Who Is Responsible for Injuries Suffered on Airplanes?

Photo of a doctor examining an x-rayDid you fly anywhere over the holidays? Millions of people did, and while most flights are uneventful, sometimes passengers on planes suffer from aviation injury. For example, one traveler on a Southwest Airlines flight during the New Year was hurt when the plane struck turbulence. Turbulence can lead to several potential types of injuries – brain injury, for example, if overhead luggage falls on you, or cuts, bruises and broken bones if you fall over during turbulence.

Sometimes, turbulence can get so bad it hurts several people. Last year, a Jet Blue Airbus S320 flying from Boston to Sacramento struck turbulence. It left 24 people injured, including a flight attendant who was thrown against the ceiling. Overhead bins spilled, luggage emptied and a toilet was ripped from the floor.

Turbulence is almost never severe enough to make a plane crash, but it is the source of most in-flight injuries.

Are Airports Responsible for Injuries Caused by Turbulence?

For an airline to be responsible for injuries, the victim must be able to prove that the airline behaved negligently. For that reason, turbulence alone may not be enough to make an airline liable for your injuries. Turbulence can be unpredictable. It is the responsibility of the pilot to check weather conditions for a designated flight path. If the weather is conducive to heavy turbulence, the pilot may alter the flight path or delay the flight.

Another way an airline might be responsible for turbulence-related injuries centers on the status of the plane equipment. If a person is struck during turbulence by an object that was meant to be secured, the airline might be liable. Or if the locks on the overhead bins malfunction and turbulence causes luggage to fall on a person, the person might be able to seek damages for the airline’s failure to repair the lock, leading to injury.

Daniel 12:3, “Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.



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