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Airlines are crucial for maintaining our day-to-day lives, from delivering packages to allowing quick travel all over the globe. While airlines have made countless advancements since the Wright Brothers first took flight a little over a century ago, aviation disasters continue to occur, impacting victims and their families in many ways. Plane crashes may be the first thought that comes to mind for aviation disasters, but passengers may also be at risk for in-flight injuries.
Regardless of the nature of an aviation accident, the laws regarding aviation passenger safety are complex, making it difficult to understand your legal options if you have been injured in an aviation accident. You should contact an experienced injury attorney from Zinda Law Group by calling (800) 863-5312 as soon as possible. If we are not able to win your case, you will not owe us anything.
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FAQs about air travel
Knowing some facts about air travel can help you determine whether your rights as a passenger of the aviation industry have been protected. In the United States, passenger safety within the aviation industry is generally governed under the following agencies, each with varying scopes of authority:
What Does the Federal Aviation Administration Do for Passengers?
Air carrier and domestic airline safety in the United States is governed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which makes it mandatory for airline carriers to exercise a high standard of care in ensuring aviation passenger safety. While the FAA does not require an airline company to be the insurer of a passenger’s safety outright, airline companies, as common carriers, are generally held to a much higher standard than many other businesses if a passenger is injured as a result of any airline employee’s negligent behavior. The FAA requires airlines to take the necessary steps to do anything that may be reasonable under the circumstances in order to prevent a passenger from being injured in an accident.
Does the National Transportation Safety Board Ensure My Safety?
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal government agency which has the primary authority to investigate all civil aviation accidents. The NTSB defines an aviation accident as an “occurrence associated with the operation of an aircraft that takes place between the time any person boards the aircraft with the intention of flight and all such persons have disembarked, and in which any person suffers death or serious injury, or in which the aircraft receives substantial damage.” Meanwhile, an “incident” is defined by the NTSB as an “occurrence other than an accident that affects or could affect the safety of operations.”
In carrying out their investigations, the NTSB gathers and reviews evidence of a crash to determine the probable cause of the accident and to further develop and issue safety recommendations to relevant transportation providers or manufacturers, depending on the nature of the accident’s cause. For example, if the NTSB determines that a plane may have contained a manufacturing or design defect in the plane itself that caused or contributed to the crash, these recommendations may be targeted toward the manufacturer of the plane itself, such as Boeing or Airbus. However, if the NTSB believes the accident was likely the result of human error, such as an intoxicated pilot or some other negligent behavior by crew members of airline personnel, then the issues unsurprisingly would likely be directed toward airline companies rather than plane manufacturers.
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What Does the Montreal Convention Have to Do with Me?
Finally, if you were injured or lost a loved one on an international flight, any rights you may have to pursue compensation for your injuries or loss will generally fall under Article 17 of the 1999 Montreal Convention. The Montreal Convention is the international treaty which governs the liability of airlines for any injuries or deaths suffered by passengers during the majority of international flights.
inflight personal injuries
While airplane crashes are the deadliest aviation accidents, you may also be at risk of suffering an inflight personal injury any time you board an airplane. Some of the most common causes of inflight personal injuries include:
Turbulence is defined by the FAA as “air movement created by atmospheric pressure, jet streams, air around mountains, cold or warm weather fronts, or thunderstorms.” Unfortunately, turbulence is not limited to poor weather conditions, and it may unexpectedly occur even the when the sky seems clear. To prevent injuries caused by turbulence, the FAA recommends that passengers:
- Listen to flight attendants and the initial safety briefing at the beginning of the flight.
- Wear a seatbelt at all times.
- Always use an approved child safety seat or device if the child is under the age of two.
- Adhere to the airline’s carry-on restrictions to prevent many common inflight injuries caused by turbulence jostling a bag free that was partially stowed overhead.
Burns from Hot Liquids
Hot liquids, such as coffee, can spill on flights, causing passengers to suffer severe burns from these hot beverages. Common causes of these spills leading to burn injuries include:
- Bumping into other passengers or crew members
- Unexpected movement of airplanes
Slip and Falls
Passengers are at risk for this type of accident in and around the bathroom especially, or they may be caused by objects left obstructing the aisle as passengers move around the plane.
Passengers are frequently in a rush when boarding airplanes, hurrying to make their connecting flights, simply running late after delays getting through airport security, keeping track of children, or otherwise failing to prepare or practice proper flight safety. As a result, they may collide with other passengers, trip over bags in their way, or fail to properly stow carry-on bags overhead.
Mishaps with Serving Carts
Many passengers are injured when rolling service carts, often weighing hundreds of pounds, roll unimpeded and impact the passenger. These carts are difficult to navigate down the narrow aisles of airplanes and may collide with a passenger if the crew member operating the cart does not take proper care.
Injuries Caused by Other Passengers
Finally, passengers may be injured by fellow passengers behaving inappropriately. These unruly passengers may be intoxicated or simply become aggressive over a disagreement, but airline crew members are generally expected to protect passengers from being injured by drunk, aggressive, or otherwise hostile passengers.
While commercial airplane crashes may have become exceedingly rare, many air travelers suffer inflight personal injuries caused by accidents like these. If you have been injured while on an airplane, you should contact the skilled personal injury lawyers from Zinda Law Group, who have experience helping victims pursue the maximum compensation they are entitled to for their injuries.
Air Travel Tips
Hopefully you will never experience any type of accident while flying, but you should be prepared regardless. If you are in an aviation accident, keep these flight safety tips in mind:
- Remain calm and avoid starting a panic among passengers.
- Follow the directions given by the pilot or flight attendants, as their most important duty in the event of an aviation disaster is to help everyone evacuate the plane safely.
- Look outside the window before trying to open an emergency exit or door, as you may need to use an alternate escape route if there is a fire outside the door, to prevent flames from spreading into the cabin.
- If there is smoke in the cabin, try to stay as low as you can; hold a cloth over your nose and mouth if you have one, to breathe better while following the emergency lights embedded in the plane’s floor that lead to exits.
Aviation accidents can be terrifying experiences, but proper and informed preparation may be the key to helping you avoid catastrophic injuries or survive a disaster. Indeed, the U.S. Department of Transportation has noted that National Transportation Safety Board investigations after accidents involving aircraft indicate the benefit of being prepared; thinking ahead and being informed could make all the difference in the event that disaster strikes while you are on an airplane.
However, if you have been injured in an airplane crash or if you have lost a loved one in an airplane crash, you should contact a catastrophic injury lawyer from Zinda Law Group as soon as possible to discuss your legal options. Your attorney may help you understand your options as well as how you may be able to seek compensation from the airline or other parties for your injuries or losses caused by the accident.
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While airplane crashes and other large-scale aviation disasters have become much less common, especially among commercial airlines, they can still happen, and you should be sure to study safety tips before your flight for informed flight safety. These tips may be the difference in helping you avoid suffering catastrophic injuries or worse in an airplane crash. Meanwhile, inflight personal injuries still occur frequently despite federal agency oversight and the airlines’ commitment to aviation passenger safety.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an airplane accident or if you have suffered inflight personal injuries, you should contact one of the personal injury lawyers at Zinda Law Group as soon as possible. Depending on the nature of your accident and your injuries or losses, our attorneys may be able to help you pursue the maximum amount of compensation you may be entitled to.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.