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Personal injury claims against airlines

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Air travel is usually associated with sunny getaways or winter escapes; however, some passengers have had to experience a much more sinister side to the popular mode of transport. Thousands of people fly from UK airports every day, but not everyone will be guaranteed to have a pleasant and enjoyable flight. Whether individuals have suffered whiplash due to a bumpy landing or tripped over on their way to the bathroom, it is possible that an airline injury claim can be made.


Common types of accident on board an aircraft

When you think of aeroplane flight injuries, the first thing you may think of is a plane crash. However, this is extremely unlikely. In fact, you are more likely to be struck by lightning this year.

The most common causes of aeroplane injuries are:

  • Trips and slips
  • Physical assaults
  • A bumpy landing
  • Turbulence
  • Accidents from spillages of hot drinks or food
  • Illness caused by food served on the aircraft
  • Injuries caused by falling objects, such as luggage from overhead lockers
  • Injuries to staff working on the plane

The aforementioned causes of injury can happen in everyday life; although, they can have much more damaging effects when 42,000 feet in the air. If you have been injured in any type of airline accident, Wildwood Legal are experts in making personal injury claims against airlines.


Common injuries caused by accidents on an aircraft

Multiple injuries may be caused as a consequence of these types of accidents; however, the most common injuries caused are:

  • Broken bones or fractures
  • Back injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Concussion or another type of head injury
  • Nerve damage
  • Soft tissue damage
  • Burn injuries
  • Food poisoning
  • Lacerations and scarring

Furthermore, some injuries may cause deeper scarring and have an impact psychologically. If so, an individual may experience a psychological injury, such as PTSD, anxiety or depression, affecting their everyday life.


Making a personal injury claim against an airline


If you were travelling on a domestic flight (from one location in the UK to another), the appropriate domestic law would apply. Therefore, the laws used would either be the law of England and Wales, Northern Ireland or Scotland.

If you had an accident whilst you were travelling internationally, personal injury claims against airlines would be made under the Montreal Convention 1999. When claiming under the Montreal Convention for an accident in an international flight, the process can be quite straightforward as the rules place strict liability on airlines.

Simply, this means that if you were involved in an accident on an aeroplane and were injured due to the negligence of the airline, you will be able to make a claim as they have a duty of care to keep you safe at all times when flying with them. However, this convention has strict time limits, and the claimant must bring the claim within two years of the accident. 


What to do following an accident on an aeroplane? 


Personal injury claims against airlines should run smoothly; however, it is always great to gather relevant evidence that can be used in the future if necessary.

Following the incident, it can be helpful to ask for the details of any other passengers who witnessed the accident, as we may need to contact them to request a witness statement.

In addition, you should try to take photographs of the accident scene, if possible. For example, the piece of loose carpet that you tripped on when walking to the toilet.

Once you have disembarked the aircraft, it is important that you visit a GP, hospital or Accident and Emergency centre to have your injuries examined, noted and treated.

Then, you should contact a solicitor and seek legal advice, enabling you to plan how to proceed. 

Personal injury claims against airlines: What can you claim?


An airline accident claim is a personal injury matter for which general damages can be claimed. This refers to the monetary value you will receive to compensate for your pain, suffering and loss of amenity.

Moreover, special damages can be claimed. These are any direct financial losses that have incurred due to your injuries. For example, you fall on a plane and break a leg, thus not allowing you to work for six months. Many individuals are not able to work for long periods of time after suffering an injury, leaving them extremely financially vulnerable. 


How much compensation will I receive?

The amount of general damages compensation received for a personal injury claim is completely dependent on the type of injury and the recovery period for said injury. When assessing the injury and the relative compensation, the Judicial College guidelines are used. Within the Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases, a minor brain or head injury is valued at £1,760 to £10,180.

Furthermore, general damages for an ankle injury that has caused some permanent problems is estimated at £10,960 to £21,200. The list is extremely comprehensive and is likely to cover most injuries that could be caused on an aircraft, or during embarkation or disembarkation. Recent caselaw will also be used when providing a valuation for your injuries.

Alongside the general damages, it may be possible to make a claim for any additional financial losses, known as special damages. The amount of special damages received depends on the amount of losses that have been experienced due to the aeroplane injury.

Within the special damages figure, many losses can be accounted for, such as; loss of earnings, loss of future earnings, treatment costs, travel costs, costs of care and costs of adapting your home or car. These losses completely depend on the type of injury and the recovery period for your injury.

If you have been involved in an accident that has caused permanent damage, the figure for special damages would be a significant amount as your future losses would have to be accounted for.

If you have suffered a long term or permanent injury, you may be able to claim ‘Smith v Manchester’ compensation within your claim. Originally, this type of compensation came from a case in which future earning capacity was affected; this is where the type of compensation also found its name.

This type of compensation may be applicable within an airline injury matter so long as we can prove that there is a real risk that within your future, you may be out of work, prior to your retirement age, and due to your injury.

Additionally, we also need to prove that your injuries from the airline accident may put you at a disadvantage when finding new work. Further to this, we could consider whether you may have to take a lower-paying job.

Medical evidence and witness statements can be extremely useful when trying to prove this. There are also many factors that are relevant when considering whether a ‘Smith v Manchester’ award is likely, such as; the type of work that you are doing, the length of service with your employer and your work history. These factors are worth considering as they may result in further compensation.


How much do personal injury claims against airlines cost?

When conducting a personal injury claim, we work on a ‘no win, no fee’ agreement. This is formally known as a Conditional Fee Agreement. Therefore, if your claim for personal injury against an airline is unsuccessful, you will not have to pay any solicitors fees.

We will only recommend you commence an airline injury claim if we believe that it has more than 50% prospects of success. Due to our teams’ experience, we are very skilled in providing useful advice.

In order to fund the claim, we will take out an ATE insurance policy which will cover any costs incurred during the process of the matter. These costs may include medical fees, Counsel fees or Court fees; however, the list of disbursements may be extensive. Once the matter has concluded, the client would not face any charges for disbursements that have been incurred during the process of the claim. The claimant will only have to pay for the ATE insurance if their case is successful.

Furthermore, if your case is successful, a success fee, which will be limited to 25% of the compensation, will be taken from the damages, and the remaining compensation will be paid directly to the successful claimant.


How can Wildwood Legal help with an airline injury claim?

Wildwood Legal is a law firm that specialises in several different types of claims, including personal injury claims against airlines. Our extensive experience in handling complicated accident claims allows us to guarantee that we will work tirelessly to make sure that you receive the maximum compensation.

Air travel is an extremely safe mode of transport; however, there are a minority of individuals who have been involved in airline accidents. We strive to help those who have experienced an accident on board an aircraft and help to provide closure on incidents that may have been quite traumatic.

It may also be presumed that only passengers on the aircraft can make a personal injury claim, although it is also possible to proceed with an injury claim if you are an air steward and have had an accident at work.

To start your claim for compensation now, please contact 01423 209 046, where our experts can provide initial free legal advice, advise you on the prospects of success within your case and discuss the most efficient way to begin the claim.

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If you are thinking about making a claim, we would love to hear from you.  We will give you clear, honest advice.

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