The Right to Compensation for Plane Crash Victims

Nobody likes to think about being in a plane crash when traveling. It does happen, and people should know what to expect if it does. Important information about what will occur after a plane crash is printed on a person's plane ticket. There will be information concerning what an airline is required to do by law in the event of such an event.

Airline Requirements
When it comes to international flights, an international air carrier treaty was put in place in 1999 to address what would happen after aircraft accidents. This happened at the Montreal Convention and was adopted by a United Nations agency known as the Civil Aviation Organization (CAO). This treaty stipulates that if an airline is found at fault for an accident, each affected passenger is to get a minimum value equal to 113,100 special drawing rights. This type of plane crash compensation currently equals approximately $170,000 per passenger. During the past several decades, there have been limitations placed on victims for what they can recover from an airline under the international treaties and laws. If it can be proven that an airline did not take all required precautions for a flight; there will be no limit to what a victim can recover.

Every plane crash is heavily investigated. There is quite a bit of data that is collected to determine the reason for a plane crash. This information will be used to determine if the pilot, airplane or airplane parts manufacturer or others were at fault. It many cases, liability can be assigned on a percentage basis. It's possible for an airline to be 30 percent at fault for an accident if it's determined their safety inspections of the plane was improper, or a faulty part was not replaced. A manufacturer can be found to be 70 percent at fault if they made the faulty part and did not realize it could cause a plane crash. The settlements plane crash victims receive will be based on the percentage of determined liability.

Should a plane crash occur, an airplane accident lawyer is prevented by U.S. Federal law from contacting any possible clients associated with an airplane accident for a minimum of 45 days after the incident occurs. It is still possible for an airplane crash victim to contact an attorney immediately after the incident. It is possible for an airplane crash to involve many passengers. It could become a case of multi-district litigation (MDL). Should there be a number of cases filed in several different federal courts for the same incident, an MDL judicial panel would determine if all the cases should be combined into one court for litigation.

Compensation Limits
If there is a request for compensation that is higher than the maximum value under the Montreal Convention treaty, the airline can contest the request. Should it be proven that the damages caused by the accident were not the result of a wrongful act or negligence on the part of an airline, the airline's agents or staff, the airline may not be required to pay a higher amount of compensation. In this case, it must be proven that the damage was caused completely by the negligence or wrongful act of a third party. An airline is not able to contest a compensation claim that is within the maximum value under the Montreal Convention treaty.

Insurance Coverage
Every airline that operates around the world must have a certain level of mandatory insurance coverage. These insurance companies will be paying the compensation to victims in the case of an airplane accident. The final amount paid will be determined by the property and casualty coverage maintained by a particular airline. When it comes to an international airplane accident, the compensation will also be subject to the terms of international treaties.

The victim of an accident involving an airplane may try to recover two different types of airplane crash compensation damages. The first type is pecuniary damages. This will involve compensation for their medical treatments, loss of income, benefits to the survivors of a deceased family member and more. The other type is known as non-pecuniary damages. This is where the largest amounts of compensation are paid. It involves payment for pain and suffering. There are some places that will permit compensation for pain and suffering experienced prior to impact, as well as for what a person experiences during a crash.

By Carter Capner Law, Queensland
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Carter Capner Law
Carter Capner Law is a personal injury law firm in Queensland's Brisbane & Gold Coast that has delivered outstanding legal results for over 70 years.

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Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication at the time it was written. It is not intended to provide legal advice or suggest a guaranteed outcome as individual situations will differ and the law may have changed since publication. Readers considering legal action should consult with an experienced lawyer to understand current laws they may affect a case. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

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