Articles Posted in Aviation Accidents

Anyone familiar with aviation accidents knows that one thing that can cause very sudden and very substantial harm to passengers and flight attendants alike is abrupt, unexpected turbulence. This risk of harm is generally highest for those who are in the plane’s cabin unrestrained. However, even if you are in your seat with your seatbelt fastened, you can be at risk. Whatever type of injury you have suffered in an airplane turbulence incident, if you’ve been hurt you should contact an experienced Chicago aviation injury attorney about your legal options.

Recently, a startling piece of turbulence-related video footage was published on people.com. A commercial flight, traveling across Europe, experience profound turbulence. The most obviously harmed person in the video was a flight attendant, who was steering a beverage cart through the plane’s aisle when the turbulence hit. The turbulence flung the flight attendant against the top of the plane, where she struck with her head, neck and shoulders. She wasn’t the only one hurt. Reports indicated that 10 passengers were hospitalized with injuries.

If you’re moving about the cabin (or otherwise unrestrained,) turbulence can seriously injure you. Even if restrained by your seatbelt, severe turbulence can, as a result of the plane’s violent jerking motion, cause harm, such as soft-tissue damage to your head, neck and back areas.

Flight attendants understand that there are some varieties of physical injury risks that come with the job. Injury from unexpected turbulence is one. Injury while assisting passengers during an emergency situation might be another. Flight attendants should not, however, have to factor in facing possible injury while dealing with passengers who have become physically unruly or out of control, but it unfortunately happens.

In fact, it’s happened a lot recently. In late January, Simple Flying reported on an Australian woman, en route from Melbourne to Los Angeles, who became highly intoxicated during the flight. The crew stopped serving the woman alcohol, but that only made her angrier. After she begin stripping and throwing garments at other passengers, the flight crew and two marshals sought to restrain her and, during the melee, one of them got hit in the face and another got kicked in the chest.

In late February, Fox News had the story of a Hawaiian Airlines passenger, en route from Honolulu to South Korea, who lunged at a flight attendant and attempted to land a punch. The allegedly drunk passenger missed his target and was restrained, but imagine how much damage this man, already a convicted felon, could have done to the flight attendant if he hadn’t.

Aisle seats can be “prime real estate” in commercial air travel. Given the small spaces in basic economy class, larger or longer-legged passengers may desperately crave these seats, sometimes paying extra for the privilege. These seats do come with a risk, though, which is injuries involving falling baggage from the plane’s overhead bins. In these days of large checked baggage fees, passengers are more motivated than ever to stuff more and heavier items into their carry-on bags, which further heightens the risk of accidents and injuries. Whether you are a passenger injured by a falling bag or a flight attendant injured while lifting a heavy bag, you may have a claim for injuries. Be sure to contact a knowledgeable Chicago aviation injury about your situation.

A recent news report from the Denver Post served as a reminder of this hazard. Although the events happened in Colorado, the passenger and the injury could have just as easily been at Midway or O’Hare airports. C.G., the passenger, was sitting in his aisle seat on board a Southwest flight bound from Denver to Newark. As he waited for others to board, another passenger attempted to use the overheard baggage compartment above C.G. According to the injured man, the other passenger was “infirm,” which doesn’t necessarily mean he was a person with a disability, but he was simply someone who was not well equipped physically to load the heavy carry-on bag into the overheard bin.

Eventually, the struggling passenger lost control of the bag and it crashed down on C.G.’s head, shoulder and arm, the lawsuit alleged. In his lawsuit, C.G. asserted that the airline was negligent because the flight attendants on board should have noticed that the allegedly infirm passenger was having difficulty with the bag and stepped in to help the man, according to the Post report.

At the end of 2017, United Airlines (now known as “United Continental Holdings, Inc.” after the merger with Continental Airlines) announced that it would be issuing each of its flight attendants a new Tumi brand bag. In March 2018, United Airlines began requiring its flights attendants use the newly issued two-wheel or four- wheel “rollaboard” Tumi brand bags.

Unfortunately, the transition to the new Tumi brand bags has created numerous issues for United Airlines flight attendants. Almost immediately, United Airlines flight attendants began noticing that these bags are awkward, hard to maneuver, and in some circumstances, even dangerous to use.

As flight attendants already often need to be performing physically strenuous tasks, moving quickly, working in tight and awkward spaces, and lifting, pushing, and pulling heaving luggage, the additional requirement to use these awkward and uncomfortable bags is unfortunately causing injuries to flight attendants’ wrists, arms, shoulder, backs, necks, and legs.

Stories in the news can remind us of many important things. A recent headline and story from England once again highlights the fact that being a member of an airline cabin crew can be a dangerous job. According to an Aviation Herald report, a flight attendant aboard an Irish airline’s plane was seriously injured when a beverage/meal cart broke free and crashed into his legs. As much as these news stories provide important reminders about the risks of being a flight attendant, it is also important to remember that, if you are hurt working as a member of a cabin crew, you may have certain legal options available to you to compensate you for your injuries. To learn more about the exact options you have, be certain to talk to a knowledgeable Chicago injury attorney.

