Air travel is part of everyday life for most Australians. Whether you need to travel for work, have family interstate, or enjoy overseas holidays, you are probably a member of at least one frequent flyer program. You have hopefully also never needed an aircraft accidents lawyer before.
Whilst air crashes are rare, aircraft accidents occurring in the cabin or whilst boarding or disembarking a flight are fairly common. If you have been injured during air travel, we have the aircraft accidents lawyer you need on your side with the expertise to bring your aircraft accident compensation claim.
What happens if I am injured on a flight?
Here are our top 3 pieces of advice if you’ve been hurt on a flight:
- Inform the cabin crew immediately. They will be able to provide you with first aid and assess whether you are fit to fly to your destination. In cases of serious injury, flights are diverted for the injured passenger to receive medical treatment. Your report to cabin crew will also help prove how your aircraft accident occurred if you later bring an aircraft accident compensation claim.
- Take photographs of what caused your accident and the surrounding area. Whether you have been injured by falling luggage or a faulty tray table, take photographs. Once you disembark the flight, it will be almost impossible to get this evidence to support an aircraft accident compensation claim.
- Get the names and contact details of witnesses. Ask any witnesses and the passengers seated next to you for their names and contact details. If you later bring an aircraft accident compensation claim, their recollections could help you win your aircraft accident compensation claim.
What types of aircraft accident can you help with?
As an experienced aircraft accidents lawyer our Victoria Roy has helped countless passengers with various aircraft accident compensation claims. The types of aircraft injury claim that we can help with include:
- Claims arising from international, domestic, sightseeing and private flights
- Trips and slips in airport terminals
- Trips and slips on the aerobridge / gangway between the terminal building to the aircraft
- Injuries occurring during bus transfers between the terminal building and the aircraft
- Trips, slips and other accidents occurring on external passenger steps when boarding or disembarking the aircraft
- Accidents caused by falling objects, such as from overhead lockers
- Burns from spilled hot drinks
- Injuries caused by food carts
- Injuries caused by defective equipment, such as tray tables and arm rests
- Insufficient warning prior to turbulence
- Wrongful death claims following aircraft tragedies
My aircraft accident happened overseas. Can you still help me?
Absolutely! Whether your accident occurred in Australia or overseas, we can help you bring an aircraft accident compensation claim.
What laws apply to aircraft accident compensation claims?
The laws that apply to aircraft accident claims are complicated, and vary depending on what type of flight you were on.
- International flights: your aircraft accident claim will fall under one of two international conventions – the Warsaw Convention or the Montreal Convention – depending on your flight origin and destination.
- Interstate flights: for accidents that occur on flights between states or territories, your aircraft accident compensation claim will be covered by federal legislation called the Civil Aviation (Carriers Liability) Act 1959.
- Intrastate flights: If you were injured on a flight between two destinations within the same state or territory, your aircraft accident compensation claim will be covered by the state or territory’s version of civil aviation legislation such as the Civil Aviation (Carriers Liability) Act 1959 in New South Wales.
- Private flights: If you were injured during a private flight and were not a ticket holding passenger, such as a recreational flight, your aircraft accident compensation claim will be covered by the civil liability legislation of your state or territory, such as the Civil Liability Act 2002 in New South Wales.
We will explain the law that applies to your case in plain english, and what you need to prove to win your aircraft accident compensation claim.
Do I have to prove negligence to win an aircraft accident compensation claim?
Whether you need to prove negligence depends on the type of flight your aircraft accident occurred on:
- Aircraft accident compensation claims for international and domestic passenger flights are different to mainstream compensation claims. Injured passengers do not have to prove negligence. However, you do have to prove other criteria specific to aircraft accidents.
- For injuries occurring on private flights, you have to prove negligence in the usual way. In many states and territories, defendants are able to use strong defences relating to recreational activities such as pleasure flights.
As the law is complex when it comes to aircraft accident compensation claims, it best to speak to an expert aviation lawyer. Our founder and principal solicitor Victoria Roy has acted for injured aircraft passengers and their families since 2010.
What are my rights if I am injured boarding or disembarking a plane?
If you are an airline passenger who is injured whilst boarding or disembarking the plane, you are able to bring an aircraft accident compensation claim against the airline. This is the case even if the airline were not at fault.
