor, Mitchel Bell, provides an overview of how to proceed with a compensation claim if you’ve experienced an incident at the airport or in-flight whilst travelling.


image if mitchel bell trainee solicitor



What types of compensation can I claim for?


There are number of ways an injury can occur during travel, these include:

  • Slips or trips at the airport
  • Food poisoning from food served on a flight
  • Hot drinks / burns caused by spillages
  • Injuries sustained during a plane landing or flight turbulence
  • Physical assault
  • Injuries from falling luggage

One example of a recent airline compensation case we worked on involved a father and his then six-year-old daughter who were flying from Mallorca, Spain to Vienna Austria.

During their flight, the father was served with a cup of coffee. Somehow the coffee was spilled and went over the father’s thigh and onto the daughter’s chest, causing terrible injuries. As a result, the six-year-old girl suffered second degree burns to her chest.

No fault was found on the tray table and there was no suggestion of any fault on behalf of the pursuer.

It was unable to be determined as to whether the accident was caused by a defective tray table or by flight turbulence from the aircraft as is normal in flight.

The father made a claim on her behalf and it proceeded as far as the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). The CJEU found in favour of the 6-year-old for the claim.


Bear with Bandage


The Law

There is a strict liability on accidents which happen in aviation whether that be the condition or operation of the aircraft or any facility which is used to embark or disembark from the aircraft.

The example we’ve mentioned above demonstrates that an accident does not need to be one which is an associated hazard of aviation to qualify for an injury claim. Rather, any injury caused on an aircraft or from an aircraft which is not the fault of the pursuer could give rise to a successful injury claim.


How long do I have to claim?


Under the Montreal Convention, which regulates accidents on aircraft, a person has two years to claim from the date of arrival of the aircraft at its destination. However, this is also subject to national limits and therefore it is recommended that you claim as soon as possible.

It should also be noted that this is different for the three years which you get to make a personal injury claim in Scotland.

Find out more about the types of claims we can support with on our personal injury page.

How much compensation could I be entitled to for an airline incident?


If there is no evidence that the airline is liable for the accident, there is a limit of £90,000 for compensation.

When evidence is provided and the airline is liable, the compensation may be awarded without a financial limit.

Montreal Convention does not allow a claim for psychiatric injury unless it is due to physical injury. This means there needs to be some physical injury to have caused psychological symptoms.

There are 133 signatory countries to the Montreal Convention. It is enforceable for all flights leaving EU airports and all flights arriving to EU airports which are operated by EU carriers. As it has been signed by 133 countries, most international flights are covered.

How can Watermans help?


If you have suffered from an in-flight injury or an accident at an airport, and believe that it’s not your fault, contact us today. We’d be happy to hear your story and see how we can support you.