The Airports are Going to Get Really Crowded – Demand for Airlines Soaring

If you think the airports are crowded now, just wait. Currently, the U.S. is the largest single aviation market with 692.2 million domestic passengers traveling in 2016. However, that number is expected to soar above 1 billion passengers by 2035, according to the Airline Industry Forecast released by the International Transport Association (IATA). And, the U.S. isn’t the only nation experiencing significant growth. China is expected to outpace the U.S. by 2024, adding an estimated 817 million passengers totaling 1.3 billion passengers by 2035 and making it the world’s largest aviation market. Additionally, over the past decade, the developing world’s share of total passenger traffic has risen from 24% to 40%, and demand for air travel is expected to double over the next two decades.

IATA expects 7.2 billion passengers to travel in 2035, which is nearly double the current total of 3.8 billion passengers carried in 2016. That’s a lot of people passing through airports across the globe. IATA’s forecast revealed that passenger demand has increased by an average of 5.4% each year since 2013. By contrast, global passenger growth has increased by only 4.3% between 2008 and 2012.

This rise in air traffic is based on the 3.7% annual growth rate, and regions with the strongest international passenger growth include: Africa 5.1%, Middle East 4.8%, Asia-Pacific 4.7% and Latin America 3.8%. With passenger growth increasing around the world, governments are recognizing the value of connectivity provided by aviation to drive global trade and development.

For a closer look at the forecast, Slack & Davis has created an infographic highlighting key trends:

Download (PDF, 940KB)

Slack & Davis Featured in Class Action Reporter: Farmers Insurance Suit Over Smart Plan Auto Program

As featured in two separate articles for Class Action Reporter, Partners Mike Slack and John Davis, together with the Law Offices of Joe K. Longley and Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division against Farmers Insurance Group over its Smart Auto Program. The lawsuit alleges that the insurance company offered sizable discounts for new subscribers, unfairly and illegally discriminated against current policyholders and violated the Texas Insurance Code.

The article explains that Farmers Group, Inc. selectively lowered insurance policies in favor of new policyholders while existing policyholders continued to pay higher rates, despite policy changes that mandate lower rates. The class action seeks all damages and/or restitution associated with unfair discrimination; award of attorneys’ fees; expert witness fees and costs; recovery of monies recovered for or benefits; statutory penalties and pre-judgment and post-judgment interest for violation of the Texas Insurance Code.

To read a more detailed summary of the case, please visit our Farmers Insurance blog post and FAQ page.

Injuries Obtained on International Flights: How the Montreal Convention Protects Passengers

From lost baggage to injury or even death on a plane, the Montreal Convention helps protect international passengers. Unfortunately, many passengers and their families have never heard of it nor do they have any idea how to navigate fair compensation from airlines.

The Montreal Convention, adopted in 1999, sets forth clear compensation provisions for passengers injured on international flights. Today, more than 120 countries have agreed to the Montreal Convention, meaning it covers most international flights. The current list of signatory countries is available here. Countries continue to adopt the Montreal Convention, including Indonesia in 2017. Some countries like Thailand and Venezuela have not yet adopted it.

What types of flights qualify?
In general the Convention applies to the entire itinerary where there is travel between signatory countries. Notably the Montreal Convention applies even if the injury occurs on the domestic leg of the trip. For example, a passenger is flying from Chicago to Paris with a layover in New York. The passenger is injured during the flight from Chicago to New York. Even though the injury did not occur during the international leg of the trip, the Montreal Convention still applies.

Do I have to prove it was the airline’s fault?
The passenger only needs to prove there was an “accident” between the time they embarked or disembarked on the international flight. An “accident” is an unusual or unexpected event external to the passenger. There are hundreds of cases that discuss the specifics of exactly what constitutes an accident. Once an “accident” is established, the airline is automatically liable for damages up to 113,100 Special Drawing Rights (approximately $153,000 USD). The airline can attempt to reduce its liability by showing the passenger caused his or her own injuries. For damages exceeding 113,100 SDRs the airline can avoid liability by proving the “accident” was not caused by its negligence or that the “accident” was solely caused by a third party not under the airlines control.

What qualifies as an injury?
Aside from psychological injuries that do not stem from a physical injury, virtually all injuries that can happen on an international flight are covered by the Montreal Convention – lost or falling baggage, malfunctioning seats, severe turbulence, bodily injury, financial loss, and even death. The accident can occur on the tarmac, in the air or even on a shuttle bus transporting passengers to the aircraft.

Can I file a claim where I live?
Yes! Under previous treaties, there were cases where passengers could not file a claim in their home country. The Montreal Convention remedied this issue by creating a “fifth jurisdiction,” which allows passengers to bring a suit in their country of primary residence so long as the airline operates passenger service in that country.

The Montreal Convention affords broad protections to international travelers, so it’s wise for every traveler to familiarize themselves with the treaty to ensure that their rights are protected.

If you think the Montreal Convention may apply to your legal case, contact Ladd Sanger with Slack & Davis at 512.795.8686.

Staggering Statistics: The Truth About Trucking Accidents in Dallas

Dallas has the second-highest crash rate in the state of Texas, according to a report from the Texas Department of Transportation. In 2015, the city of Dallas counted 27 fatal automotive accidents that killed more than 30 people. An additional 1,000 people were injured in auto accidents that same year.

Commercial truck or big rig accidents are particularly dangerous due to the size and weight of these vehicles.  When a commercial truck collides with a compact car, or even a mid-sized sedan, the aftermath can be tragic. Commercial truck accidents are often preventable if drivers would simply avoid dangerous activities while driving. In Dallas, the leading causes of truck accidents include:

  • Driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs
  • Improper lane changes
  • Reckless driving
  • Speeding
  • Tailgating
  • Tired/fatigued drivers

For a closer look at trucking accidents, Slack & Davis has created an infographic:

KXAN and Associated Press Turn to Michael Slack to Discuss the Airplane Crash in Australia

As seen on KXAN and published by the Associated Press, Founding Partner Michael Slack  discusses the potential causes of the tragic airplane crash in Australia that killed an Australian pilot and four men from the Austin area.

The investigation should focus on three key areas – “The man, the machine and the environment,” said Slack in his KXAN interview. “Things like maintenance, weather, piloting, and engine design fall into one of those three buckets.” The pilot’s experience, the plane’s engine and weather could all create hazardous conditions he added.

In his Q&A with the Associated Press, Slack notes that there is a lot of work to be done in the investigation before attorneys can advise the family about pursuing litigation. “In this particular crash, there are a number of questions that have to be answered, such as ‘What happened? Who is responsible? And where can the case be brought against the responsible parties?’” Slack commented.

Watch the KXAN interview.

Read the Associated Press article.