Can You Get Injured During Airplane Travel?

While the fatality risk of air travel is less than driving by road, when an accident does take place onboard an aircraft, it can cause a lot of stress. Though airlines make it a priority to ensure safe travel, passengers still get injured during a flight.

Airplane travel
Photo by Gerrie van der Walt on Unsplash

There are many reasons injuries take place during air travel. It’s surprisingly similar to getting injured by any other motor vehicle. Different parties become liable in such cases, and insurance regulators must determine the at-fault party.

If you’re seeking compensation for an injury that occurred on board a flight but aren’t sure what applies, read this article to learn more about air travel accidents.

Determining Liability in Airline Injury Cases

Anytime a passenger gets injured in flight because of an accident on board, the airline is deemed liable for the damage incurred. Additionally, when an employee on board shows negligence, which results in a passenger getting injured, the airline is usually liable.

According to personal injury law, if you’ve sustained injuries or have experienced wrongful death in your family because of a plane crash or accident, you are eligible to get compensation from the responsible party.

For instance, when a flight attendant accidentally runs the food cart over a passenger’s foot or causes any kind of injury, then the airline must cover compensation for the damage. There are cases where the airline is considered at fault if the flight attendant fails to perform any other duty that could result in some kind of accident.

Whether you’re onboard a private or commercial plane, air-flight injuries occur. The legal turmoil that follows loops in several people, from the cabin crew to the aircraft manufacturers. Airline personal injury cases often land in court when the airline neglects the passenger’s health and well-being, like lack of medical care.

However, there are personal injury cases where other entities are deemed liable for the injury based on the product liability theory. For instance, if the overhead bin flew open because of a defective latch, the airline would not face any legal consequences for the accident. Instead, the airplane manufacturer is deemed liable for damage sustained.

Air travel injuries may also occur when other conditions are in place, like when air traffic control systems suffer from technical errors. As a result, airplanes may chip against each other on the runway, experiencing a force of impact that could lead to in-flight injuries or surface damage. In such cases, the FAA is deemed liable.

Common Causes of Airplane Accidents

All airline injuries are not life-threatening. Some passengers might sustain personal injuries that are less catastrophic but severe nonetheless. For example, a passenger might suffer a concussion from luggage that fell from the overhead bin. If the flight attendant showed negligence and failed to secure it, the airline is deemed liable.

To ensure passenger safety and comfort, all airlines must meet common carrier standards in terms of training crew and attendants. Airline flight attendants must exercise duty of care for passengers before, during, and after a flight has ended. For this reason, they constantly remind passengers to buckle up or put up the food trays.

Common accidents that take place during a flight are:

  • Flying objects striking passengers during turbulence
  • Lack of first aid treatment by the flight crew members
  • Accidents caused by unsecured luggage and uneven surfaces
  • Accidents caused by unmarked elevations along the aisles
  • Accidents caused by unsanitary food or beverages in the cart
  • Second and third-degree burns from hot liquids, like tea or coffee
  • Head injuries caused by luggage falling down from overhead bins

In-flight dangers that occur due to negligence by other entities:

  • Technical errors along the runway
  • Air traffic controller complications
  • Manufacturing and design defects
  • Mechanical issues with the airplane
  • Engine failure or inadequate fuel
  • Flying under the influence or pilot errors
  • Fatigue and inebriation
  • Unpredictable weather conditions

To reduce in-flight injuries during turbulence, most airlines install AI-powered early warning systems, like ground-mounted microphones, to monitor sound waves. Once the sensors pick up ultralow frequency waves, they can take countermeasures.

Common Airplane Crash Injuries

Most airlines and other responsible parties make mistakes, resulting in a wide range of airline accidents. Cases like inattentive handling of in-flight amenities, improper take-off along the runway, and more can lead to serious repercussions for passengers on board a flight.

Common airplane injuries include:

  • Brain injuries: Passengers can suffer from traumatic brain injuries when a heavy object falls out of an unsecured space. They might experience other issues like a hemorrhage in the event of a crash or during turbulence. If the injury results in a permanent disability, passengers can claim compensation for damages like medical expenses, loss of pay, pain and suffering, or even lifelong care.
  • Spinal cord injuries: Passengers are more likely to damage their spinal cord in the event of a slippery landing, direct collision, or engine failure. Most injuries related to the spinal cord can result in temporary or permanent paralysis. Passengers can claim compensation from the at-fault party for extensive physical therapy.
  • Soft tissue injuries: While soft tissue injuries might not sound painful, they can be permanent after some accidents. Any damage to the muscle, ligament, or tendons can immediately cause swelling and pain. Without proper treatment, such injuries may never heal, often causing lifelong conditions and restricted mobility.
  • Fractures and broken bones: Most in-flight injuries occur as a result of forceful impact, like in the case of a plane crash. Such injuries take time to heal, cause a lot of pain, and require intensive medical treatments. Most people take time off from work to recover from a bone injury, which may result in loss of pay.
  • Burns and lacerations: The most severe injuries in air travel take place during a plane crash, resulting in second or third-degree burns. Some injuries may require surgery or skin grafts to heal, while others cause permanent scarring. When a passenger is exposed to friction or highly combustible fuel, they may suffer severe burns.

It helps to be aware of potential accidents that could result in injuries while traveling by air. If you are ever involved in an in-flight accident, you should equip yourself with knowing what steps to take and your legal right to claim compensation from the at-fault party.

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