Air Carrier Liability: The Montreal Agreement

Air travel is the safest form of transportation, moving three billion passengers and millions of tons of cargo safely by air. However, accidents can still occur. The Montreal Agreement exists to establish air carrier liability in case there is an accident that results in injury, property loss, or death.

The Montreal Agreement (MC99) was created to replace the Warsaw Convention and first took effect in 1999. This new treaty modernized provisions concerning compensation for victims and families of aviation accidents. It also helped re-establish uniform rules related to passengers, baggage, and cargo engaged in international travel. In short, the agreement was designed to unify different airline treaties that have developed since the Warsaw Convention in 1929, making one single set of rules that can be followed by airlines all over the world.

The Montreal Agreement only applies to international travel that includes a point in the U.S. as its origin, stopping place, or final destination.

Under the Montreal Agreement, passengers are protected by a two-tier system of liability which makes an airline absolutely liable for up to $75,000 per passenger without the need to prove willful neglect by the airline. It also specifies the following:

  • Carriers must carry liability insurance.
  • Victims or family members of aviation accidents can sue foreign carriers where they maintain residence.
  • Victims are unable to receive compensation for psychiatric injury without proving that it resulted from a physical injury.
  • Passengers receive compensation for lost baggage though a fixed rate instead of by weight. The air carrier’s maximum liability for lost baggage is a fixed 1,131 SDR per passenger (approximately $1,595).

To date, there are 113 countries who abide by the convention.

The San Francisco catastrophic injury attorneys at Scarlett Law Group have substantial experience proving liabilities and damages in aviation accident cases, and can possibly bring our clients two to five times more compensation than they might receive from an insurance company. We are available to represent victims of aviation accidents around the world.

To speak to a lawyer, please contact our firm at (415) 688-2176.

  • 2015 Litigator Awards Ranked Top 1% Lawyers