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Liability In Airplane Accidents/Crashes
Many studies have demonstrated that passengers in airplanes are often more safe than they would be in their own kitchens. Still, while serious in-flight injuries from airplane mishaps are rare, they do occur. Injured passengers may pursue legal claims against the airline, its employees, aircraft and component manufacturers, or even the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Here is a look at a few common in-flight accidents and some general information about what legal claims are available if you have been injured while on an airplane.
Many in-flight injuries are caused by loose items, such as luggage falling out of overhead bins or food carts rolling down the aisles. Some passengers suffer injuries from falling or bumping into objects as they move through the cabin. Turbulence also causes a number of in-flight accidents, especially when passengers are standing or walking as the pilot has allowed. .
Airplane injury claims are grouped according to what or who caused the accident.
- Claims Based on Negligence. If the accident was caused by the carelessness or inattention of an airline employee—such as a pilot, flight attendant, maintenance worker, or ground crew member—then standard negligence requirements usually apply. Generally, for negligence claims, the plaintiff must show that reasonable care was required of but not performed by the defendant.
- Common Carrier Standard. Entities that transport the public for a fee, such as airlines, fall under a legal category called “common carriers.” The law imposes specific and heightened duties of care on common carriers. In Florida, the reasonable care required of a common carrier for the safety of passengers is the “highest degree of care” consistent with the type of transportation and the practical operation of the business. All of the airline employees owe a heightened duty of care to protect passengers from potential harm as they board the plane, travel on the aircraft, and disembark from the plane.
- Product Liability Claims. In some cases, the aircraft or a part of the aircraft is responsible for an injury. Even if the airline employees were acting with necessary care, injuries from a defective aircraft or equipment can befall a passenger. For example, if a design defect causes an overhead bin to become unlatched during flight and the passenger below is injured by falling luggage, they may have a claim against the overhead bin manufacturer. However, if an airline employee knew of the problem and failed to take steps to have the faulty part repaired or replaced, the airline may also be responsible.
If you or a loved one has been injured on an airplane, then you should seek an experienced attorney to help you determine if you have a claim against the airline or its affiliates.
The Tampa personal injury lawyers of Wagner, McLaughlin & Whittemore fight aggressively to protect the rights of the injured every day.