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Can You Recover for Injuries on an Airplane?

Generally, if you think of sustaining injuries on an airplane, you likely think of the airplane crashing, which generally results in mass tragedy. This type of incident is quite rare, however, and flying is actually considered to be one of the safest forms of transportation in the United States. This is because the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that more than 32,000 individuals died[1] in car, truck, or motorcycle crashes in the United States alone in 2014. Compare this to the 716 individuals who died[2] in plane crashes worldwide in the same year and you can see why the air is considered to be a safe way to arrive to your destination alive.

Aside from fatalities in tragic crashes, however, approximately 4,500 individuals sustain injuries every year while in-flight on an airplane. Often, these injuries occur due to the negligence of the airline or its staff and, in such situation, the injured victims are entitled to compensation for their injury-related losses.

Negligence takes many forms to cause in-flight injuries

Like any other type of accident or injury, injuries in the air can occur in many different ways. In addition, many different parties may act in a negligent manner to cause the accident and injury. Some examples of negligent parties that may be held liable for injuries on an airplane include the following:

  • Airline pilots – Everyone knows that pilots have no control over the weather or other conditions that may result in the bumpy ride that comes with turbulence. However, pilots should always remain aware of possible upcoming hazards and adequately warn passengers and crew to stay in their seats and have their safety belts buckled. If an airline pilot is distracted and, therefore, fails to properly inform passengers of upcoming turbulence or does not turn the seat belt light on, injuries can occur to passengers who are unknowingly out of their seats. In addition to distracted flying, pilots can further be negligent if they arrive at work and operate a plane when they are intoxicated, overly fatigued, or otherwise impaired.
  • Flight attendants and crew – The individuals who work on a plane must complete many different tasks in order to keep passengers safe for the duration of the flight. For instance, they are expected to ensure that all overhead compartments are secure and, if they fail to do so, a compartment may suddenly fly open and heavy luggage may fall down on top on passengers, often lead to head or face injuries. Furthermore, they should keep the aisles free from objects that may cause a passenger to trip and fall. Other tasks involve managing carts in a reasonably safe manner and providing adequate attention and assistance to passengers experiencing an emergency mid-flight.
  • Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) – This agency is in charge of hiring, training, and managing all air traffic controllers. These controllers have the immense duty of keeping track of all air traffic and directing planes when to take off, when to land, and advising of the locations of other planes or possibly unsafe situations. If a controller arrives to work and is intoxicated, fatigued, or even simply distracted while on the job, planes may have near-miss episodes and the controller and the FAA may be held responsible for any resulting injuries to passengers.
  • Manufacturer of the plane – Planes both large and small have many parts that can potentially be defective and malfunction. If an airplane part does not work properly, the plane may especially have difficulty on take-off or during landing and the potential for injury is high. In such situations, the manufacturer should be liable for the losses of injured passengers.

Find out how a Clearwater personal injury attorney can help you

Cases involving injuries on airplanes can be complicated and can involve many different parties and extensive investigation. At the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA in Clearwater, Florida, we have the skill and resources necessary to tackle these challenging claims. We are committed to helping you recover for your losses no matter where your injuries occurred, so please call today at 727-451-6900 to discuss your case for free today.

Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756



[1] http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/812101.pdf
[2] http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2014/07/travel/aviation-data/