Are Foreign Carriers Required To Provide The Same Support To Families Of Aviation Accident Victims As U.S. Carriers?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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If an aviation accident takes place involving an airline carrier located outside of the United States, that carrier is still required to provide support to the families victimized by the accident. This is mandated by the Foreign Air Carrier Family Support Act of 1997, which is a regulation of the US Department of Transportation. The Act states that foreign carriers need to provide the same victim’s assistance required of domestic carriers under another regulation, the Aviation Disaster Family Assistance Act of 1996.

What are the rules for aviation accident support?

The type of support offered by the airline carrier in such situations, regardless of whether the carrier is foreign or domestic, may vary depending on the nature of the accident. Generally, the support may include lodging near the site of the accident, counseling, burial and memorial services, cost-coverage, information on any ongoing investigation, and other needed assistance as mandated by the relevant acts and determined by the situation.

Anyone with questions regarding their rights after an aviation accident should contact the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which acts as a victim advocate and informational center in the event of such incidents. The NTSB is often the first source of information when an accident has taken place since any and all airline accidents involving United States citizens must be reported to the board immediately upon occurrence.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an aviation accident, you should also consider contacting an attorney. Aviation accidents, especially those that take place internationally, have a complex set of rules that regulate their aftermath. For example, the Warsaw Convention may dictate where you can bring legal action based on the aviation accident in order to recover your damages. A lawyer can help you to understand these legal rules and can assist you in making sure your legal rights are fully protected. 

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