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What is the Montreal Convention and what rights does it confer on passengers? P.2

In our last post, we began looking at the Montreal Convention, which is one of the laws governing liability for international airline accidents. As we noted, the law imposes liability for damages resulting from the death or injury of passengers, compensating the latter with special drawing rights. Airlines are not able to limit liability if the damages do not exceed that amount.  

Airlines are, however, not liable for damages exceeding 100 000 Special Drawing Rights per passenger to the extent that the airline can show that the damage was not caused by the negligence or wrongful acts or omissions of the airline or its employees.  

Another important international law that governs litigation over international air accidents is the Warsaw Convention, upon which the Montreal Convention is built. The Montreal Convention built upon the Warsaw Convention specifically by eliminating liability limits and defenses to certain types of damages.  

Under the Warsaw Convention, claims for the death or injury of a passenger may be brought in the country where the airline has its domicile, where the airline has its principal place of business, where the flight ticket was purchase, or in the country of the flight destination. The Montreal Convention added a fifth jurisdiction, allowing claims for death or personal injury to be brought in the courts of the country in which the passenger has a principal or permanent residence under certain conditions. In most cases, this means that passengers living in the United States may bring these claims in U.S. courts.

Another important point to consider with airline accidents is that passengers may, in some cases be able to hold not only the airline liable, but also any third parties who may have been responsible for damages. The airline’s liability may be limited in such cases.  

It is important, of course, for those harmed by international airline accidents to work with an experienced attorney to ensure their rights are protected. Building a strong case requires not only establishing a strong case for liability, but also a strong case for damages, and an experienced legal advocate can give an airline accident victim a strong voice in the legal process. 

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