"The Montreal Convention (1999), titled the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air amended the Warsaw System. It re-established uniformity and predictability of the rules relating to the international carriage of passengers, luggage and cargo. It provides, among other things, for:
Unlimited liability in the event of death or injury of passengers
Advanced payments to meet immediate needs
The possibility of bringing a lawsuit before the courts in the passenger's principal place of residence
Increased liability limits in the event of a delay
The modernization of transport documents (electronic airway bills and tickets)
The clarification of the rules on the respective liability of the contractual carrier and the actual carrier
The obligation for air carriers to maintain adequate insurance" (source: http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/travel_and_recreation/air_travel/airline_liability.html)
Whether the provisions of the Montreal or Warsaw conventions will apply to a particular case will depend on which of these conventions were in effect on the date of loss.
Death or injury to passengers
1. According to an Article 17(1) the carrier is liable for damage sustained in case of death or bodily injury of a passenger upon condition only that the accident which caused the death or injury took place on board the aircraft or in the course of any of the operations of embarking or disembarking.
2. According to an Article 21(1) the carrier's liability arising out of the above-mentioned accidents (death or injury to a passenger), will not exceed 113,100 Special Drawing Rights (SDR)* for each passenger + the carrier shall not be able to exclude or limit its liability ("strict liability").
It means that in case of passenger's death or bodily injuries, occurred under the conditions of an Article 17(1), the carrier must pay 113,100 SDRs!
*The SDR is an international reserve asset, created by the IMF in 1969 to supplement its member countries’ official reserves. As of March 2016, 204.1 billion SDRs (equivalent to about $285 billion) had been created and allocated to members. SDRs can be exchanged for freely usable currencies. The value of the SDR is based on a basket of five major currencies—the US dollar, the euro, the Chinese renminbi (RMB), the Japanese yen, and the British pound sterling.
3. According to an Article 21(2) the carrier will not be liable for damages out of the passenger's death or bodily injury to the extent that they exceed for each passenger 113,100 SDRs if the carrier proves that:
a) such damage was not due to the negligence or other wrongful act or omission of the carrier or its servants or agents; or
b) such damage was solely due to the negligence or other wrongful act or omission of a third party.
It means that if the damages for passenger's death or bodily injuries under the conditions of an Article 17(1) exceed 113,100 SDRs, the carrier will not have to pay the excess if it is able to prove either (a) condition or (b) condition, or both conditions of an Article 21(2).
4. But, according to an Article 20 the carrier can be wholly or partly exonerated from its liability if the carrier proves that the damage was caused or contributed to by the negligence or other wrongful act or omission of the person claiming compensation, or the person from whom he or she derives his or her rights. When by reason of death or injury of a passenger compensation is claimed by a person other than the passenger, the carrier shall likewise be wholly or partly exonerated from its liability to the extent that it proves that the damage was caused or contributed to by the negligence or other wrongful act or omission of that passenger.
1. Article 19 explains that the carrier is not liable for damage occasioned by delay in the carriage of air of passengers if it proves that it and its servants and agents took all measures that could reasonably be required to avoid the damage or that it was impossible for it or them to take such measures. (very high standard to prove the air carrier's liability)
2. According to an Article 22(1) in the case of damage caused by delay in the carriage of air passengers, the liability of the carrier for each passenger is limited to 4,694 SDRs.
1. Under an Article 33 an action for damages must be brought either:
a. in the territory of one of the States Parties (of Montreal Convention), or
b. before the court of the domicile of the carrier or of its principal place of business, or
c. where it has a place of business through which the contract has been made, or
d. before the court at the place of destination.
It is clear that under the Montreal Convention the plaintiff has extensive options where to file a claim against the air carrier.
2. In respect of damage resulting from the death or injury of a passenger, an action may be brought at either of above-mentioned a - d + in the territory of a State Party in which at the time of the accident the passenger has his or her principal and permanent residence and to or from which the carrier operates services for the carriage of passengers by air.
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