My son was injured in France when a plane he was in crash landed in Lyon. Does he have to go back to France to make air crash compensation claims or can they be made in Ireland?

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

Question:

My son was injured in France when a plane he was in crash landed in Lyon. Does he have to go back to France to make air crash compensation claims or can they be made in Ireland?

Answer:

Provided that your son purchased a ticket for his flight and entered into a “contract of carriage”, under Article 33 of the Montreal Convention (1999) your son should be able to make air crash compensation claims in either:-

  • The country from which the plane departed,
  • The country to which the plane was destined,
  • The country in which the crash occurred, or
  • The country in which the airline company is domiciled

Therefore, if your son was travelling to or from Ireland or a plane which was operated by an Irish registered carrier, he will not have to return to France and will be able to make air crash compensation claims in Ireland.

Air crash compensation claims differ from other types of personal injury compensation claim inasmuch as liability for any injuries is assumed by the airline as a condition of carriage and liability for the accident does not have to be proven. Nonetheless, it is a necessary procedure to complete an application for assessment to the Injuries Board Ireland (if your son is making a claim for air crash compensation in the Republic) even if you are pursuing air crash compensation claims with the assistance of a solicitor.

This is because, although negligence is automatically assigned to the airline company, should there be a disagreement over how much compensation for an air crash your son is entitled to – and you wish to pursue air crash compensation claims in court – you will need the “Authorisation” from the Injuries Board Ireland in order to file your claim. This is not a frequent occurrence, but if you start the process after negotiations have stalled, it could take up to a year for the “Authorisation” to be issued – during which time your son will be paying for any medical attention he needs out of his own pocket.

If your son was not travelling to or from Ireland, or on board an Irish registered carrier, he will still have a choice of in which country he can make air crash compensation claims. In this respect, it would be in your son´s interests to discuss the circumstances of his accident with an experience Irish solicitor to establish what his options are and determine the best country in which to claim air crash compensation.