Aircraft passengers ultimately put their safety in the hands of pilots, but if things go wrong, it is only fair that they are compensated for any injuries suffered. In one case, a man who was lucky to survive when a friend's microlight nose-dived to the ground won almost £100,000 in damages.
The man was excited to accept his friend's offer of a leisure flight, but thought that he was about to die when the microlight's engine malfunctioned and it plummeted about 200 feet to the ground shortly after take-off. He was trapped in the blazing aircraft until a witness to the accident managed to get him and the pilot clear.
He was hospitalised for two weeks and his wounds were complicated by infection. He needed two operations on his feet and metal wires had to be inserted into his shattered big toe. He also suffered lacerations to his head, a neck injury and fractures to his breast bone and a vertebra. He had lost confidence since the accident, found life more challenging and felt like an older person.
After the man commenced a personal injury claim, the pilot did not put in a defence and played no meaningful part in the proceedings. Judgment was entered against him and he was ordered to pay his passenger total damages of £99,449, including £42,500 for his pain, suffering and loss of amenity.