Aircraft Injury, Death Claims & Other Losses
Aviation is of critical importance to Australia. Carter Capner has special expertise in aviation law and can service most sections of this key industry. Peter Carter is a GA pilot with more than 20 years’ experience and a light aircraft owner, having conducted major air accident litigation transactions for small airlines and aircraft owners.
At Carter Capner, we understand the complication of aircraft compensation. Passengers injured at airports and in-flight are subject to special compensation rules and jurisdictional issues. International airline passengers may have to navigate international conventions. Different rules apply to domestic airlines, charter flights, private aircraft and recreational flying (such as helicopters and hot air balloons). Additionally, surviving family members have compensation rights in the case of fatalities.
If you’ve been injured in an aviation or recreational aircraft accident, Carter Capner has specialist airplane accident lawyers that help (including cases involving fatal injuries). Or if you have been injured during a holiday, find more information about travel accidents here.
Who Can Claim
Aircraft claims and aviation claims are conducted for:
- injured crew and passengers;
- the surviving family members of deceased aircraft accident victims;
- injured or affected bystanders;
- injuries covered include physical injuries and psychological trauma
If you are unsure whether you qualify for aircraft compensation, Carter Capner can assess the circumstances of your case and advise you on the best course of legal action.
Just fill in your details below and we will let you know if you can claim compensation:
Types of Aircraft Accident Claims
Whether you were flying domestic or international, sustaining an in-inflight injury can take a toll on your physical, emotional and financial wellbeing.
Carter Capner conducts compensation claims for a wide range of aircraft accidents. We can help you pursue damages for various injuries, including:
- Soft tissue injuries
- Disc injuries
- Emotional trauma
- Psychiatric disabilities
- Eye injuries
- Hearing loss
- Food poisoning caused by contamination
- Toxic exposure
- Back injuries
- Head injuries
- Knee injuries
- Neck and shoulder injuries
Can I make a claim?
Your entitlement to damages will depend on when and how your injury occurred. The time limit for commencement of court proceedings for domestic and international claims as well as most charter and commercial transport is typically two years from the date of the accident. Failing to make a claim within this timeframe could mean you forfeit your right to compensation.
Compensation is also dependent on the injury being the result of an ‘accident’ – this means it needs to have been initiated by causes external to the passenger. If you can provide evidence in support of your claim, you may be awarded damages for the following:
- Expense recovery
- Lost income
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Paid and unpaid recuperative assistance
- Ruined holiday loss
- Holiday disappointment
- Loss of amenities
Compensation rights for charter and commuter operations are different to those that apply to commercial airlines. Incorrect aircraft operation, navigation or air law compliance may justify a claim by an injured passenger, family members and bystanders (for nervous shock). Carter Capner’s knowledge of aircraft operation in secondary, rural, remote and island locations gives our clients a major advantage.
In aviation accidents involving commuter and charter flights, damages are available for:
- Expense recovery
- Lost income
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Paid and unpaid recuperative assistance
Additionally, recoverable losses for fatal accident claims include:
- Financial/dependency losses for children, spouses (including de-facto spouses) and others who depend financially (either now or in the future) on the income of the deceased
Types of Commuter and Charter Accidents
Even though compensation rights vary for commuter and charter operations, the types of accidents that occur in this area of aviation are similar to those that plague commercial airlines. These include:
- Accidents caused by pilot error - Operating an aircraft can be complicated, and even experienced pilots make mistakes
- Malfunctioning aircraft - Poorly maintained aircraft are much more prone to being involved in aviation accidents than those that are serviced regularly
- Violations of aviation law - The aviation industry is highly regulated for safety reasons. Failing to following industry guidelines and instructions from air traffic control can put passengers and crew in danger of being involved in an accident
If you have been involved in an accident while travelling on a commuter or charter flight, Carter Capner can help you seek compensation for your injuries.
Carter Capner has dedicated knowledge regarding light aircraft accidents and general aviation. Our lawyers can assist with all types of aircraft passenger and crew injuries and fatalities relating to this type of aircraft.
Analysis of commuter and general aviation accidents requires a high level of expertise relating to aircraft operation, air navigation, avionics, meteorology, telephony and rules of the air. Contract ticketing and cross-border jurisdictional issues add a layer of complexity to these matters. We can assist with all types of light aircraft injuries and fatalities in Australia, Africa and the Asia-Pacific region.
