What Are The Liabilities of Airline Companies In Aviation Accidents?

Compared to buses or ships, airplanes have given passengers a more convenient means of transportation. For this reason, many people have opted for this mode in getting to their destination. But while it is convenient and fast, traveling on an airplane also pose potential risks to passengers. Houston personal injury attorneys of William Kherkher will tell you that due to the height and speed involved in aviation accidents, they are more dangerous and devastating than other vehicle accidents.

According to the website of LaMarca Law Group, PC, there are different kinds of aviation accidents that are often fatal and result to death. While there are different factors that could have contributed to the accident, the liability is often a big question. Whoever will be deemed responsible for the crash can be held accountable for the following kinds of liabilities:

Civil Liability

Article 106 of the Civil Aviation Act encompasses national air transportation and is applicable to domestic flights. Those not covered by the Act shall be under the jurisdiction of the Warsaw Convention 1929 and the Hague Protocol of 1955. In cases not covered by the said conventions, obligations and trade law principles are applicable.

Civil liabilities of airline companies can either be limited or unlimited. In principle, the liability of carriers is limited. Under the Montreal Protocol of Turkey, the liability of carriers is limited to 16,600 special drawing rights. It becomes unlimited under the following conditions:

  • There was no flight ticket issued or flight ticket is not issued as required
  • Damage was a result of intentional, reckless, or negligent actions of the carrier or its employees

Criminal Liability

If the accident caused death or injury to passengers, certain provisions of the Criminal Code shall be applied. If the crash killed some or all of the passengers, the liable individuals shall be prosecuted ex officio with a charge of negligent manslaughter. Being legal entities, the legal representatives can also be charged.

If the accident caused bodily injury, the responsible individuals will be charged after the filing of a complaint by the injured parties. If the case involves conscious negligence, the prosecution will be ex officio.

Who Can File?

In case of death, the relatives of the passenger may file a case against the airline company and its employees. For claims involving bodily injuries, only the injured party can recover damages. They must prove the occurrence of the accident and the causation between the damages and the accident. Under related laws, the accident must have happened either in the aircraft or during boarding or alighting. The statute of limitations of aviation accidents is two years from the date the aircraft landed or it was scheduled to land. In case of death, recoverable damages include:

  • Treatment and funeral expenses, damages for inability to work and compensation for material damages
  • Compensation for immaterial damages for emotional distress following the death of the passenger

In case of injury, the injured passenger can collect compensation for material (cost of treatment and loss of work) and compensation for immaterial damages.

In terms of liability in international flights, the rights of injured parties are guaranteed by international conventions such as the Montreal Convention, Warsaw Convention, and Hague Protocol.

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