While it is a rare occurrence, it is possible for people to be seriously injured due to turbulence and other in-flight accidents. This could be a result of baggage falling out of overhead storage containers, slips and falls on the way to restrooms, or turbulence causing carts to collide with people sitting in their chairs.
When these types of accidents and injuries occur, you have the right to seek compensation for your injuries if they were the result of negligence on the part of the airline, its employees or the manufacturers of any parts that may have failed. Here’s a quick overview of what you should know about seeking compensation for in-flight accidents.
Filing in-flight injury claims based on airline negligence
The most likely circumstances for an in-flight accident lawsuit would involve filing a claim for negligence. This would occur if the accident was the result of carelessness on the part of a flight attendant, pilot, flight attendant or ground crew member, for example. To be successful, you would need to prove the primary elements of any negligence claim: that the defendant in the case had a legal duty to provide a reasonable standard of care, that the defendant breached that duty and that the breach resulted in the injury.
Airlines are subject to what’s referred to as the “common carrier” standard. A common carrier is any type of business or entity that transports the public for a fee. There is a higher expected standard of care required out of common carriers, including airlines—they must be vigilant and cautious at all times to ensure their passengers are kept safe from harm. This standard of care is expected out of all common carrier employees, including those mentioned above. This common carrier standard satisfies the “reasonable standard of care” requirement in a negligence claim.
An employee of the airline would breach that common carrier standard of care by committing certain negligent acts. One example for an in-flight accident would be a failure to properly secure overhead bins. During periods of turbulence, these unlatched bins could open up and cause luggage to fall out and hit passengers, which could result in serious injuries, considering how hard and heavy some of this luggage can be.
Other examples of negligent acts committed by an airline could include lack of proper training to airline personnel working on flights, lack of safety instructions at the beginning of flights, or a lack of any other types of policies that are meant to protect passengers on the plane.
Remember, however, that your success in your turbulence injury claim hinges on you proving the airline was at fault in some way. If the accident occurred while you were up wandering the plane while the “fasten seatbelt” sign was on and after the pilot had alerted you to potential turbulence, you would have a very difficult time finding success in your claim.
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Christopher Montes de Oca is an experienced personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles. Chris is recognized as a “Super Lawyer Rising Star,” a recognition that only 2.5 percent of lawyers receive, because of the exceptional results he has seen and his dedication to his clients. Chris services clients throughout Los Angeles, including Echo Park, Maywood, Long Beach, Whittier, Glendale, La Mirada, Pico Rivera, Hacienda Heights, and Alhambra. Call him today for a free consultation at (562) 901-4664.