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Claiming compensation under the Montreal Convention

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Suffering from injuries or property damage is already stressful enough, so it only worsens the situation when this happens to you whilst travelling. Air passenger rights are notoriously unclear, which can leave you feeling confused about what you are entitled to and whether you are eligible to make a claim.

There have been pieces of legislation that have been put into place that can help individuals in this situation, one of which is the Montreal Convention.

If you have been injured whilst travelling abroad or your property has been damaged or lost, you may have questions regarding what you can make a claim for and the rights that you have.


Claiming compensation under the Montreal convention: A brief history


In 1929, the Warsaw Convention was introduced, which would lay the foundation for air passenger rights. Its influence includes the introduction of boarding passes, mandatory tickets, receipts for checked luggage and other items. Liability in the event of death or personal injury was also introduced in this document.

Then almost 70 years later, State Parties decided to draft an entirely new treaty in an attempt to standardise air travel rules around the world. In 1999, the Montreal Convention was drafted and signed, which then replaced the existing Warsaw Convention.

The Montreal Convention 1999 governs international carriage by air. One of the most critical aspects of this legislation is the concept of strict liability that was introduced. This ensured that air carriers are strictly liable for what occurs during their flights. Then in 2003, the U.S Senate ratified the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air.

This is separate to EU 261/2004 as this only covers flights within the European Union, not international flights to locations such as the United States.


What are your rights under the Montreal Convention?


· Flight delays, flight disruption and cancellations – In the Convention, it states that the airline company should be held liable for damage caused by delay in the carriage of passengers. Therefore, if your flight is cancelled or delayed, the airline is obliged to take care of you and your co-passengers.

If you are delayed for longer than two hours, the airline must provide you with beverages and food. If the delay means that you will have to spend the night in that location, the airline must pay for accommodation and other expenses, such as additional travel costs.

· Compensation for delayed baggage, loss of baggage or damaged baggage – Airlines must also pay compensation if the airline delays, loses or damages their passenger’s baggage. You have seven days to inform the airline about your damaged or lost luggage. If you wish to make a baggage claim, you must submit the claim within seven days.

You should ensure that you have filled out a Property Irregularity Report (PIR) with all of the relevant information regarding the incident. This form can be filled in at the check-in desk or the baggage claim desk.

· Claiming compensation following the injury or death of a passenger –There are many types of accident that could happen on board an aircraft. If you have suffered injuries as a result of an airline accident, whether during the flight, whilst boarding or exiting the aircraft, you may be able to make an airline accident claim for compensation under the Montreal Convention.

The airline will also have to pay compensation to the family of a passenger that passes away. You have up to two years after the date of your flight to claim compensation for your injuries.


Claiming compensation under the Montreal Convention: Which flights are covered by the Montreal Convention?


All international flights between the member states that have signed the Montreal Convention are covered by the Convention. If the flight was domestic, then the law of that country will apply.


Claiming compensation under the Montreal Convention: How do I claim compensation?


To claim compensation under the Montreal Convention, air passengers must be able to provide proof to support their claim and justify the amount of compensation requested.

Therefore, you should ensure that you keep any receipts that show additional expenses you incurred as a result of the accident or disruption, as well as any documents that relate to your flight/or any alternative flights. Examples of these documents are luggage tags, boarding passes, electronic tickets or booking confirmations.

Also, you should try to find out the reason for the disruption and potentially obtain a document from the airline attesting to the reason.

If you are claiming for a luggage issue, you should provide photos of the damaged luggage to show the extent of the damage and any receipts that acknowledge the value of your items.

If you would like to make a personal injury claim under the Convention, you should ensure that you seek appropriate medical attention for your injuries. You should also contact Wildwood Legal to speak to one of our specialist personal injury Solicitors.


How much will claiming under the Montreal Convention cost?


Our accident solicitors will always be 100% transparent about what our charges are, and if we take on your case, we will almost always do so on a Conditional Fee Agreement (also known as a No Win, No Fee basis).

This means that if you do not win your case, you do not pay us any fees at all. If we win the case, we take a small percentage of your compensation, which we will agree with you beforehand, to cover our costs.

We will never ask you to sign anything until you are completely happy with what it is that we are proposing.


How much compensation could I receive when claiming under the Montreal Convention?


An International Monetary Fund (IMF) has been set up to establish a specific currency relating to damages for these types of claims. The currency under the International Monetary Fund is known as Special Drawing Rights (SDR). The current SDR rate is:

1 EUR = 0.8 SDR

1 GBP = 0.9 SDR

For property damage, the Montreal Convention allows a claim for compensation of up to 4,694 SDR. Up to 100,000 SDR can be claimed in the case of personal injury or death. The amount of compensation you will receive for an injury will depend on the severity of the injury and the amount of time taken for you to recover from said injury.


How can Wildwood Legal assist?


At Wildwood Legal, we pride ourselves on the high level of customer service we offer all our clients.

Our experts aim to provide you with the best possible advice, be as flexible as possible to fit your needs and communicate with every client using language they will understand. We will guide you throughout the claims process and be by your side every step of the way.

If you have suffered from an accident due to an airline’s negligence, call us today on 01423 209 046 to speak to one of our specialist solicitors about your claim, or fill in the enquiry form below.

We are a law firm registered in England and Wales and are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

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