You may assume airlines are just as liable for mistakes and injuries as any transportation company. The truth is actually quite a bit more complicated.

Airline liability is determined by the Warsaw Convention, which ideally prevents a single disaster from ruining an airline. If an airline could be held liable for all of the damages no matter what the cause, one accident or security failure could bankrupt the company or perhaps even the industry.

The Convention has gone through a variety of changes since its introduction in 1929. At present, it limits damages on airlines to $75,000, regardless of injuries.

As people who have spent time in a hospital can attest, $75,000 doesn’t go very far with any substantial medical bills. Back or neck injuries, for example, can lead to a lifetime of expensive medical care.

In addition, while most companies and individuals can be held accountable if they ruin your property, the rules are a little different for airlines.

The Convention limits airline liability to $1500 for lost or ruined luggage. A couple of expensive suits or a piece of fine jewelry would pass that liability level instantly.

So what can you do to protect yourself in the case of an emergency or to make sure you recover money for lost personal items?

Separate insurance. True, travel is already expensive; but the expectation is that you’ll get separate travel insurance to cover medical expenses and lost luggage.

If you travel often, you may want to purchase annual travel insurance that covers flight emergencies, lost luggage, travel assistance for canceled flights, and other benefits. If you travel rarely, short-term travel insurance is relatively cheap, at only a few dollars a day in some cases.

Since our firm includes Memphis bankruptcy attorneys and personal injury lawyers, we know how to handle both travel-related injuries and overwhelming medical debt. If you have any questions about an injury or resulting bills you can’t pay, we’re glad to help. Contact us today to discuss your situation for free.


(Photo by Jasper Greek Lao Golangco)