A Guide On How To Make An In-Flight Injury Claim Against An Airline?

By Lewis Hendrix. Last updated 29th September 2022. Welcome to our guide on in flight injury claims. If you want to make an in-flight injury claim against an airline, and want to know how to sue an airline in the UK, or who the airline ombudsman in the UK is, you’ll find the information you need here.

Within this comprehensive online guide, we will be attempting to show how victims of an in flight injury due to an accident on a plane, could have grounds to make a claim against the airline for the harm they have suffered. We look at some of the common causes of flight accidents, and why you may be in a position to make a claim in similar circumstances.

An image of a bunch of people on a flight

How to sue an airline in the UK – Your questions answered

You may have unique aspects of your claim that are not covered in this guide such as wanting more information on the airline ombudsman in the UK. Therefore, if you need answers that are not provided by this guide, please call our team of experts today on 0800 073 8801. They can provide you with more advice and information, and arrange to get your No Win No Fee claim started for you.

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A Guide To In-Flight Injury Claims Against An Airline

This guide to claiming for in flight injuries, should contain all of the information that you need in order to understand why you cloud be eligible to make a claim, and how to proceed with one. We will begin this guide by giving a general overview of what in flight accidents are. We will then move on to look at several legal issues related to airline claims and in flight injury claims. This will include a discussion of your rights as an airline passenger, as well as the additional rights that disabled passengers have. We offer information on the airline ombudsman in the UK too. We will also explain what the Montreal Convention is and when it comes into play.

The middle part of this guide takes a detailed look at some of the more common kinds of in-flight accident claims. This will include accidents caused by in-air turbulence, faulty seats, slips, trips or falls, the service cart, and spilt food and drinks.

How to sue an airline in the UK – The Claims Process

Finally, we look at some issues related to the claim itself. We will discuss the time limits that you will need to make your claim within. And although we have not included a personal injury claims calculator on this page, we have included a table that shows compensation ranges for different injuries according to English Law. We have also added a list of the common kinds of damages a claimant may be awarded. Lastly, you will learn why a No Win No Fee solicitor could be able to help you make a claim, at the same time as minimising the financial risk of making a claim.

What Is An In-Flight Injury?

An in-flight injury is any injury that happens whilst a passenger is on a plane. However, you need to consider that in this case, the term “in flight” is a little misleading, as it does not only cover any passenger injury on a flight, but also boarding and disembarking accidents. To put things simply, any time you have a travel accident that happens while getting on, off or on a flight or is the responsibility of one the airlines representatives such as the cabin crew then it can be deemed as a in-flight accident. Please remember that not all accidents will lead to a compensation claim only those that are caused through third party negligence. Not every in-flight accident will be the responsibility of the airline.

In some cases, the passenger may have contributed to their own accident in some way, yet the airline is still fundamentally to blame. In these cases, the airline could agree to a reduced percentage of liability, and this would drive the amount of compensation paid to the claimant.

How To Sue An Airline In The UK – Airline Passenger Rights

In the UK, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) overseas and regulates UK civil aviation. Its main aim is to provide safe travel for all passengers. The CAA also overseas the Air Travel Oganisers’ Licence ATOL, by law every travel provider which sells air holidays and flights must be protected by ATOL. ATOL is there in case travel companies cease in trading so that passengers who are stranded abroad can be brought back home. A lot of the law surrounding those traveling to and from EU countries comes for EU directives as long as we are still part of the European Union and more information can be found at the above link, especially to do with flight delays, being bumped, flight cancellation, being down graded.

Additional Rights For Disabled Air Travel Passengers

According to the CAA those who are disabled and are travelling from European airports or travelling from member states of the EU are entitled to ”special assistance” such rights are stipulated by EU law and are concerned with ensuring disabled passengers have help and assistance form the minute they enter the airport, when boarding the airplane and while travelling on the airplane. Also when you disembark the aircraft, if you have to transferred between flights and in destination airports.

What Is The Montreal Convention And How Could It Affect My Claim?

The Montreal Convention was established in 1999. The is a special set of passenger rights that apply in a very specific scenario. Some international flights fly in airspace that is not considered to be within any national boundaries, and therefore, no laws apply as there is no legal jurisdiction in this airspace. However, the Montreal Convention comes into play at this time. It provides airline passengers with the right to make a compensation claim against the airline for any injuries that are caused by an in-flight accident for which the airline was responsible for. It also covers flight delay, baggage loss and damage.

