With anywhere from 17 to 94 serious accidents affecting flight crew and passengers per year according to the Federal Aviation Administration, many of these accidents lead to lasting personal injuries. Airlines are required to compensate the injured after many accidents that occur before, during, and after flights. These four categories account for the majority of serious air travel personal injuries.
In-Flight Accidents and Turbulence
The majority of in-flight personal injuries are caused by turbulence. Trips and falls are relatively uncommon unless there's also some rough winds or bouncing in the cabin at the same time. Even if the pilot did everything they could to compensate or avoid poor weather, you still may qualify to hold the airline responsible for your medical costs. If the airline offers to send you to the hospital directly off of the plane, accept their offer but don't sign any paperwork regarding your injury until you talk to a lawyer.
Boarding and Exiting Injuries
The boarding and disembarking processes, in particular, can result in some serious and life-altering injuries. If the boarding tunnel isn't properly secured or fully extended, there's a risk of a sizable fall or slipping between the plane and the attaching equipment. International visitors can hold airlines responsible for boarding and disembarking injuries regardless of negligence, while domestic passengers must establish the airline's negligence.
Fights between passengers are rare but can happen, especially when there are stressful conditions like turbulence. Airlines must act negligently in some way to cause the altercation in order to be held responsible for a resulting injury. You may be able to prove the airline served too much alcohol to a fellow passenger, but you'd have to establish they didn't do the drinking before embarking. It's harder to prove an airline failed to prevent a fight since altercations are often impossible to predict, but it may be possible.
Loose Baggage and Malfunctioning Equipment
The rest of air travel-related personal injuries tend to occur due to either malfunctioning plane equipment or carry-on bags that fall from the overhead bins. A trip and fall that occurs due to a bag under the seat or in the aisle may also qualify as a loose baggage injury. Malfunctions of seats, safety belts, toilets, and even light controls are relatively rare but can lead to serious injuries. Documenting the condition of the equipment that injured you is essential in this kind of injury.
Learn more about how to handle your case; contact a local personal injury lawyer.