The Montreal Convention
The Montreal Convention 1999 is a set of rules that govern international carriage by air whose purpose is to harmonise international laws relating to civil liability and ensure passengers can enforce their rights as simply as possible.
It has been part of the law of England and Wales since 2004.
How does it work?
The Montreal Convention gives passengers the right to claim compensation for death or personal injury from the airline on which they travelled.
Providing that airline is based in a country that has signed up to the Montreal Convention (and the vast majority of countries have done), and your flight was an international one, a claim can be brought under Article 17.
Article 17 of the Montreal Convention says that the airline 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’.
On the basis that you can prove you had an accident on board the flight or for that matter, whilst getting on or coming off the flight, Article 17 says that the airline must pay you compensation for your injuries.
No fault liability
Article 17 creates what lawyers call ‘strict liability’ meaning that as long as you can prove you suffered an accident (by which is meant an unexpected or unusual event that was external to yourself) and your claim is worth less than 100,000 Special Drawing Rights the airline is liable to pay compensation.
Special Drawing Rights
Compensation under the Montreal Convention is calculated according to Special Drawing Rights or SDRs.
SDRs were created by the International Monetary fund. A single SDR is equivalent to £1 or thereabouts.
Unless you have suffered very serious injuries, your claim is unlikely to exceed 100,000 SDRs.
Where do I bring my claim?
The Montreal Convention is very much geared toward passengers and making their lives as simple as possible when it comes to bringing a claim.
Article 33 gives you a choice of jurisdictions (places to bring your claim) that effectively means you can bring your claim in your home country regardless of where you were travelling from.
So if you were travelling home to Manchester from New York and suffered an injury, you could bring your claim in England.
Are there any time limits to bringing a claim?
You have 2 years from the date of your accident. This is a strict time limit and unlike time limits that apply to other types of personal injury claims , it cannot be varied.
If you have had an accident either on board a flight or whilst getting on or coming off your flight in the past 2 years, you need to seek advice as soon as possible from us about bringing your claim.
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