International travel is available on several of the airlines that serve Massachusetts. As a result, if a passenger is hurt while flying or disembarking from a plane, it may be difficult to determine whether the airline is liable under US law. In many cases, the Montreal Convention applies, and in order to receive damages, a plaintiff must show that specific factors were present at the time of the accident. A recent Massachusetts case addressed the proof that a plaintiff must present in order to claim damages under the Montreal Convention. If you were injured while traveling, you may be entitled to compensation, and you should speak with an experienced Massachusetts personal injury lawyer about your options.
The Injuries Sustained by the Plaintiff
The plaintiff was reportedly flying from Boston, Massachusetts, to London, England. She was disembarking from the plane in London when she lost her footing on the penultimate step and collapsed, hurting both ankles. Although the step that led her to fall was larger than the previous one, no warnings were given, and no one from the defendant airline offered her aid when she disembarked. Following her fall, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant, claiming negligence and seeking damages under the Montreal Convention. The court granted the defendant’s petition for summary judgment on all counts.
Providing Evidence for Claims in Accordance with the Montreal Convention
The court pointed out that both the US and the UK are signatories to the Montreal Convention, which limits liability for international air carriers. A carrier is liable for bodily harm incurred by a passenger if the injury happens while the passenger is on the plane, disembarking, or embarking, and all other claims are preempted if a claim for damages arises under the Convention. To put it another way, an air carrier will not be liable for state law claims for harm covered by the Convention; instead, the Convention will be the sole remedy.
The court went on to say that if the Convention is found to apply, the injury must have occurred as a result of an accident. In other words, it must occur as a result of an unplanned or inappropriate occurrence while the aircraft is in operation. As a result, culpability will only be established if an injury is caused by an unexpected or unforeseeable incident that occurs outside of the passenger’s control. The court decided that the plaintiff’s injuries was not caused by an accident or an unforeseen occurrence, as it occurred when she was exiting the plane, based on the evidence of record. As a result, she was unable to rehabilitate under the Montreal Convention. Furthermore, the Montreal Convention claim precluded her negligence claim. The court approved the defendant’s petition for summary judgment based on the preceding.
Speak with a Massachusetts personal injury lawyer.
If you were injured on an international flight, you may be owed compensation, and the experienced personal injury lawyers of The Law Offices of John C. Manoog, III can advise you on your legal options and assist you in obtaining the best possible outcome in your case. You can reach us through our form online or at 888-262-6664 to set up a conference.