ECJ: Laudamotion is liable for psychological consequences after the Stansted incident

Airbus A320 (Photo: Jan Gruber).
Airbus A320 (Photo: Jan Gruber).

ECJ: Laudamotion is liable for psychological consequences after the Stansted incident

Airbus A320 (Photo: Jan Gruber).
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The European Court of Justice has ruled that the former airline Laudamotion is also liable for psychological damage. The background is the clumsy evacuation carried out at London Stansted Airport in March 2019. A woman complained through the instances, so that the case ended up before the European Supreme Court.

In March 2019, a defect in the left engine occurred during take-off of an Airbus A320 operated by the airline Laudamotion at the time. The accident investigation showed that the evacuation was started arbitrarily by a flight attendant. The captain had given the order "on station", but the lady prompted the A320 to exit immediately.

At this time, the right engine was still in operation. The jet blast threw a woman several meters through the air. As a result, she is said to have suffered post-traumatic stress disorder. She wanted to see appropriate compensation from Laudamotion in order to have the therapy costs reimbursed, among other things. However, the carrier did not want to pay and took the view that one is only liable for physical damage.

The Supreme Court referred the case to the European Court of Justice for a decision. The question was whether a mental impairment is equivalent to physical injury and whether the airline is liable as a result. The highest European judges have affirmed this. The international aviation convention is to be interpreted in such a way that "for a mental impairment suffered by a passenger as a result of an 'accident' within the meaning of this provision (...) compensation is to be paid in the same way as for such physical injury".

However, the burden of proof that a mental illness requiring treatment has resulted lies with the passenger. It must be demonstrated that the severity or intensity cannot subside without medical treatment.

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