Airliner Accidents | Aircraft Crashes & Incidents | Irwin Mitchell

By its nature, an airliner accident often involves the serious injury or death of many, potentially hundreds, of people.  Irwin Mitchell's experienced Aviation Law has decades of experience in helping the victims and families of airliner disasters to claim compensation individually or as part of a group.

Irwin Mitchell is the largest personal injury firm in the UK and has the resources needed to handle aviation accident claims. This can be a complex legal area, especially as many different nationalities are often involved, but we have multilingual lawyers qualified in a number of countries, which allows us to offer a world leading service to victims of airliner accidents regardless of their nationality.

Airliner Accident Investigations

In the aftermath of an airliner tragedy the victims and families endure a life changing experience but are often provided with no answers as to why the air accident has occurred.  Depending on where the accident occurred and the country responsible for the accident investigation, the accident report can take years to be published, leaving the families and victims in a “no man’s land” where the only information is speculation from the media and people who profess to be aviation experts. 

“You have dealt with all the issues promptly and efficiently and have always kept me informed. I have never had to chase you for information as to where we are with the case. The fact that we have achieved such a good settlement is all down to your efforts which I very much appreciate.” Linda

From the start, the Irwin Mitchell Aviation Law Team uses its considerable aviation expertise to independently investigate the causes of the air accident. This not only assists the families and victims to understand what happened and who should be held to account, it also highlights flight safety issues at an early stage so that pressure can be applied to improve flight safety, for example by lobbying for an unsafe airline to be put on the EU blacklist and banned from overflying EU countries.

Producing credible theories on the cause of an airliner accident, and how the airliner was handling, requires the expertise of a professionally qualified airliner pilot. Jim Morris from our Aviation Team is able to provide this expertise. Jim is a former Royal Air Force pilot who was professionally qualified on the Boeing AWACS, a 4 engine Boeing 707 airliner that is converted to a military airborne radar platform.  Having flown this aircraft around the world, and to the edge of its capabilities (formation flying, air to air refuelling, air show displays), Jim is in the unique position as an aviation lawyer to analyse how the accident airliner would be handling and reacting during the chain of events that lead to the loss of control of the aircraft.
 
For airliner accidents where the accident investigation is not providing answers, Jim is able to construct detailed flight simulator reconstruction scenarios.  These are then used in certified flight simulator sessions managed by Jim and using airline captains who are qualified on the relevant type of airliner.  Examples of cases where Jim conducted flight simulator reconstruction are the Air France Airbus A330, Kenya Airways Boeing 737-800, Ethiopian Airline Boeing 737-800 and the Air Blue Airbus A321.  This gives the families and victims the ability to see, from the crew perspective, what could have been happening and greatly assists in determining who was to blame for the air accident.

Our Legal Expertise In Airliner Accidents

The legal aspects of airliner accidents are very complicated requiring significant expertise and resources.  As a large number of airliner accidents occur during international flights, there are many issues to consider including which country you should make your claim in and how much compensation you will be entitled to. Much of this detail is laid out in the relevant international conventions (Montreal and Warsaw) and we will advise you on the best course of action. 

For short haul flights the international conventions will not apply (unless the flight is part of successive international carriage or by an EU carrier) so a detailed understanding of the domestic law of the country of accident, the airline’s terms and conditions of carriage and other agreements that the airline has in relation to passenger compensation is required.

Claiming Against The Manufacturer

Most airliners are manufactured by Boeing or Airbus. When problems with an aircraft have caused or contributed to an accident, Irwin Mitchell Aviation Law will pursue claims against these manufacturers.

Alternatively, where a faulty sub-component has contributed, Irwin Mitchell can, and often does, include the component manufacturer within the product liability claim.  This is particularly important as most airliners manufactured outside the US, e.g. Airbus, use a significant number of components and avionics that are manufactured by US corporations. We have successfully dealt with claims involving both Boeing and Airbus aircraft.

Where there is a credible argument that a US component has contributed to the accident, Irwin Mitchell will aim to bring the claim in the US to hold the correct defendants to account, and to obtain the best compensation for the families and victims. Find out more about claims due to manufacturing and design defects 

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