Turbulence is a common and anticipated part of any high altitude flight but it can also result in the injury of passengers if proper protocols are not adhered to or passengers are not in their seats when experiencing sudden shakes, shifts and jolts. In most cases, the failure of the passenger to use a seat belt or to return to his or her seat when warned is the cause of injury but negligence on part of airline workers can occasionally be to blame. It is when flight attendants, pilots or crew members fail to follow proper safety procedures or take the necessary actions to prevent injuries that the airline and its employees can be held responsible for costs associated with injuries that result from that negligence.
Types of In Flight Accidents to Passengers Due to Air Turbulence During Flights
Turbulence can cause numerous injuries to passengers and while most of the injuries that are sustained due to air turbulence are minor, others can be more serious. Injuries can result from the following circumstances.
- Falling objects— Nearly 4,500 passengers are injured on a yearly basis because carry-on baggage falls from the overhead bins. It is the responsibility of flight attendants to ensure that the overhead bins are closed and secure prior to takeoff and should loose baggage strike a passenger, the flight crew could be held liable.
- Trips and falls— When baggage is left in or near the aisle, it can be the cause of an accident. This is exacerbated if a passenger is moving in the aisle at the moment the airplane experiences turbulence.
- Service Cart Accidents— Serving food or drinks while experiencing turbulence can result in injury to passengers, which is why flight attendants will not do so when turbulence is expected. Occasionally, passengers may be struck in the shoulders, elbows or arms by a passing cart, resulting in injury. Determining whether the injury was the result of turbulence or negligence on part of the flight attendant is important when considering your case.
- Failure to warn passengers of turbulence— Airlines cannot be held liable for the majority of accidents caused by turbulence due to the fact that turbulence is a common aspect of flight and is to be expected and planned for. However, if passengers are not forewarned of turbulence when the crew is anticipating it, the airline and its employees can be held liable should an accident occur.
Duty of Care Owed to Passengers by Airlines and Flight Operators
Because turbulence is considered an act of God, it can be extremely difficult to bring a lawsuit against airlines for injuries that occur during the commonplace bumps and jolts. When considering whether negligence was a factor, duty of care must be examined. Duty of care is defined as the standard actions that an employee would take when placed in any situation. For example, if a flight attendant fails to make sure that an overhead bin is secure and turbulence causes it to open, the flight attendant did not fulfill his or her duty of care. The airline can then be held responsible for any injuries caused when baggage falls from the overhead bin and harms a passenger.
Injured During an In-Flight Accident? Contact Our Aviation Accident Attorneys Now.
If you have been injured during a flight, contact Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers today to arrange a free consultation with an attorney who has experience working on cases similar to yours. It is important to know your rights and whether you have the option to file a lawsuit. Our lawyers will be more than happy to investigate the matter for you free of charge to determine what your legal options are and how best to proceed. If we are unable to assist you or fail to collect compensation on your behalf, our services will come at no cost to you.