Aircraft Accidents: International vs. Domestic Law

Airplane Accident Lawyer: 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 compassionate and legal advice during this time of possible traumatic injury.

Even if it is for information purposes only, commercial airlines should be investigated to ensure the safety of all passengers and prevent future accidents from occurring.

Domestic Accidents

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 if it was a 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.

International Accidents

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 that 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) could intervene to document and analyze the evidence to protect future 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.

Coverage Differences

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, accidents involving a suitcase falling from a luggage rack and injuring two passengers sitting next to each other could have differing results for each passenger. The passenger traveling on the US flight on their way to a foreign country would be covered while the other passenger would not be covered.

airplane accident lawyer

These kinds of differences in the law make it very important to contact a reputable airplane accident lawyer if you are the victim of an aviation 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. An aviation accident lawyer can help you understand if you have a case or not, so it is better to start early to build an attorney-client relationship.

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. Even if there is no direct claim for liability, accident attorneys can still investigate for pilot and mechanical errors in an effort to protect clients.

Final Word

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, free consultation at 1-866-MICH-LAW (1-866-466-9912) 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.

Ms. Barry is studying Communications at the University of Pennsylvania. She has won multiple awards both for her persuasive and creative writing and has written extensively on the topics of medical malpractice law, personal and birth injury law, product liability law. When she’s not researching and writing about these topics, she edits a literary magazine and tutors students at Penn’s writing center.

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