International Aviation Crash Litigation

Slack Davis Sanger Has a Broad International Practice

map of Slack Davis Sanger international practice

As you can see from this map, Slack Davis Sanger air crash litigation and aviation attorneys have litigated or handled cases involving international crashes that occurred in nations beyond U.S. borders, including Australia, Bahamas, Baja, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, France, Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica, Kenya, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Peru, South Africa, Spain, Ukraine and Venezuela.

American Airlines Flight 331

Slack Davis Sanger recently represented passengers of American Airlines Flight 331, which crashed on December 22, 2009. The airplane, a Boeing 737-823, making an international passenger flight from Miami, Florida, to Kingston, Jamaica, overran the runway while landing at the Norman Manley International Airport. Passengers sustained numerous injuries as the aircraft crashed and broke into several pieces.

When handling this type of commercial airline crash involving a crash site outside the U.S. and passengers from multiple countries, our attorneys’ knowledge of the various international laws that govern injuries, wrongful death and survivor actions in aircraft litigation enables Slack Davis Sanger, where appropriate, to file suit in jurisdictions most advantageous to our clients.

Aviation attorneys Michael Slack and Ladd Sanger have handled passenger cases from previous American Airlines and American Eagle airplane crashes, and a number of other non-crash cases against American Airlines involving international flights and passenger injuries under the Montreal Convention. Our attorneys know, understand and have even taught other attorneys about the Montreal Convention, which may apply to passengers injured on international flights.

Montreal Convention

 “The Montreal Convention, successor to the outdated Warsaw Convention, is the exclusive remedy for international airline passengers who have suffered everything from loss of baggage to an injury, or death. The Montreal Convention has limitations but also some benefits for passengers seeking compensation for their losses,” said Ladd Sanger, Slack Davis Sanger aviation attorney. “Most passengers, and their families, are unaware of the applicability of the Montreal Convention and how to navigate getting fair compensation from the airline.”

About the Montreal Convention

  • The Montreal Convention of 1999 became effective November 4, 2003, after it was ratified by the requisite 30 countries
  • The Montreal Convention is a combination of the original Warsaw Convention of 1929, the Hague Protocol, Montreal Protocols 3 and 4, Guatemala City Protocol and Guadalajara Supplementary Convention of 1961
  • Its two-tier liability system references monetary compensation in terms of “special drawing rights” (SDRs), which have equivalency to currency systems worldwide

The Fifth Jurisdiction

Under the Warsaw Convention, there were instances where a passenger could not bring a case in his or her home domicile. To correct this, the Montreal Convention adds a fifth jurisdiction, to allow plaintiffs to bring their claims in the country of their principal and permanent residence at the time of the accident.

The practical application of this provision is important when dealing with itineraries involving multiple carriers and the “accident’ occurs in a foreign country.This provision, however, is subject to some restrictions, including the requirement that the carrier must operate passenger service and conduct business in the country of the passenger’s residence.

Broader Protection for Passengers under the Montreal Convention

The Montreal Convention gives passengers much broader protection when injured on international flights. Under the Montreal Convention, a carrier is liable without proof of fault, in the event of death or bodily injury of a passenger caused by an accident on board the aircraft or in the course of any of the operations of embarking or disembarking. Also important is that  if any part of a passenger’s itinerary has an international component, then the convention will apply to the entire trip. For example, if a passenger travels from McAllen, Texas, to Dallas-Fort Worth to London and an accident occurs on the domestic McAllen to Dallas-Fort Worth portion of the flight, the Montreal Convention would still apply. 

Contact us for a free aircraft litigation case evaluation

If you or someone you know has been injured on an international flight, please contact us for a free evaluation of your case. Our attorneys, working with local co-counsel, litigate matters throughout the United States and in many foreign countries.