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Suing An Airline For In-flight Injuries

You may have heard about the recent airliner accident in New York’s LaGuardia Airport on March 5th. A flight coming in from Atlanta attempted to land on the overwhelmingly snowy runway but instead skidded a troubling distance, smashed through the boundary fence of the airport, and eventually came to a stop just a short distance away from tipping into the chilling Flushing Bay waters. Luckily, the accident left a mere six passengers injured (all of which were minor bodily damages) and a minimal amount of property damage—damage which is likely already repaired. However, what if the injuries had been worse? What if this seemingly negligent act led to more than just few cuts and bruises; perhaps a fatality? If the plane had fallen into the Bay, would the airline be responsible for the serious injuries or deaths of over 130 people? In order to answer these questions, an act of negligence displayed by an involved party must be determined first. 

Some extreme examples of negligence in this situation include:

  • The pilot: Perhaps the pilot slept poorly the night before and his lack of alertness caused the crash which was nearly devastating for many. If this is the case, the pilot breached his duty of care to the airliner passengers to transport them safely to and from their destinations. Airlines are considered “common carriers” and therefore have a heightened expectation and duty of care.
  • The plane: With different parts coming from all over the place, it’s not surprise that planes can be defective right out of the factory, or slowly begin to show their defects over time and extended use. If a defective overhead bin door unlatches and allows luggage to fall out onto a passenger during the landing, the victim could have a product liability case.
  • The crew: Alongside the pilot, the flight crew owes a certain level of care to the passengers of the plane. It may be discovered that the overhead bin thought to be defective was actually just left open by a negligent member of the flight crew. This would be another situation where the airliner would be considered liable.
  • The runway/airport: The airport and runway crew is responsible for keeping the runway in good shape and constantly ensuring that it’s safe for planes to land. If there’s a bed of snow blocking the landing zone, they’ve got to get rid of it or the pilot can’t land the plane safely. In this situation, there could have been a thick layer of ice coating the runway. In this case, liability could fall on the airport itself.
  • The injured party: When a “victim of negligence” is enthusiastically attempting to find out who is responsible for their injuries, they sometimes forget to include themselves in the list of possible suspects. Often times, it’s discovered that an injured person is responsible for their own injuries due to a negligent choice that they made, i.e. not obeying the “fasten seat belt” indicator. 

This accident had a fortunate ending. If the plane ended up in the icy waters, it’s no question that many more injuries would have been sustained by crew members and passengers alike. Sadly, runway overrun accidents are one of the more common types of airplane accidents that occur, and they’re normally much more devastating than this one because they often involve the life or future well-being of a loved one. An experienced wrongful death attorney may be able to help in the unfortunate case that an airliner crash leads to a casualty. 

In-flight injuries are plentiful as well 

Aside from actual plane crashes, injuries occur all the time within flights that go just as expected. A great example (and probably the most common) of one of these in-flight injuries is a rolling cart accident. The rolling cart is designed to fit snugly down the aisle, jam-packed with snacks, drinks, and other goodies that are to be handed out to passengers aboard the flight. Forget about the fact that it’s made of heavy materials and equipped with small wheels; the mere knowledge that it’s filled with refreshments and food products should be enough to conclude that it weighs a substantial amount. How the cart actually injures a flight passenger differs from each situation, but given the right circumstances, it could do some serious damage.

No matter how unlikely it sounds, falling luggage is a real threat on planes, but unless someone is acting negligently, it shouldn’t pose a threat to your health directly. If the aircraft is experiencing severe instability, the fasten seat belt indicator should be illuminated, or instructions to stay seated should be given if the imminent danger isn’t obvious. If you’ve no reason to believe walking to the bathroom is risky, and you trip and fall on your way there due to aggressive turbulence, there are a handful of factors that could aid you in financial recovery for your losses.


If you or a loved one has suffered any physical, mental, emotional, or financial losses due to someone else’s negligence, you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case and a possible course of action. Accidents happen, but being left to suffer and cover your own medical expenses out-of-pocket should not be an option. For a free consultation and case evaluation, contact an attorney at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA today by giving us a call at 727-451-6900.

Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765