Aviation Accidents in 2016: The worst for CIS Travel

Whether you rely on international flights regularly as a part of your business or use foreign carriers mostly for travel, a new report on the frequency of aviation accidents throughout the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) provides cause for alarm. While these accidents occur overseas, they often involve U.S. citizens. For those who are injured and survivors of people killed in international airline crashes, getting the compensation you need to recover may seem like an insurmountable task, but provisions within the Montreal Convention can make it easier to hold these airlines accountable.

CIS Aviation Accidents

A March 2017 in the Russian Aviator Insider states that 2016 was one of the worst for CIS air travel, with the number of safety issues being reported the highest in more than 25 years. Citing statistics released by the Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC), which investigated 63 aviation accidents that occurred during the past year. This included 25 fatal accidents, which killed 74 people.

Of the nine independent states that form the CIS, Russia had the highest total number of aviation accidents. Of the 52 which occurred, 23 ended up being fatal. Based on analysis of these and investigation of other accidents which occurred in the region, the CIS issues 23 recommendations to operators concerning flight safety monitoring and implementation.

The Montreal Convention

Passengers who suffer injuries or who are killed as the result of international aviation may be entitled to compensation under the guidelines established through the Montreal Convention 1999 (MC99), in addition to establishing liability for baggage and cargo as well.

Under the MC99, the amount of damages that could be claimed was increased from previous agreements, and in claims over the damages cap, a reverse negligence standard is applied. This means that rather than the victim having to prove the carrier was to blame, it is the carrier themselves who bear the burden of showing it was not their own negligence which resulted in injuries or deaths.

The only thing off the table under the MC99 are punitive damages, which are awarded in cases involving particularly reckless and willfully negligent conduct. These types of damages may have come into play in the Lufthansa-related carrier crash which occurred in 2015. According to CNN news report, the co-pilot was diagnosed with mental issues prior to the flight. and ended up purposely crashing the plane into the mountains of the French Alps, killing all 150 passengers onboard.

Under MC99, liability limits are expressed as Special Drawing Rights (SDR), which are an artificial currency based on the value of a basket of currencies important to international trading and financial systems. Under the MC99 guidelines, carrier liability is limited to:

  • SDR 113,100 for death or injury of passengers,
  • SDR 19 per kilogram for destruction, loss or damage of cargo.

Contact Our Aviation Accident Attorneys Today

While few law firms have the specialized legal knowledge needed to represent victims of airline accidents, our aviation accident attorneys are uniquely qualified to assist you in getting the compensation you deserve. Contact Napoli Shkolnik, PLLC today for help if you have been injured or have lost a loved one. We file claims against carriers both in the United States and internationally, and we can help hold responsible parties accountable so you can get the justice you deserve.