drinks trolley flight accident

Drinks Trolley Flight Accident: How to claim compensation for injury from a flight attendant trolley whilst travelling as a passenger on a plane.

Drinks trolley flight accident compensation: Solicitor sets out how a passenger can claim compensation from an airline for injury on a plane, how to decide which country a claim can be made from and how best to fund a claim for compensation for injury onboard a plane.

Drinks Trolley Flight Accident Claim Question

I was travelling on a flight from London to New York in the United States for a long weekend break with my husband for our anniversary. We had booked the flight and accommodation in New York separately. I was asleep in the aisle seat and my arm must have been hanging into the aisle.

I was awoken with a sharp pain in my arm – one of the air hostesses had slammed her drinks trolley into my elbow during the flight.

The air hostess was very apologetic she had been distracted by a passenger trying to get her attention.

She brought me some ice and made a record of the accident events.

When we arrived in New York – my elbow was swollen and in severe pain. We had a hire car arranged and my husband drove me straight to hospital, x-rays were taken and I was diagnosed with a fracture in my elbow.

Luckily, we had travel insurance which should meet the expense of my hospital attendance.

As a result of the accident – our holiday was spoilt as I spent most of my time at hospital or in the hotel room on pain killers.

When I returned to the UK – I have seen my doctor and been referred back to hospital. I work as a physiotherapist and I have been told that I will be unable to return to work for at least 2 months and as the it is an elbow fracture this could be much longer. I will need rehabilitation after the initial recovery period to give me the strength to do my job correctly as my arm is in plaster.

We notified the airline when we returned to England – they have acknowledged the accident events, indicating their flight attendant’s error, but have made no comment about compensation.

Can I came claim compensation and if so can I claim from the UK? We are also have limited money – so how best are we meeting the legal expense of a claim?

Flight Accident Solicitor Response

Can you make a claim for a drinks trolley flight accident?

As the drinks trolley accident happened during your flight you should be able to make a claim from the airline. As the flight and accommodation were booked separately it seems like you were not on a package holiday and as such cannot make a package holiday claim against the tour operator.

When claiming against an airline – international law applies, which imposes strict liability on the carrier. In other words a claimant must prove that an accident occurred on a flight and that the accident caused injury.  

The accident events are recorded and air hostess error seems accepted by the airline. Even if error was not accepted – the accident events would support that the airline would be held legally responsible.

See our detailed article explaining how to make a plane accident claim – which sets out some unique considerations which apply when you suffer injury on a flight.

You were also given assistance for your elbow at the time, you attended at hospital in the US and later in the UK – so proving injury (here a fractured elbow) should again not be too difficult from your medical notes.

The full extend to your injury however at present is not known. As part of a claim your solicitor would arrange for you to see an independent medical expert (orthopaedic) who would compile a medico-legal report to support your claim.

This report would have reference to your medical notes and x-rays, confirming the original injury – but also addressing in a prognosis your likely time for complete recovery or any ongoing disability or future risks (such as arthritis) in later years.

This report should also address your ability to work, which will have relevance for any lost income you may have.

Can you claim compensation from the UK for your flight accident?

“Yes” – as you were on a flight travelling from the UK to the US, you could either claim from the country of departure or the country of arrival. In other words – you could make a drinks trolley flight accident claim from the United States or from England in the UK.

How can you fund your drinks trolley flight accident claim for compensation?

There are several options that could be available to you to fund a solicitor’s expense in helping you claim compensation, which include:

1. No win no fee compensation claims

In a no win no fee agreement you do not pay your solicitor’s fees in advance; should you lose your claim you will not pay your solicitor’s fees and should you succeed in your claim,  the airline ( or the airline’s insurers) will meet the majority of your legal costs (although your solicitor could deduct up to 25% of your compensation for unrecovered legal costs).

2. Legal protection cover on your travel insurance

You have already indicated that you had travel insurance. Most travel insurance policies will include legal protection cover, which can fund your solicitor’s costs in making a drinks trolley flight accident claim.

Be warned – if your travel insurance was taken out with the airline for the specific trip sometimes the policy may contain an exclusion clause (in the small print terms and conditions) barring you from using it to claim against the airline.

3. Legal protection cover on your credit card

If you paid for your flight using a credit card – you will often have legal protection cover with the credit card purchase, which could fund an insurance panel solicitor to help you make your personal injury claim.

Making a flight accident claim for injury from a drinks trolley

See our online specialist solicitor free help options if you wish to consider making a flight accident drinks trolley compensation claim or any other claim for injuries onboard a plane.