Accidents And Injuries Which Could Happen On A Plane

When it comes to airline injury claims, travelling on an aeroplane can present some pretty unique kinds of hazards that could cause an accident that results in an aeroplane injury. For example:

  • Unexpected air turbulence can cause a passenger to fall and harm themselves.
  • Broken seats could cause a passenger to suffer harm on a rough landing due to ineffective safety belts.
  • Luggage left in an inappropriate place can cause a passenger to trip.
  • The service trolley could collide with a passenger, causing them an injury.
  • Hot food or hot drink can be spilt on a passenger by a member of the cabin crew, causing a scald.

How to sue an airline in the UK for third party negligence

Not all accidents that happen on an airplane will be caused by third party negligence meaning they will not qualify for a compensation claim. If it can be proven that an airline has acted in a negligent manner which has subsequently caused you to suffer an avoidable injury or preventable illness then you may have a fundamental cause to make a claim.

Claims Against Airlines Caused By Unexpected Turbulence

Although the airline cannot be held responsible for the weather, it does have specific responsibilities when it comes to ensuring that passengers are safe during turbulence. For example, the cabin crew must ensure that the aeroplane bathrooms are not used, that all passengers are seated, and that all passengers have fasted their safety belt during any turbulence. If the cabin crew neglects to do this, then it could be possible for personal injury claims for turbulence to be made by anyone injured.

Claims Against Airlines For Injuries Caused By Damaged Seats

The seats of a plane are an integral part of its safety features. The seats are inspected regularly, to ensure they still effectively anchor the safety belt for every passenger. When a safety belt breaks, the passenger is at risk of injury during landing and take-off, and when the plane is flying through turbulence. If a passenger is injured in such a way, then it cloud be possible for a personal injury lawyer to process a claim for them.

How To Sue An Airline In The UK For A Slip Or Fall

Slips, trips and falls are a very common kind of injury claim. You could make a flight injury claim if you are injured by hazards such as:

  • You fall down the steps getting on to the plane, or disembarking, because the steps were faulty.
  • You trip over luggage that the cabin crew did not store in an overhead locker.
  • You slip on a spilt drink that has not been cleared up or marked with a warning sign.

If you are injured in a slip, trip or fall accident that was the fault of the airline, you could have a valid basis to make in flight injury claims for the harm you have suffered.

Claims Against An Airline For Service Cart Impact Injuries

The airline cabin crew is trained at serving from the trolley in a way that is safe. However, service cart accidents can happen despite this. The cabin crew could crash the cart into a passenger causing harm, or perhaps leave it in an inappropriate place causing a passenger to trip. If you have been injured due to a service cart please call our advisors to see if you have a valid claim.

Claims Against An Airline For Hot Food And Liquid Burns

The cabin crew is expected to serve hot food and drinks to passengers in a safe manner. Passengers can suffer a scald or burn due to hot food or drink being spilt on them if such items are not served accordingly. In cases such as this, where a member of the cabin crew was to blame for the accident, then a personal injury solicitor could be able to process a claim on behalf of the injured passenger.

In-Flight Injury Claim Time Limits

Depending upon the circumstances of your airline accident, how you booked your holiday, and where the airplane was when the accident happened may depend on how long you have to bring a claim for compensation after a negligent accident caused an unnecessary injury.

How to sue an airline in the UK  – what time limit applies

If you are still unsure about which time limit applies in your case, speak to a member of our team of experts and they will let you know.

In-Flight Injury Claims Against An Airline Compensation Calculator

The table below is based on the UK judicial guidelines used by the UK legal system to value injuries for claims. You can use this table to see how much you may be able to claim.

