Airplanes have been a popular way to travel ever since the first commercial flight happened in 1914. Over the past century, air travel has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry, with commercial airline carriers in the United States earning a net income of more than $5 billion in the first three financial quarters of 2013 alone. Each year, more than 2 billion passengers fly on commercial airlines.

The Reality of Airplane Accidents

With billions of people riding in airplanes each year, accidents are bound to happen, and people will end up injured because of these airplane accidents. An accident related to flying can be caused by almost anything, from a bird flying into a propeller to carry-on luggage falling out of an overhead compartment. Even severe turbulence can land a seated passenger in the hospital for spinal damage, a concussion, or another kind of personal injury.

Here are some important statistics concerning airplane accidents:

  • Nearly 80% of all plane crashes happen in the first 3 minutes after takeoff and the last 8 minutes of the plane’s descent.
  • A passenger on a flight has a 1 in 29.4 million chance of being killed while on that flight.
  • Pilot error is the leading cause of all fatal airplane accidents as it is the cause of 54% of fatal accidents.
  • There were a total of 99 accidents involving commercial flights in 2012, and 30% of those accidents happened in North America.
  • 43% of all airplane accidents were related to the safety condition of the runway.
  • 147 passengers sustained an injury caused by turbulence between 2009 and 2011.
  • In 1998, it was reported that 10,000 injuries occurred each year as a result of luggage falling out of overhead bins.

As common carriers, airlines are responsible for making sure that their passengers are safe on every flight from preventable injuries, such as injuries related to crashes caused by pilot error. Also, airlines may be at least partially responsible for injuries caused by defects in an airplane itself, whether it is a manufacturing defect or a design flaw.

However, airlines are normally not liable for accidents that are completely unforeseeable, including the 9/11 airplane hijackings and violent passengers.

Should I Contact a Lawyer If I Have Been Injured in an Airplane Accident?

Although flying is statistically the safest way to travel, airplane accidents happen with enough frequency that nearly a quarter of the American population experiences at least some nervousness with regard to flying. If you have been injured as a result of flying, you should contact a hire a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to see about protecting your rights with regard to pursuing compensation for your injuries.