For some of us, taking a flight is an everyday, routine part of life. We may inadvertently sleepwalk through the safety announcements, go into “auto-pilot” through security, and see catching a flight as an average event. This complacency means that if  something does go wrong, it can come as a huge shock to the injured party. A personal injury lawyer might be able to help.

If you are injured during a flight, it is important that you are able to access knowledgeable and experienced legal advice as soon as possible. Ensuring that you are correctly informed is essential in helping you to secure a just, fair outcome, and that you receive all the assistance you are entitled to. You need advice from an airplane accident attorney.

What Responsibilities Do Airlines Have?

Finding someone to blame is not always simple; there are a number of parties who could potentially be at fault. Legislation put in place by the Federal Aviation Act means that all airlines are legally required to meet a high standard of operation. They are also held accountable for any negligence on the part of employees, though airlines themselves are not considered to be insurers of passenger safety. Nonetheless, it is crucial that the carrier does everything they can to reduce the chances of injuries occurring. This can be achieved through correct management and maintenance of the aircraft and equipment, ensuring that all staff are adequately trained, and following industry procedures and requirements.

Airlines take responsibility for inspecting their equipment and checking that it is safe to fly, as well as for appointing properly trained pilots and crew members, who are able to do their jobs and ensure the safety of passengers with every trip. The responsibility does not only lie with those in the air; ground personnel must also ensure the safe conduct of any aircraft, including carrying our thorough inspections to determine safety. In addition, the manufacturer or seller of the aircraft, or any of its equipment, may also be found liable for faulty equipment, if this fault causes a malfunction. Any repair workers who fix an issue could potentially be liable if they can be proven to have been negligent, and air traffic controllers are also on the line if they fail to recognize and report a dangerous situation, or warn pilots of hazards. 

What Happens If I Am Injured?

In the event that you are injured during the course of a flight, and you can prove that the negligence, recklessness or intentional wrongful act of the airline or flight crew contributed directly to these injuries, then you may have a case to pursue a personal injury claim.

Under California law, there are four elements to help determine negligence:

– The defendant had a duty (to either commit an act or refrain from committing an act)

– The defendant breached this duty (was “negligent” in his or her duty)

– The defendant’s breach of duty caused the plaintiff’s injury(ies)

– The defendant’s actions were the proximate cause of the injuries (in other words, the defendant should have foreseen the dangers of his or her action or inaction)

– The plaintiff suffered actual damages (such as the cost of rehab, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc.)

In the event that you are able to prove one of these aspects as part of your accident, you may be able to pursue a personal injury claim.

What Are Examples Of Potential Injuries?

Injuries on an aircraft may come in a number of forms, and these include:

– Slippery or unsafe floors and surfaces

– Failure to secure luggage correctly, resulting in objects falling from overhead bins – these can be very heavy, and cause serious damage including lacerations, fractures or other injuries

– The crew failed to take the case to inform passengers to stay seated. This is commonly seen in incidences of high turbulence, where a failure to sit in your seat or belt up correctly can see passengers thrown around the plane, resulting in broken or fractured bones, concussion and other injuries. It is the responsibility of the crew to make these decisions and announcements; failure to do so can be seen as negligence.

– Accidents involving the serving cart – these tend to roll by design, and so have the potential to cause serious injuries if the crew lose control. Knees and other limbs can be damaged if they are in the path of a runaway cart, and the heavy weight can lead to serious accidents.

– Burns and scalds from hot liquids – again, this can be the result of a runaway cart, or due to the negligence of the flight attendant in charge.

What Can I Claim For? 

In the event that you are able to prove negligence, you may be able to claim damages and financial compensation.

This can be used to cover and meet a range of costs, including:

– Medical and hospital bills incurred as a result of your injuries, including any hospital stays, surgeries or medications required

– The cost of long-term care, including medical treatment

– The cost of any ongoing physical or occupational therapy which may be required as a result of your injuries

– Loss of wages due to the incident, and any loss of income you may suffer going forward – you may not be able to return to the same role, or be forced to work in a reduced capacity

– Any pain or suffering, including mental trauma

– Any scarring or disfigurement incurred

– The negligent infliction of emotional distress on the victim – the injured party

– Any injury to reputation which has occurred as a result of the case

– Any wrongful death

Punitive damages

What Can We Do to Help? 

If you have been injured on an aircraft, or during a flight, the first step is to get in touch with an experienced, knowledgeable personal injury attorney who can help you to take your next steps. Here at Thon Beck Vanni Callahan & Powell, we have a number of years experience in assisting individuals with personal injury cases throughout California. Get in touch today, and see how our top-quality team can help you secure the justice and damages that you deserve.