Type of Injury Severity Amount Information
Head Injury Minor brain or head injury to moderate brain damage. Up to £219,070 Brackets start at brain damage being minimal, good recovery will be made to concentration and memory effected, work life affected, intellectual deficit, a personality change, an effect on sight, speech and senses with a significant risk of epilepsy.
Neck Injury Minor to Moderate Up to £38,490 Brackets starts at soft tissue damage with recovery in 3 months to accelerated and/or exacerbated a pre-existing condition, permanent nuisance symptoms, wrenching-type injury and disc lesion of the more severe type. The top end of this brackets includes included chronic conditions, usually involving referred symptoms to other parts of the anatomy.
Shoulder Injury Severe £19,200 to £48,030 Significant disability leading to neck and arm pain.
Arm Injury Simple Fractures £6,610 to £19,200 Simple fractures of the forearm.
Hand Injury Moderate to Serious £5,720 to £61,910 Starting off at soft tissue damage, crush injury, laceration, deep wounds to significant impaired function, permanent disability, to reduced capacity, loss of grip, amputation of fingers and possibly palm.
Hip/Pelvis Injury Moderate £12,590 to £39,170 Hip replacement, hip/pelvis surgery, to significant pelvis/hip permanent disability.
Leg Injury Less serious leg injuries to severe leg injuries. From £17,960 to £135,920 Brackets start as simple leBrackets start as simple leg fractures, leg will be left with metal implant and/or defective gait, a limp, impaired mobility, sensory loss, discomfort, to imperfect union of fractures, muscle waste, serious compound fractures resulting in instability multiple fractures, effect on employment.g fractures, leg will be left with metal implant and/or defective gait, a limp, impaired mobility, sensory loss, discomfort, to imperfect union of fractures, muscle waste, serious compound fractures, multiple fractures, effect on employment.
Knee Injury Moderate Up to £26,190 Brackets include twisting, bruising, continuous discomfort to dislocation, torn cartilage, mild future disability.
Ankle Injury Modest Injuries Up to £13,740 Undisplaced fractures, twists, sprains, ligament injuries.
Foot Injury Modest to Serious Upto £39,200 Simple metatarsal fractures, ruptured ligaments, puncture wounds to metatarsal fractures resulting in permanent, deformity, risk of fusion surgery to severe injury to a foot or heel.

For a more accurate estimate of how much compensation you could be able to claim, please speak to one of our in flight injury claims advisors today, they can arrange for a solicitor to value it for you.

Special Damages In Airline Injury Claims

If your compensation claim is successful, there is the potential for your compensation payment to comprise of a number of different kind of damages, under the two main headings of general damages, and special damages, for example:

How to sue an airline in the UK for special damages – for non-physical, financial and other losses:

    • Fewer future prospects – if you will be left with some kind of affliction or disability that will negatively impact your future work potential, or even stop you working completely.
    • Loss of income – if you took time out from work for your injuries to heal, and missed out on your salary or wages, partially or fully.
    • Care costs – if you needed a nurse at home to care for you and you had to hire one privately.
    • Private medical fees – if you needed treatment that wasn’t available for free on the NHS, and you paid the cost of treatment yourself.
    • Travel costs – to cover for out of pocket expenses related to travel for treatment, or for legal reasons related to the claim itself

How to sue an airline in the UK for general damages

You could receive compensation for pain and suffering, both physical and psychological:

      • Loss of life quality – if your lifestyle will be impacted by, for example, a permanent disability.
      • Long-term or permanent disability – if you will never recover from your injuries fully and will be left with an affliction.
      • Painful recovery – if you will need traumatic treatment in the long-term before you recover.
      • Shock and trauma – caused by being involved in an accident.
      • Pain and suffering – at the point of the accident, and also if painful emergency medical treatment was administered.

You won’t necessarily get all of these kinds of damages, and you may get others that are not listed here. To get an idea of the kinds of damages you may be able to claim for in your own in flight injury claims, speak to one of our claim advisors today.

Injury Claims Solicitors – No Win No Fee Injury Solicitors

When making an aviation injury claim you may seek No Win No Fee injury solicitors. If you are offered a form of No Win No Fee, such as a Conditional Fee Agreement, this means you will not be required to pay an upfront fee for hiring a solicitor.

Here are just a few of the reasons on why you could benefit from using No Win No Fee injury claims solicitors:

  • Zero upfront costs: No need to pay your solicitor for them to begin handling your claim.
  • No surprise charges or hidden fees: Before you agree to use their services, your solicitor will discuss all fees involved so you know what to expect.
  • Legal costs covered: Any legal fees accrued during the claims process are covered under the agreement.
  • No Win No Fee: Our injury solicitors require no payment if they fail to help you secure compensation.
  • Capped fee: If you do successfully claim compensation, the fee you pay is capped at 25% under the Conditional Fees Agreement Order 2013.

