What are your rights if you are injured while flying?


Although airplane travel today is extremely safe unfortunately accidents can still occur while travelling by air causing injuries to passengers.  This can include accidents as a result of overhead luggage falling on passengers or hot drinks being spilt on passengers in the course of inflight service.


Passengers are unsure if they have any rights in these circumstances.


Personal injuries or death to passengers on board airlines including injuries, including both physical and psychological which take place in the course of getting on and off a Plane are covered by the Montreal Convention 1999.


This states that any accident resulting in an injury while travelling is the responsibility of the airline company.  The airline company accepts liability for injuries as a condition of carriage up to a value of approx. €130,000.00.  Once your claim for damages does not exceed this amount a passenger will not have to prove any negligence on behalf of the airline and is automatically entitled to compensation.


What you need to do


Immediately report the accident to a member of staff on-board (or if the accident happened in the airport to the airport staff).  Details of the accident and any witnesses must be recorded in the airlines accident book.


You should go to your Doctor or hospital so that the injuries are recorded.


The Montreal Convention also states that in any such claim involving death or injury to passengers an action may be brought in either where the passenger live or where the plane was going to.


If your claim exceeds 113,100 SDRs (€132,000.00) the airline can defend itself and you will have to prove the airline was negligent.


EU Regulations also provide that any EU airlines have to be insured up to a level that is adequate to ensure that all persons entitled to compensation receive the full amount to which they are entitled.


Exceptions to claiming compensation for Injury will include any illness triggered by flying or self-inflicted injuries.  You can also be found to be contributorily negligent if you failed to follow warnings by the airline company, for example not having your seatbelt fastened during turbulence.


The Montreal Convention also covers special damages which include medical examinations, transportation costs, and other losses as a result of the injury.  You should keep receipts in respect of all such expenses.



You have a two year time limit to bring a case which is calculated from the date of arrival at the destination or the date on which the aircraft ought to have arrived at the destination.  If you do not bring your claim within that time your claim will be Statute Barred.


The claim will be initially processed through the Injuries Board.


If you have any queries in relation to an accident while on board a flight or require assistance in notifying the appropriate authorities and completing the Injuries Board application form please contact us.


Article by Celine Barrett