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The Warsaw Convention: Part One

It came as some surprise to a client of mine recently who was involved in an accident whilst he was taking a trip in a hot air balloon, for me to advise that his claim fell within the provisions of the Warsaw Convention.I mean by this that the Warsaw Convention which was subsequently incorporated into the law of this country, and which governs air accidents where an element of carriage is involved, also includes carriage on board a hot air balloon.The provisions therefore apply including a 2 year limitation period so that legal proceedings had to be issued within 2 years of the accident date. There is no allowance in relation to this 2 year period, a party cannot apply to the Court to extent this period or indeed to dis-apply the 2 year period as one can do in an accident which is governed by the Limitation Act 1980, say a road traffic accident or an accident at work claim where the limitation period is 3 years. As I have indicated previously, if this 3 year period has passed, a Claimant can still issue proceedings and apply to the Court to dis-apply the period and allow the claim to proceed despite proceedings having been issued beyond 3 years from the accident date. The same does not apply if you are injured in a hot air balloon or in a similar situation where carriage by air is concerned.The provisions of the Warsaw Convention or at least the interpretation, subsequently incorporated a further rather unusual twist following a helicopter case which is quite well known now of Bristow Helicopters as it is commonly known. Although it is far from unusual to suffer a psychiatric injury in an accident which involves say a plane or a helicopter or even in this case a hot air balloon crashing, the Bristow case made it very difficult to claim for any psychiatric injury sustained and I shall expand on this in greater detail in a later blog which I hope will follow shortly.Tristan Hallam is a partner in Personal Injury in the London office of Russell Jones & Walker. If you or a member of your family has suffered an accident or injury call our expert personal injury solicitors on 0800 916 9046, or email and one of our specialist personal injury team will review your compensation claim for free