Want to know more about how to sue an airline in the UK on a No Win No Fee basis

If you need to know more about how a CFA can help you to make your claim in a way that presents less financial risk, then please speak to our team of experts today. A claim advisor will go over your claim with you, answer your questions, and then provide you with some free legal advice on how best to proceed with your claim from here.

Why Choose Us To Handle Your Airline Injury Claim?

If you have been injured in a holiday accident, or while travelling by plane, and the accident was not your fault, we might be able to help you to claim. Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Call our team of experts on the number in the section below. They will answer any questions you have at this stage.
  2. One of our claim advisors will evaluate your claim, and if it is valid, arrange for a solicitor to begin processing it for you.
  3. A solicitor will proceed to process it on your behalf.

You can call us at any time to get an update on the status of your claim, and what we have been doing for you.

Start Your In-Flight Injury Claim Against An Airline

Have you suffered an airline injury in an accident that was not your own fault? Do you believe the airline was to blame for the harm you suffered? In this case, please contact our team of experts on 0800 073 8801. A claim advisor will talk through your claim with you, inform you of your legal options, and then offer you some free legal advice on what to do next.

Essential References Relating To An In-Flight Injury Claim Against An Airline

You might find these external pages have some useful information:

CAA Information On How To Make A Complaint

Information About The Montreal Convention

Information About Airline Safety From The CAA

Internal Guides Relating To Making An In-Flight Injury Claims Against An Airline

You could also read these other guides, which could be useful to you:

A Guide To Holiday Claims

How To Make A Package Holiday Claim

Claiming Against An Airline

FAQs About An In-Flight Injury Claim Against An Airline And The Airline Ombudsman in the UK

Who is the airline ombudsman in the UK?

It is advised that if you are looking to contact the airline ombudsman in the UK, you first contact the airline with your dispute to see if they could help you. We would advise you to put your complaint in writing, and include all of the information relating to your complaint. You might want to make sure you include what you would like them to do about your complaint, and give them a timescale in which to respond to you.

How do I contact the airline ombudsman in the UK?

If you’re wondering how to contact the airline ombudsman in the UK and have taken the step above to no avail, you could contact the CAA to escalate your complaint to them. They too urge you to complain to the airline you believe to be at fault first, however.

How could the airline ombudsman in the UK assist me?

The CAA could assist you if you have waited more than 8 weeks without a reply from the airline you’ve complained to. Their Passenger Advice and Complaints Team (PACT) could handle complaints relating to denied boarding, damaged or lost baggage, and disability or reduced mobility assistance.

Can I make an In-flight injury claim against an airline for helicopter flights?

Just like an airline operator, a helicopter operator has certain responsibilities towards the passengers it carries. If the helicopter owner/operator is negligent and you are injured on a helicopter flight, we could help you claim compensation for your injuries. Please do not hesitate to get in touch to find out more.

Can I make in flight injury claims for an accident at work that causes injury?

Simply put, all employers have a responsibility to protect their staff from suffering harm due to their work. There are several people who may be at work while an aircraft is in flight, such as pilots and cabin crew. If they suffer injury due to their employer’s failure to protect them from risks of harm related to their work or workplace, this could lead to a member of staff making a claim against their employer. We could help with these kinds of claims too.

Making an In-Flight Injury Claim Against An Airline as an employee

Whether you are a member of cabin crew assaulted by a passenger or you suffer stress at work that your employer should have protected you from, our friendly team could help you on your path to compensation. It’s important to remember that you could claim for both physical and psychiatric injuries within in flight injury claims. In addition to this, you could claim for any costs and losses you’ve experienced because of your accident and inflight injury, whether it’s loss of earnings, medical expenses or care costs, to name but a few examples.

If you want to know the most common causes of work-related injuries, please see the HSE figures from 2020-21 below.

Graph showing the what percentage of workplace injuries is made up by different types of accidents

Final words on how to sue an airline in the UK

Hopefully, this guide has suitably explained who the airline ombudsman in the UK is, as well as how to sue an airline in the UK. If you would like to make an in-flight injury claims against an airline, we’d be glad to help you.