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Can I collect only actual damages in a negligence suit against an airline or is there a consumer protection law that allows more

Paterson, NJ |

I was flying on an airline that destroyed my suitcase’s contents, valued at $300. The airline has not reimbursed me, due to incompetency and disorganization rather than a formal policy or actual decision. I want to sue them, to alert them that they can’t just push people around like this, and cause them to have to answer to a complaint so they learn a lesson. Is there any legal theory that would entitle me to more than the $300 actual damages? For example, is there a consumer protection law that requires the airline to pay the government a fine if I can prove that they are evading their legal obligations to compensate for damages sustained? Is there a law that lets me collect more than damages in a negligence suit?

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

I would disagree with counsel. Air travel and any damages arrising there from is controled by a tariff the airline has on file with the Federal Government. The tariff controls the terms and condtions of transportation, including damages in the the event something goes wrong. Tariffs typically limit the liability of the carrier. There are also treaties which affects international air travel

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Asker

Posted

Isn't a tarriff a tax? How could a tax control damages arising from an airline's air travel?

Matthew R Schutz

Matthew R Schutz

Posted

Tarriff has several meanings. One of which ia a tax imposed on imported goods. Another is filed document with a government entity governing terms and conditions of a contract

Asker

Posted

Oh thanks. For some reason that definition was not in my dictionary. How can I get Turkish Airlines' tariff? Hopefully I'll get a judge in state court that doesn't know much about federal law and international treaties and grant a generous judgment and hefty fine under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.

Matthew R Schutz

Matthew R Schutz

Posted

You should able to get the tarriff from the carrier or FAA

Posted

New Jersey's Consumer Fraud Act. However, you have to show an intentional act on the part of the airline to deceive or take advantage of the consumer. Their mishandling of your baggage is negligence at best.

Herbert Tan, Esq.
E-mail: Herbert@tanlaws.com
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Posted

There are specific federal laws (and where applicable international treaties) that limited the liability of airlines with regard to damage of property. Back in the day the ticket made actual reference to the applicable law. If you go the website of the airline you flew and do a search for lability with regard to suitcase damage they will likely provide the cite to the federal regulation at issue. Otherwise, I quick google search will point you in the right direction.

Best of luck.

DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that this post is not intended to constitute legal advice and is for informational purposes only. This posting in on way creates an attorney client relationship. You should contact an attorney to protect your interests.

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Asker

Posted

It didn't say anything on the ticket but on their web site they say they limit liability based on the Montreal Convention. I don't care. I'm going to drag this company through litigation and make them hire an attorney for all the damage they caused me and for evading their responsibilities. I want to teach this foreign airline that we in America don't operate this way and your actions have consequences. I don't care if my suit gets dismissed and it won't because I will bring it in a plaintiff-friendly state court where the airline has strong ties where the judges don't understand international law or they do but don't care. That'll teach em.

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