From the cockpit of the airline’s Cologne-to-London flight, it perhaps seemed unremarkable as the flight was landing. However, in the cabin, a catering cart had broken free and, when the pilot hit the brakes, the cart raced toward a flight attendant and slammed into him. The flight attendant had been sitting in a passenger seat on the only partially-filled flight and, just moments before the cart crashed into him, raised his knees to his chest to protect himself. The impact seriously injured the flight attendant, inflicting a “suspected fracture” of his left femur.

This flight attendant’s broken leg is not the first time a runaway cart has caused havoc aboard a flight. Last year, a cart aboard an American Airlines flight slammed into a passenger’s head and allegedly impacted him with sufficient force to cause the man chronic traumatic brain injury and post-concussive syndrome.

One recent flight departing from Chicago’s Midway Airport arrived at its destination, but not before an incident of turbulence caused flight attendants to suffer injuries. This latest example of the potential dangers that flight attendants face in the air is something that could become more common if some scientists are correct. According to reports in nature.com and CNN.com, climate change may be fueling more turbulent air and could well create a future in which these incidents of “clear-air turbulence” happen more often and occur with greater severity. Due to the requirements of their jobs, this could pose a particularly high risk for flight attendants. Whenever you’ve suffered a midair injury, it is important that you talk to an Illinois plane accident attorney right away to protect your rights.

That recent flight was a relatively short one – a Southwest Airlines flight going only to Minneapolis-St. Paul. The flight encountered unexpected turbulence at some point along the path. Although the airline did not disclose to the media which duties the cabin crew was performing when the turbulence struck, the turbulence injured three flight attendants and no passengers.

Some of these instances of unexpected severe turbulence are events known as “clear-air turbulence.” This is a type of turbulence, as a meteorologist explained in a KARE TV report on the Southwest flight, “where air is moving aloft. You can’t see it because there isn’t a cloud developing.” Clear-air turbulence is difficult for both pilots and meteorologists to identify. Without something visible or measurements they can identify, pilots often cannot anticipate clear-air turbulence until it happens. Without visible indicators like clouds, meteorologists often cannot predict it either. Meteorologists have computer models, but those only give them a general idea, according to the KARE report.

Late last month, NBC Chicago reported on a Sunday afternoon accident involving several employees of a major airline who were hurt while traveling to their flight. Specifically, the employees were on a bus that was hit by a baggage cart. Six of the airline employees aboard the bus were transported to area hospitals for treatment of their injuries. The cause of the accident was still under investigation as of the NBC Chicago report. Airline employees who are injured in situations like this may have various avenues to seek compensation for the injuries they suffered. Anyone hurt in a situation like this should consult an Illinois aviation injury attorney about their legal options and potential compensation.

One example of a somewhat similar event took place in Philadelphia and was recently resolved by a state court in Pennsylvania. Betty, a flight attendant for a major airline, was headed home after her shift, which involved flying from Philadelphia to Miami and back. After the return flight, the flight attendant boarded a shuttle bus to ride back to the employee parking lot. While boarding the bus, Betty slipped and fell and seriously injured her left foot.

The flight attendant filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. The key issue in her case was whether or not she qualified, under the law, as being on her “employer’s premises” when she fell aboard the bus. The flight attendant received her award of benefits, since the court concluded that the shuttle bus was integral to the airline’s business and that Betty’s presence on the bus was required by the nature of her job. These factors meant that the bus was a part of the “employer’s premises” for the purposes of workers’ compensation benefits.

A glitch in American Airlines’ pilot scheduling system means that thousands of flights during the holiday season currently do not have pilots assigned to fly them.

The shortage was caused by an error in the system pilots use to bid for time off…..

Click here to continue reading the full NPR story

The crash of a cargo jet flying from a British military base in Afghanistan while hauling U.S. military vehicles killed all seven people on board. The crash also spawned multiple lawsuits, one of which was concluded recently here in Chicago, Cook County Record reported. In that case, the jury awarded the families of three of the deceased men on board a sum total of almost $115 million after the evidence in the case revealed that the vehicles on board were not properly restrained and that one of those vehicles broke free, leading to the crash.

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Airline passengers and flight crews acknowledge that deciding to fly aboard a commercial flight comes with certain risks. One type of risk that neither group likely anticipates while flying is facing injuries from a runaway beverage cart. However, on multiple occasions in recent months, runaway beverage carts have inflicted injuries on both passengers and airline employees. At least two of these incidents involved American Airlines and American Eagle. The incidents serve as a reminder that one can incur injuries aboard an airplane from many different sources. Regardless of the source of your injury, it is important to work with skilled Chicago airplane accident attorneys who can help you understand and protect your rights.

The most recent incident to make the headlines involved American Airlines Flight 1941. Early in the flight, the beverage cart, which was fully stocked and allegedly not properly secured, took off careening down the aisle of the Hartford-to-Charlotte flight. The cart, according to a Reuters report, hit one passenger with such force that it knocked his hat off his head. The total damages the man suffered went far beyond just a removed hat, though. The impact allegedly caused a large gash in the man’s forehead, severe bleeding, and a loss of consciousness.

According to the man’s complaint, the infliction of this serious injury did not lead the flight crew to initiate an emergency landing. Instead, the crew flew on to Charlotte, which took another two hours (after the accident occurred). The passenger sued American in federal court, alleging that the airline’s negligence caused him to suffer “chronic traumatic brain injury and post-concussive syndrome.”