There are complex legal criteria which determine at what point in your journey you begin ‘boarding’ and finish ‘disembarking’.
We will explain the law to you, and what you need to prove for your aircraft accident compensation claim to be successful.
What are my rights if I am injured in an airport terminal?
If you are injured at the airport terminal whilst boarding or disembarking the aircraft (for example, slipping on rubbish as you scan your boarding pass), you can bring an aircraft accident compensation claim against the airline. You do not need to prove that the airline was at fault.
If your injury occurred at another point in the air travel process (for example, at check in), you may have a negligence claim against the person or organisation at fault.
Our expert aircraft accidents lawyer is able to assist in both scenarios.
Can you help if I was injured in a private aircraft?
Absolutely! Whilst the majority of our aircraft accident compensation claims relate to commercial flights, we are still able to assist you if you were injured on a private aircraft such as during a recreational flight.
Should I complain to the airline about an aircraft accident?
Yes. We recommend that you inform ground staff or cabin crew immediately after your aircraft accident occurs. They can arrange medical assistance if necessary. Your report will also help to prove what happened if you later bring an aircraft accident compensation claim.
Can I sue a foreign airline for an aircraft accident?
Many foreign airlines service Australia, whether it is directly or through code share arrangements.
Generally speaking, if Australia was the destination on your ticket, you can sue a foreign airline here. This will cover all legs of a return trip from Australia, because returning to Australia is the final destination on your ticket.
If you are not able to sue the foreign airline in Australia, we work in conjunction with expert aircraft accidents lawyer firms overseas to help you bring your claim in the most appropriate country.
What time limits apply to aircraft accident compensation claims?
In most cases you only have two years to bring an aircraft accident compensation claim. This is a strict time limit and cannot be extended.
It is important to get advice from a specialist aircraft accidents lawyer, as this deadline is shorter than most personal injury claims.
Will I have to go to court if I bring a claim?
In our experience, most cases against airlines settle. We invite airlines to have settlement meetings and attempt to resolve the claim without going to court.
If court proceedings are necessary, the court will set a timetable for the case including ordering you and the airline to have a settlement meeting or mediation. It is very unusual for a claim to go to a final hearing / trial.
How do I choose an aviation lawyer?
We’ve put together our top 5 questions to ask yourself when choosing an aviation lawyer for your aircraft accident compensation claim:
- What experience do they have? The law relating to aircraft accident compensation claims is complex. You need an aviation lawyer who has dealt with aircraft injury compensation claims like yours before. Our Victoria Roy has been helping passengers with aircraft accident compensation claims since 2010.
- How knowledgable are they on aviation law? Aircraft accident compensation claims are more complicated than general personal injury claims. that apply. The criteria that you have to prove and time limits are different to everyday cases, and can catch general personal injury lawyers out. Whilst general compensation lawyers may only come across a few aircraft accident cases in the course of their career, we work in this specialist field every day. Our founder and principal solicitor Victoria Roy also trains other lawyers in this area. If you want a lawyer, who knows their stuff, you’ve come to the right place!
- Will they pass your file to less qualified staff, or deal with it personally? We are proud to be a small law firm who can give a personalised service to all of our clients. Our founder and principal solicitor Victoria Roy deals with all of our clients’ cases herself. Your call won’t be screened by a secretary or paralegal, and you can access Victoria’s calendar at any time to make an instant appointment to talk to her about your case.
- What do they charge? We work on all aircraft accident compensation claims on a No Win No Fee basis. This means that if we don’t win your case, you don’t have to pay for our work. Better still, thanks to low overheads the hourly rate that we charge is very competitive compared to other law firms. A specialist aviation lawyer charging less than the big personal injury firms? Who could ask for more?!
- Do you like them? It is really important that you like whichever aviation lawyer you chose to represent you. You need to feel heard when you tell your story. You should feel at ease with your lawyer so you can ask any question that comes up. Our Victoria Roy is a warm, empathetic and extremely approachable lawyer. Find out more about her here or book a free no-obligation initial appointment with her. After you’ve spoken to Victoria, if you don’t think we’re the right firm for you, we won’t be offended.