In re Deep Vein Thrombosis and Air Travel Group Litigation: QBD 20 Dec 2002

The claimants claimed to have suffered deep vein thrombosis having been sat in cramped conditions for long periods whilst travelling by air. They sought compensation, saying that the failure by the airlines to warn them and take steps to minimise the dangers was culpable. Under the Convention they had to establish that the injuries constituted accidents.
Held: The injuries were not accidents. The test was set out in Morris, namely ‘a simple criterion of causation by an accident’. An accident is ‘an unexpected or unusual event or happening that is external to the passenger’ (Saks). There was nothing in the respective flights which satisfied these tests. Article 17 was not fault based, nor was any theory of risk allocation to be applied, and the Convention was the exclusive remedy. Neither Human Rights law nor European regulations provided alternative remedies.

Nelson J
Times 17-Jan-2003, [2002] EWHC 2825 (QB)
Warsaw Convention on International Carriage by Air 1929 17, Carriage by Air Act 1961, EC Regulation 2027/97/EC on air carrier liability in the event of accidents, European Convention on Human Rights 6 8
England and Wales
CitedKing v Bristow Helicopters Ltd; Morris v KLM Royal Dutch Airlines HL 28-Feb-2002
Psychiatric Injury under Warsaw Convention
The applicants were passengers who claimed damages for psychiatric injury, after accidents in aircraft.
Held: The Convention created strict liability on air carriers, but explicitly restricted damages to be payable for ‘bodily injury’. That . .
CitedAir France v Saks 1985
(United States Supreme Court) The claimant suffered damage to and become permanently deaf in one ear as a result of pressurisation changes while the aircraft descended to land. The pressure system had worked normally. The airline said that the . .
See AlsoDeep Vein Thrombosis and Air Travel Group Litigation, Re CA 3-Jul-2002
Group litigation between the appellant passengers and the respondent carriers. Most of the passengers allege that they have suffered deep vein thrombosis leading to serious injury, as a result of travelling in the carriers’ aircraft. In some . .

Cited by:
Appeal fromIn re Deep Vein Thrombosis and Air Travel Group Litigation CA 3-Jul-2003
Passengers on air flights who had suffered deep vein thrombosis through inactivity whilst travelling sought damages.
Held: The claim in its nature was for something unrelated to any particular event. The word ‘accident’ necessitated some sort . .
At first instanceDeep Vein Thrombosis and Air Travel Group Litigation HL 8-Dec-2005
The appellants had suffered deep vein thrombosis whilst travelling on long haul air flights. The defendants said that their liability was limited because the injuries were not accidents.
Held: The claimants’ appeal failed. The definition of . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Personal Injury, Transport, European, Human Rights, Litigation Practice

Updated: 20 January 2022; Ref: scu.178701