NEWS

MH17: Crash on Thursday 17 July 2014 – Airline Liability under the Montreal Convention of 1999 for Wrongful Death

22. July 2014
Under the Montreal Convention carriers are liable for Wrongful Death up to an amount of Special Drawing Rights (SDR) 100.000 per passenger.

In the afternoon of Thursday 17 July 2014 Flight MH17 of Malaysian Airlines whilst on her route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed near the Ukrainian-Russian Border and all 298 Persons are believed to be dead.

The reason for the crash will have to be investigated whilst first assumptions may indicate that the plane was hit by a rocket. Amongst the passengers there were 154 from the Netherlands,  27 from Australia, 23 from Malaysia, 11 from Indonesia, 6 from the United Kingdom, 4 from Belgium, 4 from Germany, 3 from the Philippines and one from Canada.

As regards the Compensation for Death of Passengers the Montreal Convention of 1999 applies where Article 17 Paragraph 1 specifies that “the carrier is liable for damage sustained in case of death or bodily injury of a passenger upon condition only that the accident which caused the death or injury took place on board the aircraft”.

Most important for the question of Compensation is Article 21 which is quoted here below in full:
Article 21 – Compensation in case of death or injury of passengers

  1. For damages arising under paragraph 1 of Article 17 not exceeding 100,000 Special Drawing Rights for each passenger, the carrier shall not be able to exclude or limit its liability.
  2. The carrier shall not be liable for damages arising under paragraph 1 of Article 17 to the extent that they exceed for each passenger 100,000 Special Drawing Rights if the carrier proves that:
  1. such damage was not due to the negligence or other wrongful act or omission of the carrier or its servants or agents; or
  2. such damage was solely due to the negligence or other wrongful act or omission of a third party.
In simple words this means that the carrier is liable for Wrongful Death up to an amount of Special Drawing Rights (SDR) 100.000 per passenger irrerpective of fault on the side of the carrier. SDR 100.000 are equivalent to EURO 113,966 at today’s exchange rate.

Please contact us if we may be of assistance in connection with the Compensation for wrongfull death.