Injuries on aircraft are a growing problem. The FAA estimates that more than 4,500 people a year are injured from falling luggage alone, and many more suffer because of airline negligence or malfunctioning equipment.
An airplane injury lawyer may seek compensation for in-flight injuries based on several claims.
Failure To Uphold “Common Carrier Standard”
When an airline accepts responsibility for the safe transportation of passengers, the company agrees to follow the federal common carrier standard. The law requires airlines to maintain a higher duty of care than other companies, because of their potential for harm to the passengers and the public at large.
An airplane injury lawyer can prove the airline failed to adhere to the common carrier standard through a number of negligent acts. Drink carts in the middle of an aisle may roll freely and injure shoulders or ankles. An improperly cleaned spill can leave a slip and fall hazard for passengers. Improperly latching an overhead bin could cause luggage to fall. If the airplane injury lawyer can demonstrate negligence in these areas, the airline may be held liable for the injury.
Sometimes the flight crew follows all of the necessary safety procedures, and an accident still happens. Most of the time these accidents are the result of a product malfunction.
Overhead bins are prone to broken latches and opening unexpectedly during flight. Seat designs that exaggerate injuries from other sources are also a basis for a product liability claim.
When An “Act of God” Is Not A Defense
Passengers may not seek compensation from the airline for injuries sustained while flying through turbulence. The FAA accepts turbulence is an “act of God,” and while the pilot should mitigate the effects of the turbulence as much as possible, turbulence is often unavoidable.
The “act of God” defense is not iron clad, and an airplane injury lawyer may pursue compensation for injuries resulting from turbulence. In order to sway such an argument, the lawyer must be able to show the pilot or flight crew was negligent in warning passengers to take safety precautions before the turbulence, or the pilot was inattentive and flew the plane into easily avoidable conditions.
Passengers have the right to expect safe travel on an airplane, and when injuries occur, passengers may seek compensation from several different parties. An airplane injury lawyer can walk clients through their case, and hold those parties that caused the injury responsible for their actions.