International travel can present travelers with some unique legal issues, including jurisdictional conflicts. In some cases, the claims may involve a different country or a foreign airport or airline. The Montreal Convention addresses the inherent issues that many Indiana personal injury victims face after these types of accidents. The Montreal Convention is a multilateral treaty adopted by many counties to establish standards for the international transport of passengers, baggage, and cargo. It covers all international flights between counties that are a party to the treaty.
A significant portion of the treaty includes what rights passengers have when they suffer injuries on a flight, experience a flight disruption, or an adverse situation with their luggage or cargo. At its core, the treaty makes an airline strictly liable for injuries or death that a passenger experiences, because of an “accident” that occurs while embarking or disembarking the aircraft.
Issues often arise over the circumstances surrounding an “accident,” and what the term covers. Courts tend to agree that the term “accident” is vague, but that it does include injuries resulting from terroristic activities, passenger assaults, and an airline’s failure to treat passengers who are experiencing a medical event adequately. Further complications develop when the harmful event occurs outside of the aircraft. In these situations, courts will evaluate whether the incident happened when the victim was in the “operation” of boarding or exiting the plane. This inquiry involves looking at the victim’s actions when the event occurred and the exact location of the incident.
For example, recently, an appellate court issued an opinion in a case hinging on whether a passenger was in the operation of disembarking from an aircraft when he suffered injuries. In that case, the airline crew accused the passenger of theft and searched his bags. Although their search did not reveal anything, they decided to hand him off to authorities after deboarding. The passenger explained that he recently underwent leg surgery and was in the process of recovering. However, the crew did not permit the man to rest and required him to walk for several minutes without a break. The man was eventually let go, and he subsequently filed a lawsuit against the airline for his injuries. However, the airline asked the court to dismiss the case citing the Montreal Convention.
The defendants argued that the Montreal Convention applied because the event causing the passenger’s injuries began inflight. Therefore, the treaty’s two-year statute of limitations should apply as well. They asked the court to dismiss based on the passenger’s failure to bring the suit in a timely manner. The court concluded that the man failed to prove that the injury did not begin during his flight. Thus, the Montreal Convention applies, and his case was time-barred.
Have You Suffered Damages in an Indiana Airline Accident?
If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident on an airline or at an airport, contact the Indiana premises liability attorneys at Parr Richey Frandsen Patterson Kruse. The attorneys at Parr Richey Frandsen Patterson Kruse use our strengths to your advantage. Our attorneys possess the resources and experience to successfully represent clients in their claims for damages against negligent parties. We understand how important recovery is for our clients, and we work to ensure that our clients obtain the compensation they deserve. Contact our office at 317-269-2509 to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney at our law firm.