South-Western Legal Studies in Business

Health Problems from International Flights Do Not Subject Airlines to Liabilityy
Description Appeals court held that a passenger could not sue an airline for a health problem he developed from sitting during a long international flight. Such problems are not accidents caused by the airlines that could subject them to liability under the Warsaw Convention that defines when liability occurs.
Topic International Law
Key Words Warsaw Convention; International Flights; Accident; Health Risk
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Caman sued Continental Airlines, claiming he developed deep vein thrombosis (DVT) while on an international flight. DVT required hospitalization and treatment. He sued, contending the airline had a duty to inform passengers of the risk of developing DVT while on long flights. The trial court dismissed the suit, holding that under the Warsaw Convention that governs liability in international flights, Caman had not suffered an injury as a result of an accident and had no recourse. Caman appealed.
Decision

Affirmed. The failure of the airline to warn passengers of a health risk of flying was not an accident as defined by the convention. Only bodily injuries that result from accidents are subject to compensation. The claim is based on an act of omission-failure to warn-rather than an act of commission that caused an injury.

Citation Caman v. Continental Airlines, ---F.3d--- (2006 WL 2136623, 9th Cir., 2006)

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