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I Was Injured on an Airplane…What Can I Do?

Traveling by plane can be stressful enough without also having to contend with a personal injury. Unfortunately, not all airlines properly ensure the safety of their aircraft. Negligence such as failure to inspect a plane’s interior could lead to injury risks such as exposed metal, broken seats or loose carpeting.

In other cases, hazards typical of air travel could cause injuries, such as turbulence or luggage falling from overhead compartments. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has reported anywhere from 6 to 101 injuries related to turbulence each year since 2009. If you suffer an injury on a plane, you may have grounds to bring an injury claim against one or more parties.

What are the most common injuries in a airplane crash?

Airplanes are contained environments with unique health and safety risks. Being a passenger on a plane – even one in good condition – could expose you to various injury hazards. Common incidents that could cause airplane injuries include turbulence, falls from seats, slip-and-fall accidents, struck-by objects, luggage-related injuries, acts of violence from fellow passengers and injuries from refreshment carts banging into passengers. Injuries on planes can range in type, severity and cause.

  • Back and neck injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Bruises
  • Concussions
  • Contusions
  • Food poisoning
  • Head injuries
  • Lacerations
  • Muscle strains
  • Sexual assault
  • Soft-tissue injuries

Regardless of what type of injury you suffered while on a plane, consult with a Richmond aviation accident attorney to find out if you have grounds for an injury claim. An injury that results in medical bills, a trip to the hospital, physical pain, emotional suffering or lost income could give you the right to file a civil suit against the airline and/or another party in pursuit of financial compensation.

Liability for Passenger Injuries

Most injury claims use the basis of negligence. You may have a negligence claim against an airline if it or one of its staff members caused your injury. If a pilot, maintenance crew member, flight attendant or member of the ground crew contributed to your injury, the airline could be vicariously liable. To win this type of claim, you or your attorney would have to prove the common carrier owed you a duty of care, breached this duty and caused your accident. Common carriers owe heightened standards of care to passengers. They must use a higher degree of care to protect passengers from harm.

Examples of negligence that could lead to a passenger injury include leaving obstacles in the aisle, improperly latching an overhead bin, banging a cart into a passenger’s elbow or failing to clean up a spill. Any of these situations could point to airline liability for a related passenger injury. If you suffered an injury due to turbulence, the airline could also be responsible. This might be the case if the pilot failed to turn on the seat belt sign or warn passengers of turbulence, for instance.

You may also be able to hold the Federal Aviation Administration responsible for your injuries in certain situations. The FAA could be responsible for passenger injuries if they arose from a ground control issue. For example, if a ground controller negligently told a pilot he or she was safe to take off, but another plane was in the way, the FAA could be responsible for a resulting runway collision. Since the FAA is a federal entity, a claim against it will come with special rules and procedures.

Finally, a product manufacturer could be liable if a defective aircraft part caused your injury. If a broken overhead bin latch caused a head injury, for example, you could have a case against the latch manufacturer. A lawyer could help you assign fault and bring a claim against the correct at-fault party or parties in Colorado.