There are many situations in which you might be eligible for injuries compensation, but perhaps one that most people don’t consider is when they are travelling by air. As several recent cases demonstrate, there is potential to receive a substantial payout from an airline, providing you can present the necessary evidence.

Personal injury compensation for injuries sustained on a flight.

Personal injury compensation for injuries sustained on a flight.

Under the Aviation Legislation Amendment (Liability and Insurance) Act 2012, airlines will be required to offer compensation in situations where passengers haven’t been adequately provided for in terms of safety. Contributory negligence will be taken into account in a court of law, namely whether the incident was a result of the actions of another person.

A successful case against Pel-Air

Earlier this year, a case was heard by the Supreme Court of New South Wales, in which the claimants sought damages from Pel-Air. They had been employed to provide medical assistance to a patient and when stopping on Norfolk Island to refuel, the plane crashed.

The plane was found to be travelling at speed, so when it hit the water, the impact caused it to break up. Both parties were seriously injured and it became apparent that a life raft had not been deployed for their safety. It took 90 minutes for them to be rescued.

Since the accident, one of the claimants has suffered serious psychological injuries, as well as extreme discomfort in his back. This has not improved over time.

The pilot and co-pilot were found to be negligible in this particular instance, which led to a successful personal injury claim.

Evidence is required for a successful claim

As in this case and any other, the key to success is a combination of compelling medical evidence, as well as the services of an accident lawyer.

The Supreme Court recently heard another case where a woman filed for compensation from Emirates after a hot drink was spilled on her lap during a flight. She claimed this led her to jump up and twist sharply, which led to a severe injury in her back.

However, the judge ruled there was insufficient evidence to suggest the two incidents were connected. This is why having the experience of an accident solicitor on hand can provide real value when pursuing a claim.

Make sure you get in touch with PK Simpson for advice on how to pursue your injury claim suffered on board a flight, or in any other situation you think someone might be liable.

In Australia it is possible to bring a compensation claim against any of the major airlines including Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin, Rex, Tigerair, as well as any foreign airline such as Cathay Pacific, Air New Zealand and Emirates.

Frequently Asked Questions

A: The legal definition of a personal injury is general physical and/or psychological damage to a person which is the fault of another party. This can be, for instance, the driver of another vehicle, another person, owner of a public area, or an employer. A physical injury usually involves an injury of a psychological nature or it can be one or the other. Specialist doctors are required to identify the nature of injury to round out a personal injury claim.

A: A personal injury lawyer will represent you if you’ve been injured in an incident or accident that was not your fault. Lawyers such as the specialists at PK Simpson Sydney work in personal injury and compensation law, encompassing deliberate acts and negligence, to claim compensation for you. Apart from all the legal work, lawyers also help you to recover faster by making sure you get the treatment and resources needed. PK Simpson pays for all medical reports needed to maximise your claim and get the best evidence.

A: If you’ve suffered serious bodily, psychological or reputational injuries it’s crucial that you contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. There are special skills and training and a thorough knowledge of the law required to file a personal injury lawsuit and there are time frames in which you need to lodge your claim. Especially for traffic accidents and medical negligence claims in NSW, you will need an experienced team to handle and build your claim. So the advice is to take action as soon as you are able.

A: At PK Simpson in Sydney we act on a no win, no fee basis and an estimate of the costs will be discussed and clearly explained to you during the preliminary stages of your claim. At the end of your claim, we charge only for the work we’ve done, so if your claim is finalised faster than expected, we charge fees only up to that point. Also, we pay for all medical reports upfront.

Unlike most law firms, we don’t charge a strict percentage which would have you paying a set figure even if the claim settles in two weeks. Costs can be affected by the type of accident, your insurer, liability and other considerations.

A: The length of time you have to make your claim depends on the jurisdiction.

For instance:

  • TPD claims – these may be commenced up to 10 years after you’ve stopped work. TPD claims are very technical and you may have more than one TPD claim.
  • Car accident claims – A personal injury claim form should be filled in and sent to your CTP insurer as early as possible, but must be no later than six months from the date of your accident. HOWEVER, out of time claims may be made. New NSW CTP laws have made it difficult for injured people and many law firms still do not understand how to run new claims under these laws – so call us at PK Simpson Sydney as soon as possible.
  • Workers compensation claims – You should contact a lawyer within six months of the accident. But remember, out of time claims can be handled by PK Simpson Sydney. We can help you get the treatment required to build your claim.
  • Slip ‘n’ fall/occupiers liability claims – Your claim must be lodged usually within three years of the date of your accident.

Medical Negligence – within three years of the date of when the cause of action was discoverable to our client OR 12 years from the time of the act or omission which caused the injury through negligence.

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