Our airline accident solicitors have the knowledge and legal experience to pursue all types of aviation compensation claims against any responsible party including the airline, aircraft manufacturer, aeroplane parts manufacturer or the plane maintenance company. If you have suffered an injury or loss as a result of an airline accident, you should consider pursuing a claim for compensatory damages.
Knowing your rights following an aviation accident or a plane crash is essential to preserve your ability to retain full compensation for your injuries and other damage. Aviation law is complicated and is governed by International Conventions, Commonwealth legislation, State legislation and regulations. If you have been injured or a family member has been killed in an aircraft accident, you should contact a lawyer who is experienced in this complex legal area in order to protect your rights.
Our airline accident solicitors have successfully pursued compensation claims on behalf of :-
Whether your plane accident has occurred on an international airline, or an Australian airline such as QANTAS, Jetstar, Virgin Blue, commercial aircraft, light aircraft or recreational aircraft, our airline accident lawyers can advise you of your rights to compensation. You may be entitled to compensation for injuries caused by aviation accidents in circumstances such as :-
Australia’s liability arrangements for airline accident compensation are contained in the Civil Aviation (Carriers’ Liability) Act 1959 (the ‘CACL Act’). Australia’s arrangements for third party surface damage are contained in the Damage by Aircraft Act 1999 (the ‘DBA Act’). The Civil Aviation Legislation Amendment (1999 Montreal Convention and Other Measures) Act 2008 adopted the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage which is an international agreement known as the Montreal Convention.
The Montreal Convention which came into effect for Australia on 24 January 2009 was designed to replace the complicated and outdated 'Warsaw System' of carriers' liability. The Montreal Convention applies to international carriage in which the country of departure and the country of destination have both adopted the Convention. Countries which have already adopted the Montreal Convention include the US, Canada, China, the European Union, New Zealand, Singapore and Japan. Where the flight is to or from a country that has not adopted the Montreal Convention the applicable version of the Warsaw Convention will continue to apply. The Montreal Convention covers liability in respect of passenger accidents which take place on board an aircraft or in the course of embarking or disembarking an aeroplane.
Under the Montreal Convention, compensation of up to 100,000 Special Drawing Rights (over AUD$200,000) can be awarded without the need to prove fault on the part of the carrier. You only need to prove that the injury occurred. Damages under this tier can be reduced through contributory negligence of the passenger. Note that the Special Drawing Right is a monetary unit of the International Monetary Fund.
Damages above the 100,000 Special Drawing Rights threshold are available to the claimant unless the air carrier is able to prove that the damage was not caused by the negligence or other wrongful act or omission of the carrier, its servants or agents. The Montreal Convention also allows an action for damages for the death or injury of a passenger to be brought in the country where the passenger resided at the time of the plane accident, if the carrier operates and has premises in the country.
The Montreal Convention does not apply to Australian domestic travel. Instead, Part IV of the CACL Act establishes a separate system of liability, which covers carriage between States and Territories. Under the Part IV of the CACL Act, damages are capped at AUD$500,000. Liability is strict.
Whilst application of the Montreal Convention is generally limited to bodily injury, the domestic legislation extends to personal injury. Personal injury can include physical injury, sickness, disease, fright, shock or mental anguish, and psychiatric injury. The system is supported by complementary State legislation, which applies Part IV of the CACL Act to intra-state travel, thereby creating a national uniform regime.
In general, damage caused by aircraft to third parties on the ground is regulated separately to injuries to aircraft passengers. Originally Australia was a party to the Rome Convention on Damage Caused by Foreign Aircraft to Third Parties on the Surface 1952 (“the Rome Convention”) pursuant to the Commonwealth Civil Aviation (Damage by Aircraft) Act 1958. However, that legislation was repealed and replaced by the Commonwealth Damage by Aircraft Act 1999 (“DBA Act”). At the same time Australia denounced the Rome Convention so that it no longer applies in Australia.
The DBA Act imposes strict liability without proof of intention or negligence. Section 10 of the DBA Act provides that damages are awarded if a person or property on, in or under land or water suffers personal injury, loss of life, material loss, damage or destruction caused by an impact with an aircraft that was in flight, or something which fell from an aircraft, or something which as a result of an impact with an aircraft or part of aircraft or something falling from an aircraft during flight.
Damages are ‘uncapped’, that is, there is no theoretical cap on the amount of compensation for which defendants are potentially liable, although damages will in practice be limited to the value of an airlines’ insurance policy combined with its total liquidated assets. Compensation can be awarded for loss of income, general damages, pain and suffering, loss of future earning capacity, provision of domestic assistance and attendant care, and medical treatment expenses.
Physically and psychologically injured passengers have the right to pursue compensation under the law. Our airline accident lawyers have expertise in assessing damages for a range of injuries, including musculoskeletal injuries, lacerations, bruises, fractures, joint dislocation, spinal injury, blunt trauma, burns, heart attack, head injury, hearing loss, eye injuries, food contamination, paralysis, amputations, death and psychological trauma.
If you have been injured in an airline accident, you should seek legal advice immediately. Whether your plane accident has occurred on a domestic or international flight, there is a strict 2 year time limit for commencing legal action. Failure to commence a law suit within this time period will result in loss of potential entitlements.
Do not sign any release papers supplied by airline representatives, concerning compensation, refunds or bonus flights without obtaining independent legal advice first. Your personal injury claim could be worth thousands of dollars, and it is important that you receive professional legal advice before signing your rights away.
Our airline accident compensation lawyers have expertise in aviation law and personal injury compensation. They generally conduct personal injury claims on a No Win No Fee basis. Under a No Win No Fee agreement, you do not have to pay your lawyer’s professional costs unless you are successful in your claim. If you would like free initial legal advice without further obligation, contact us today.LAWYER HELPLINE: ☎ 1800 339 958
The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here