Aircraft Accidents: International vs. Domestic Law
There are distinct differences between international and domestic airline accidents in the way they are treated legally and how they are investigated. Any passenger involved in an airline accident needs to consult with a qualified airplane accident lawyer to make sure that there is sufficient legal and compassionate advice during this time of possible traumatic injury.
The organization known as the National Traffic Safety Board (NTSB) is responsible for the investigation of all airplane crashes in the United States. Usually, they are on the scene of a domestic crash in minutes to make sure that they have an opportunity to discover the cause of the crash, and to document the conditions of the passengers.
As in any aircraft accident, the investigators try to determine exactly what caused the plane to crash by looking into the voice recording box or mechanical record to determine either pilot error, mechanical error, design error, or all three. The NTSB has an excellent record with airplane accident lawyers, manufacturers, and courts when it comes to offering a thorough description of the accident and the related causes.
If a plane crashes in a foreign country, there is not an organization like the NTSB that is available to complete a comparable investigation into the accident. Unfortunately, these accidents are often covered by local agencies which do not have the resources that the NTSB has at its disposal.
A passenger injured in an international flight might think that the Federal Aviation Association (FAA) or even the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) might be sought out to make sure that the accident’s details are thoroughly documented and analyzed for the protection of the passengers. This is usually not the case unless there is a suspicion of criminal activity related to the flight. In most cases, there is no sign of criminal activity, so these agencies do not get involved.
The Warsaw and Montreal Conventions
The Warsaw Convention was signed into law in 1929 to address the need for passenger protection in international travel. This Convention was amended twice, and in 1979, it was replaced with the Montreal Convention to offer additional protections through airline obligations. Airlines that are operating in nations who are members of the Montreal Convention are required to carry liability insurance and are responsible for damages and injuries that occur to passengers traveling on their airline.
In some cases, a liability not covered under a domestic airline might be covered under the Montreal Convention due to the differing list of covered damages. For instance, on a domestic flight, if a suitcase fell from a luggage rack and injured two passengers sitting next to each other, one passenger who was only on a domestic flight would not be covered whereas the passenger traveling on a US flight, but on the way to a foreign
Country would be covered.
These kinds of differences in the law make it very important to contact a reputable airplane accident lawyer if you are the victim in an airplane accident. If the airline that you are traveling on is not a signatory to the Montreal Convention, then litigating an injury can be very complicated.
Sometimes an international, airline cannot be sued for certain types of claims, and if you do not have the correct representation and knowledge of the law, you could suffer a great loss of recovery. However, even if there is no direct claim for liability from the airline, the experienced airplane accident attorney will delve into mechanical and pilot error as well as aircraft design to make sure you are protected.
One of the most experienced airplane accident lawyer services in Michigan is the law firm of Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. Contact us for a no obligation consultation at 1-866-MICH-LAW (1-866-642-4529) to make sure you get the best advice available if you are in an airplane accident. Our law firm never charges a fee unless a recovery is made.