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Passenger Rights

Air travel is tightly regulated in the United States and the Aviation Consumer Protection and Enforcement Division of the U.S. Department of Transportation provides a comprehensive listing of a consumer’s fly-rights. Individuals not only have legal protections in place when it comes to flight delays and lost baggage, but they also have certain legal rights in the event that an aviation accident happens.

If the aviation accident occurs on international flights, the Montreal Convention dictates the rights of injured victims or surviving family members to take legal action. International, federal and local laws also apply in any case where a plaintiff sustains physical injuries due to airline policy, due to accidents on domestic flights, and even due to accidents on private planes. Understanding your rights is complicated and an experienced Boston aviation accidents lawyer can help you to learn about the protections the law provides and take advantage of those protections to make a claim for compensation.

Passenger Rights Aboard An Aircraft

Passengers can expect that airlines and those operating private aircraft carriers will have policies that protect the public from risks, including dangers on-board the plane. Passengers aboard airplanes thus have the right to take action if they are injured as a direct result of the policies on an airplane.

For example, while courts have generally held that airlines are not liable for instances of deep vein thrombosis that occurs as a result of a routine commercial flight, plaintiffs have recovered compensation in the past after experiencing blood clots and torn muscles when squeezed into a seat that an obese passenger in the next seat over was encroaching upon.

Passengers also have the right to compensation for lost bags and to be compensated if a flight is overbooked and they cannot fly or be transported within a reasonable time to their destination.

In most cases, incidents involving minor injuries or inconveniences to passengers in violation of their rights are resolved simply through an out-of-court settlement. In some cases, however, serious injury or death arises as a result of a plane crash involving a commercial or private plane. In these cases, it is especially important for injured victims to understand their legal rights and to get help from an aviation accident lawyer.

Passenger Rights in Case of Injury or Aviation Accidents

When an accident occurs on a plane, the rules governing the victim’s right to recovery will differ depending upon whether the plane was a commercial aircraft or a private plane.

When an international plane crashes, the Montreal Convention establishes the rights of injured victims. The Montreal Convention is an international aircraft treaty that the International Civil Aviation Organization adopted in 1999. Under this treaty, if an airline is found to be at fault for the accident, it is liable for as many as 113,100 special “drawing rights” for each passenger. The International Monetary Fund establishes the value of the drawing rights and, as of 2013, the value was set at around $170,000 per passenger.

Injured crash victims can also choose to file a lawsuit against a commercial airline carrier or can sue in cases where they were harmed in a crash aboard a private plane. When a lawsuit is filed, there is no limit on the amount of recovery a plaintiff can obtain from an airline or against the owner of an aircraft unless the airline can prove that it took all necessary precautions to prevent the aviation accident.

Plane crash victims have the right to take action not only against a commercial plane carrier or private plane owner, but also against anyone responsible for a defect in design or manufacture of the plane and its parts as well as against pilots on private aircrafts. However, the General Aviation Revitalization Act does bar claims against manufacturers when the plane is more than 18-years-old.

Taking Legal Action

If you have suffered an injury in an aviation accident or as a result of travel on a private or commercial plane, it is important to understand your legal rights. A Boston aviation accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman is here to help. Give us a call or contact us online today to learn more about how we can assist with your case.

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