What is the Montreal Convention?

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February 12, 2015
Colson Hicks Eidson

Injury Attorneys Who Work for Those Affected by Aviation Accidents

In this video, accident attorney Curtis Miner discusses the rules established by the Montreal Convention and its importance for determining liability in airplane crashes. The law firm of Colson Hicks Eidson has represented numerous cases involving airplane accidents from around the world. This work includes a landmark case in South America where they successfully secured some of the highest amounts of damages ever obtained by victims in that country. If you lost a loved one in a plane wreck and believe that the negligent actions of the pilot, airplane carrier or manufacturer may be at fault, contact our accident lawyers to learn more about your right to seek compensation.

Video Transcription:

What is the Montreal Convention? The Montreal Convention is a treaty enacted in Montreal, hence its name, that applies to international flights between countries that are signatories in the Montreal Convention. And the Montreal Convention did one thing that’s very beneficial for passengers, it made it much easier for passengers to establish they’ve been harmed. It did this by creating strict liability for the airline if an accident has occurred on an international flight. What that means is that the passenger doesn’t have to prove what the pilots did wrong, what the airline did wrong.

The rationale behind that is in aviation accidents, we know it’s not the passengers’ fault, and it’s exceedingly difficult for a passenger to try to prove in a complex case what the pilots did wrong or what the airline did wrong. The Montreal Convention established strict liability for airlines where accidents occur in flight. Think of it as automatic liability, they’re automatically liable. Now, that’s the plus side of what the Montreal Convention did. In exchange for that, it also took away some of the types of damages that passengers can recover. And most significantly, if your case is governed by the Montreal Convention, you would not be able to recover punitive damages against the airline.

Another area that’s hotly litigated and hotly contested in the courts is to what degree you can recover damages for purely mental trauma or purely mental distress as a result of having been through a plane accident. These are areas where you really need the representation of experienced counsel in this area to make sure your rights are being protected.