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International Air Travel and Airplane Injuries – Limitations

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Regardless of the injury (or loss of life), a claim against an airline for injuries that occured during international travel may be subject to strict limitations. The definition of “international travel” is strictly applied and will turn on locations listed on your passenger ticket. There may also be variations based on the countries to which you travelled. The evidence required to overcome monentary claim limitations…

will be subject to conventions, agreements, protocols and treaties of the United States and the particular airline. The law in this area is somewhat complex and must be carefully evaluated. Additionally, all claims falling under the Convention must be brought within two years.

For injuries occuring before November of 2003, the Warsaw Convention amended by the Hague and Montreal Agreement may apply as may the IATA Intercarrier Agreement along with the IATA Measures to Implement. These may provide for monetary limitations as low as $75,000 per person, which in some cases will not even cover the medical expenses. Your lawyer must present certain evidence to the jury from which the jury will consider whether the conduct of the airline amounted to recklessness under certain circumstances. There are also variations based on whether the airline has joined into certain agreements.

For injuries occuring on flights after November of 2003, the Montreal Convention of 1999 applies. This raises the cap to 100,000 SDR’s (about $150,000) and shifts the burden to the air carrier to put forward evidence as to why the limitation should be adhered to. Again, your lawyer should carefully evaluate the case and determine which law or sets of law apply.