Domestic carriage – liability for passenger injury or death

Governing laws

What laws in your state govern the liability of an air carrier for passenger injury or death occurring during domestic carriage?

The liability of UK carriers in passenger cases is governed by EC Regulation 2027/97 (as amended), which applies to both international and non-international carriage. Domestic carriage is therefore subject to the liability rules of the Montreal Convention.

Nature of carrier liability

What is the nature of, and conditions, for an air carrier’s liability?

An air carrier’s liability is strict and subject to the conditions set out in article 17.1 of the Montreal Convention, namely that a carrier is liable for damage where a passenger suffers a bodily injury while in the process of embarking or disembarking or on board the aircraft.

Liability limits

Is there any limit of a carrier’s liability for personal injury or death?

Damages for personal injury or death are unlimited unless the carrier can prove that: (i) such damage was not due to the negligence or other wrongful act or omission of the carrier or its servants or agents; or (ii) such damage was solely due to the negligence or other wrongful act or omission of a third party. If a carrier is able to prove that it was not negligent or that it did not commit a wrongful act, damages will be subject to a limit of 113,100 SDR (approximately £121,000).

Main defences

What are the main defences available to the air carrier?

The English courts will apply the defences of contributory negligence of a passenger, all reasonable measures and wilful misconduct. See question 6.

Damages

Is the air carrier’s liability for damages joint and several?

No.

Rule for apportioning fault

What rule do the courts in your state apply to apportioning fault when the injury or death was caused in whole or in part by the person claiming compensation or the person from whom the right is derived?

The English courts will apply the defence of contributory negligence of a passenger (see question 6). Behaviour that will be deemed contributory negligence on the part of a compos mentis adult may not be so regarded for a child or person with reduced mental capacity.

Statute of limitations

What is the time within which an action against an air carrier for injury or death must be filed?

See question 9.