Light Aircraft Accidents You Can Claim For
Light aircraft are more prone to accidents than commercial planes as they are typically flown by less experienced pilots. These are some examples of light aircraft accidents you can claim compensation for:
- Controlled flight into terrain - This refers to accidents where the pilot fails to see an obstacle like a mountain, power lines or a building. Light aircraft fly at lower altitudes than larger planes, making them more likely to crash into terrain
- Fuel shortage - Failing to calculate how much fuel is needed for a flight can cause a plane to stop functioning before the pilot has time to land
- Rough landings - Landing a light aircraft is tricky at best of times, let alone in difficult conditions like rain or fog. The majority of non-fatal aircraft accidents occur on landing
- Mid-flight loss of control - A range of factors can cause a pilot to lose control of an aircraft, including bad weather, malfunctioning equipment and lack of experience
Carter Capner can investigate the cause of the light aircraft accident you were involved in and assist you with claiming compensation.
Pursuing compensation for an accident involving recreational aircraft isn’t always a straightforward process. Helicopter flights, balloon flights, gyrocopters, adventure flights (like warbirds and tiger moths) and joy flights are all subject to legal obligations on behalf of aircraft operators and air crew.
Contract ticketing and liability waivers require careful examination in the pursuit of a successful passenger or bystander injury claim. Aircraft maintenance often becomes a relevant factor in recreational air mishaps. If you are planning to take legal action, Carter Capner can assist you with managing these factors.
Recreational Aircraft Accidents You Can Claim For
It’s possible to take legal action for any recreational aircraft accident where the cause of the mishap was out of your control. For example, the following types of accidents would typically qualify for a claim:
- Helicopter crashes - Mechanical failures, lack of fuel and pilot error are common causes of helicopter joyride crashes
- Botched aviation stunts - Most aviation stunt shows are performed by trained professionals, but things can still go wrong
- Hot air balloon crashes - The majority of hot air balloon crashes can be attributed to the pilot’s inability to avoid obstacles like powerlines
The law that applies to recreational aircraft accidents can be complicated, so it’s important to seek legal advice if you are thinking of making this type of claim.
In addition to claims made against airlines, injured passengers and dependants of deceased family members can pursue aircraft manufacturers in appropriate cases. For example, injured Qantas and Air France passengers exercised compensation rights against the manufacturer of the aircraft following accidents involving these airlines.
It’s important to note the difference between accidents involving aircraft manufacturing and aviation accidents. To make a claim against a manufacturer, you’ll need to prove manufacturing processes contributed to the accident.
Injured passengers and dependants can also pursue manufacturers of defective aircraft systems and components. In the wake of an Air France accident, passengers exercised additional compensation rights against component manufacturers Rolls-Royce, Northrop-Grumman and Airbus.
Passengers are entitled to injury compensation for accidents that occur in airport terminals, during transfers, embarking and disembarking. Injuries can happen anywhere inside an airport, with the following types:
- Trips and falls - Airports have a duty of care to maintain high safety standards for passengers. This includes keeping walkways clear of hazards
- Pulled muscles - Lifting luggage during security checks can cause muscles strains
- Crushed extremities - The use of conveyor belts and other types of machinery in airports can put the public and staff members at risk of injury
Carter Capner can help airport employees and travellers who have sustained injuries in an airport terminal.
Air carriage law imposes special rules relating to claims for delayed, lost and damaged cargo, checked baggage and cabin baggage. Liability limits and special time limits apply, but Carter Capner can still provide you with advice on how to recover the cost of lost or damaged luggage.
If your flight has been cancelled or disrupted in anyway you may be entitled to compensation.
- Engine failures
- Mechanical issues
- Ash cloud diversions
- Interrupted itineraries
- Airport closures
- Flight re-scheduling
- Adverse weather
- Visa complications
- Denial of boarding
- Passenger disruption
- Terror threats
Please contact us directly and our specialist aviation lawyers will assist you further.
The Claims Process for Airplane Injuries & Incidents
On logging your enquiry, one of our friendly Brisbane compensation lawyers will give you a call to help establish the urgency of your claim. We will go through some simple questions with you relating to the cause of your accident, including who might potentially be at fault, the extent of your injury, civil liability issues, contributory conduct, employment status and medical history.
From that initial contact, we will arrange a meeting with you at one of our Brisbane or Gold Coast offices, or at your home. At our meeting we can give you more information about the claim process and chat with you about the viability of your compensation claim. We will also confirm your eligibility for no win no fee terms to pursue your case.