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How to Claim Accident Compensation from an Airline

The aim of this guide is to explain how to claim accident compensation from an airline, it is a complex process and may not be as straight forward as other personal injury claims. If you are unfortunate enough to sustain an injury on a flight you may have to claim compensation for an aircraft accident in a foreign country, this means reporting how the accident occurred and the process for receiving help may be alien to you and possibly in a language you do not understand. Therefore you are best advised to speak with a personal injury solicitor as soon as you return home to discuss how you can claim accident compensation from an airline.

What Actions should you take in the Immediate Aftermath of an Accident?

Your first priority in the aftermath of an accident should be your health, you are advised to seek immediate professional medical care at the first possible opportunity. It is also recommended that you visit the accident and emergency department of your local hospital or make an urgent appointment to see your GP when you return home, this should be done no matter how good the medical services are in the country in which your accident occurred. This will also allow any continuing effects of your accident to be monitored when you return and if you are claiming compensation from an airline this evidence will substantiate your claim.

A comprehensive medical examination is imperative for the good of your health, but it is also important because it ensures that the injuries you sustained in your airline accident will be recorded in your medical history and used to substantiate any claim for compensation for an aircraft accident.

You risk exacerbating any injury sustained in the incident if you fail to visit your local GP or hospital and the amount of compensation you receive may also be affected if the court believes you contributed to your injury through your own lack of care. Therefore, even if you were suffering from a condition such as food poisoning which was caused by food you consumed during the flight– and you believe it has now left your system – it is still in your best interests to seek a professional medical examination.

Establishing Negligence when Claiming Compensation from an Airline

There are a number of other factors you should bear in mind when claiming compensation for an aircraft accident and they are listed below:-

  • If you are claiming compensation from an airline, please be aware that there are numerous legislative acts which could impact your eligibility; the procedure for a personal injury claim is not the same as a compensation claim for an airline accident. You may have to claim under the Athens Convention if the airport of departure and airport of destination are different – as is the case with most flights – or it may be possible to make your compensation claim through the Package Travel Regulations 1992 if your flight was booked through a tour operator based in the UK.
  • Under the Athens Convention you will not be required to demonstrate negligence in your compensation claim – just that you suffered an injury. However the Athens Convention allows only two years from the ‘date of knowledge’ that you have suffered an injury to claim compensation from an airline.
  • You are also advised to maintain any documentation given to you by a doctor and keep any receipts associated with attaining medical assistance, the acquisition of medicines or medical devices. You could also include the cost of returning to the United Kingdom if your trip was cut short or if the injury sustained meant you were forced to stay in the country longer than intended.
  • You are also advised where possible, to take photographs of the hazard that caused the accident as they will be used to substantiate a claim for accident compensation from an airline. Similarly if you suffered food poisoning and you believe the in-flight food was to blame you should contact other passengers on the flight to investigate if they also experienced illness.

How Much Compensation Am I Eligible for?

A number of factors must be taken into account when determining the amount of compensation for an aircraft accident you are entitled to. The most important of which, is the jurisdiction your claim falls under. If the accident occurred under UK jurisdiction, you would be eligible to claim accident compensation from an airline; for the pain suffered at the time of your accident, the impact that your injury had on your quality of life and any emotional trauma you experienced due to your accident or injury. However, many other countries have lower levels of compensation than the United Kingdom and it is possible that not all these elements will apply if you are claiming compensation from an airline in a different country.

It was briefly mentioned earlier that you may be eligible to claim under the Package Travel Regulations 1992 which – although you are claiming for the same injury – could result in a higher settlement of your compensation claim than if you claimed under the Athens Convention. This is because claiming against your tour operator under the Package Travel Regulations would allow your claim to take place in the UK rather than abroad.

Other issues with Claiming Compensation for an Aircraft Accident

There are other issues you may encounter when claiming compensation from an airline. For example, even if you have compelling evidence, the airline liable for your injuries or illness may dispute their involvement meaning that you are forced to wait for medical and accident reports which could delay the submission of your claim close to the two/three year limit. If you fail to seek prompt medical attention in the aftermath of your accident your claim could also be compromised.

If you are investigating how to claim accident compensation from an airline, be aware that you may also be approached by the airline’s insurance company with a direct or unsolicited offer of compensation once the insurance company are aware of the airline’s liability. Accepting an offer of early compensation represents a major risk for the claimant as you will be unaware of the amount of compensation that is appropriate for your injuries which could mean you are under compensated for your injuries if you accept an early offer. Therefore, it is best advised that you have your compensation claim for an airline accident assessed by a solicitor.

How to Claim Accident Compensation from an Airline – Summary

It is important to remember that no two compensation claims are identical and many factors could affect your eligibility to claim, even seasoned travellers or those who undertake trips overseas on business will encounter difficulties if they are seeking to claim accident compensation from an airline. You should always bear in mind that the amount of compensation for an aircraft accident you receive is likely to be reliant on the country in which your claim is made.

Additionally in order to ensure you receive the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to, you are advised to discuss the circumstances surrounding your claim for airline compensation with a personal injury solicitor at the first possible opportunity.