Airplane Turbulence and In-flight Injuries

Injuries acquired from in-flight from airplanes crashes are rare, though they do occur. Airline passengers who suffer minor or severe injury from turbulence, slip and falls, or baggage falling from overhead storage may be entitled to compensation from the airline, the airline employees, aircraft manufacturers, or possibly from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Many are unaware that a large number of in-flight injuries are caused by luggage falling out of overhead storage. Approximately 4,500 passengers are injured from falling baggage. It is also common for passengers to be injured by rolling food carts, which may bump into and injure shoulders. Passengers may also injure their ankles or other body parts when they slip or bump into objects when walking to the airplane restroom. Sometimes, passengers may be injured from turbulence, as they can be thrown from their seats when not wearing seatbelts. The Federal Aviation Administration reports that 58 passengers a year are injured by turbulence while not wearing seatbelts.

If you want the file a claim for your injury acquired in-flight, the type of claim depends on what caused your accident. A common legal claim for a personal injury lawsuit is negligence. In a negligence claim, you are claiming that the offender violated their duty to exhibit reasonable care, and that the defendant’s carelessness caused your injury. If your accident was caused by the inattention of a pilot, flight attendant, ground crew member, or maintenance worker, you may have grounds for a negligence claim.

Since airlines are legal categorized as “common carriers,” meaning they transport the general public for a fee, they have a more strict duty of care. Duty of care refers to the duty of a person or entity to act with vigilance, caution, and prudence. This means an airline is required to exhibit a heightened standard of caution, and this standard is extended to the airline’s employees. It is important to note that this duty of care is in place when passengers are boarding the plane, traveling in the plane, and getting off the plane, but not after the passengers disembark.

Airline employees could be considered negligent if they fail to do something, such as properly training their airline personnel. They can also be negligent if they actively do something, such as leaving an object out which a passenger trips over. Negligence does not account for ‘acts of god,” meaning unforeseen and uncontrollable events, such as turbulence. Since an airline cannot predict turbulence, a passenger injured during turbulence may not be able to claim that the airline’s negligence caused their injury. However, if it is determined that the airline could have predicted the turbulence and failed to warn passengers, it could constitute negligence.

Airline injuries are not always the result of negligence, however. Injuries can also be caused by parts of the aircraft or aircraft equipment, such as overhead storage bins or loading ramps. If a passenger is injured by a defective part or piece of equipment, then they might have grounds for aproduct liability claim. In a product liability claim, the lawsuit is filed against the manufacturer of the fault product.

In any injury received on an airline, consult with an experienced attorney about your options. Passengers can also contact the Federal Aviation Administration to report concerns and complaints at 866-835-5322.


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