The Montreal Convention is a Treaty that provides much of the governing law for passengers killed or injured on international commercial flights. It became effective in November 2003 and is significantly more favorable to victims and their families than the applicable predecessor treaties, e.g., the Warsaw Convention of 1929 and the Hague Protocol of 1955. Some of the more significant changes include:
- If a person is injured or killed on an international flight (including boarding and exiting), an airline is strictly liable (meaning liable without the victim having to prove the airline is at fault) for up to 100,000 Special Drawing Rights (SDRs). SDRs are a mix of currency values established by the International Monetary Fund. As of May 2010, one SDR equaled about $1.47.
- If more than 100,000 SDRs are sought, an airline may only avoid liability by showing that the injury or death was not caused by their negligence or that the injury or death was caused by the negligence of a third party. In other words, the burden of proof is placed on the airline and not the victim.
- Regardless of where the injury or death occurred, victims and/or their family members may sue foreign air carriers in the United States, if the United States was the victim”s principal residence at the time of the injury or death and if the foreign carrier maintains some sort of presence in the United States.
The attorneys at Hightower Angelley LLP have successfully handled numerous cases involving the Montreal Convention and its predecessor treaties and have the legal knowledge and practical experience required to obtain favorable results for our clients. Contact us to learn more.