In a tragic accident that occurred in a Spanish airport in September of last year, a young mother lost her daughter in an accident involving an oversized baggage belt. According to a report by one news source, the family were on their way to a Mediterranean beach vacation, flying from London into Spain, when the accident occurred at the Alicante-Elche Airport.
Evidently, the mother was carrying her child in a car seat when she needed to free up a hand to pick up some other luggage. She set the car seat with her child in it on a stationary luggage belt used for oversize luggage. At the time, it was not on and was not moving. However, the weight from the car seat caused the belt to start up, tossing the young child from her car seat.
The baby was caught between two belts and eventually died from head injuries she sustained as a result.
After conducting an investigation into the event, the Spanish authorities determined that the death was the fault of the “person who was in charge of the child,” which was her mother. However, the woman has since filed suit in the United States against the manufacturer of the belt, a company based in the Netherlands. The woman is basing her lawsuit on the legal theories of “wrongful death, negligence, design defects and failure to warn.”
Liability in International Accidents
It may come as news to some, but the woman in this case filed suit in a United States court, although the manufacturer of the belt is in the Netherlands and the accident occurred in Spain.
The jurisdiction of the United States courts extends to some accidents that occur outside the United States in some situations. One of these situations is when the company has a significant presence in the United States, even if the accident occurred elsewhere.
Thus, the Netherlands-based company will need to defend against the lawsuit in a US court that will apply US laws. The justification for requiring them to do this is that they hold themselves out as a reputable business in the United States, and therefore willingly submit to our laws. Of course, the company may wish to try and get the case dismissed based on a lack of jurisdiction, but the result of such a challenge remains to be seen.
Have You Been Injured in an Accident While Abroad?
If you have been injured in a serious accident while abroad, you may be able to file suit against the responsible party here in the United States. However, it will be dependent on the facts of the specific situation. To learn more about the laws in the United States that allow US citizens to pursue legal causes of action that occurred overseas, you should speak to a dedicated personal injury attorney. Contact us through our website, or call 410-654-3600 to set up a free consultation with one of our attorneys to discuss your potential case.
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