Injured while travelling on an airplane

Your Rights as an Airline Passenger

For so many, just the thought of air travel is stressful. Imagine after getting up the nerve to fly, there is some turbulence and an overhead compartment that was not secure comes open and a piece of luggage falls on your head. Unlikely? Probably, but not unheard of. As a result of getting hit in the head you have to go to the hospital to check out your injury. Because of the time spent at the emergency room, you missed a very important meeting, or your cruise sailed without you, or you missed a connecting flight. What recourse do you have?

If you have questions about your rights as a passenger and how to make sure the airline is held responsible for their negligence, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. Also contact the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to report your issue.

In-flight injuries do not happen very often, depending upon how the accident happened will determine if you have any legal claims available to you.

Most of the in-flight accidents occur when luggage falls from the overhead bins. Injuries from rolling food carts are not all that uncommon either. The cart can run into passengers arms or shoulders as they roll by. Turbulence-related injuries occur on average to about 75 passengers per year.

Airlines are not responsible for injuries that happen because of an ‘act of God’, which is defined as unplanned occurrences in nature that are unpreventable A common act of God would be turbulence. An injury caused by turbulence is usually not the fault of the airline, as they cannot predict this condition, so long as the flight crew provided necessary information and instruction to protect passengers as best they could.

However, if the pilot was aware of oncoming turbulence and did not pass along the information to the passengers, the airline could be charged with negligence should there be any injuries caused by the turbulence. Furthermore, if the attendants did not

    • instruct passengers to stay in their seats with their seatbelts on,


    • securely stow away any personal items,


  • Position their seats in an upright position

and then someone is injured because of the turbulence, the airline may be held accountable.

If you were injured when baggage fell from an unlatched or incorrectly latched overhead bin, research needs to be done to determine whether the bin came open as a result of negligence from the attendant, or because the bin clasp was defective. If a design flaw caused the bin to come open during the flight, a claim may be filed against the manufacturer of the bin instead of the airline.

Another example of an accident that may have more than one cause if someone falls while on the exit ramp and it is discovered that the ramp had a rise in it that caused someone to trip. The ramp itself may have a manufacturing defect and the passenger can file a claim against the company who made the ramp. On the other hand, if the airline knew about the problem on the ramp and failed to warn passengers, the airline may also be held liable.

If you have questions about an injury you received while on an airplane, contact personal injury attorneys near you to discuss your situation and determine who was responsible for your injury and how they can help.


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