In-Flight Personal Injury Lawsuit

Where You Need a Lawyer:

(This may not be the same place you live)

At No Cost! 

 Are Airlines Liable for Personal Injury During Flight?

Air travel has become an essential mode of transportation for millions around the world. But like any mode of transit, it comes with its own set of risks. From turbulence-related jolts to more severe airplane accidents, in-flight injuries can occur. How and when an airline is held accountable for these injuries, however, can be a complex issue.

Are Airlines Liable for Personal Injury During Flight?

Yes, airlines have a duty of care towards their passengers. This means they are obligated to ensure a safe environment and take necessary precautions to prevent personal injuries during a flight. But liability isn’t automatic. An airline might be able to prove that they took all necessary precautions and that unforeseeable circumstances caused the injury. If so, they may not be held responsible.

What Are the Common Causes of In-Flight Injuries?

Air travel is considered one of the safest modes of transportation. However, despite rigorous safety standards and protocols, accidents and injuries can still happen mid-flight. These in-flight injuries can be attributed to various factors, each presenting its unique risks and challenges. Let’s dive deeper into some of the common causes of injuries during air travel.


Often dubbed the “roller coaster of the skies,” turbulence stands out as the primary cause of in-flight injuries. This phenomenon results from sudden air pockets, atmospheric disturbances, or changes in air currents. When an airplane encounters turbulence, it may jolt, shake, or even undergo a sudden drop.

Example: Consider a scenario where passengers are moving about the cabin, and the seatbelt sign is off. An unexpected bout of severe turbulence hits, causing those standing to lose their balance. Passengers not wearing seatbelts could be jolted from their seats. Items like hot beverages could spill, and unsecured bags could tumble from overhead compartments, posing injury risks.

Slip and Falls

The confined space of an airplane, combined with factors like wet lavatory floors, uneven or cluttered cabin walkways, or sudden movements due to turbulence, can create a ripe environment for slips and falls.

Example: A passenger might be returning to their seat after using the restroom. If someone spilled a drink and it wasn’t cleaned promptly, that passenger could slip, injuring themselves.

Overhead Bin Accidents

Overhead storage bins, while convenient, come with their share of risks. Items not properly stowed or those that shift during the flight can fall when the bin is opened, leading to injuries.

Example: Imagine a passenger trying to fit an oversized bag into the overhead compartment. During a bout of mild turbulence or when the plane is tilting during landing, the bag could tumble out onto another passenger, causing head or shoulder injuries.

Airplane Accidents

Though statistically rare, airplane crashes or accidents during takeoff, landing, or flight are the most severe causes of in-flight personal injuries. These incidents can range from minor technical failures to catastrophic events leading to wrongful death.

Example: A flight might experience a bird strike on takeoff, causing engine damage. While the plane could land safely, the event might lead to panic, physical injuries from moving objects, or even more severe consequences if an emergency landing is required.

Being aware of these potential risks can help passengers exercise caution and better prepare for their journeys. If unfortunate enough to experience such an incident, seeking the right legal and medical assistance becomes necessary.

Who Is Responsible for My In-Flight Injuries?

Depending on the nature of the injury and its causes, different parties could be held accountable. Here’s a closer look at potentially responsible parties.

Airline Responsibility

Airlines have a duty to ensure the safety and well-being of their passengers. If an in-flight injury arises due to the negligence or oversight of the crew, the airline may be at fault. For instance:

  • Unsecured Objects: The crew is responsible for ensuring that all objects, from catering carts to luggage, are securely stored, especially during takeoff, landing, and turbulence. If these objects are not properly secured and cause injury, the airline might be held liable.
  • Foreseeable Turbulence: Not all turbulence can be predicted. However, if the crew is aware of incoming turbulence and fails to warn passengers to buckle up, resulting injuries might place the airline at fault.
  • Cabin Safety: Maintaining safe walking surfaces and ensuring that equipment is in working order falls under the purview of the airline. Wet floors, faulty seats, or other hazardous conditions that lead to injuries could result in the airline being held responsible.

Fellow Passengers

At times, the actions of other passengers can directly result in harm. Examples include:

  • Reckless Behavior: An unruly passenger who disregards safety instructions, like not stowing their luggage properly, could be a direct cause of injury to others.
  • Physical Altercations: Physical disputes that ensue on board and result in harm can lead to the involved passengers being held liable for injuries caused.

Manufacturers and Maintenance Providers

Aircrafts are intricate machines that require meticulous construction and regular maintenance. If an in-flight injury or airplane accident is attributed to a mechanical or structural failure, those responsible for the plane’s production or upkeep could be accountable.

  • Mechanical Failures: Manufacturers are responsible for producing aircraft that meet stringent safety standards. If a component fails due to poor design or manufacturing flaws leading to injuries, the manufacturer might be liable.
  • Maintenance Oversight: Routine checks and repairs are essential for aircraft safety. A maintenance provider may overlook a defect or may not conduct proper checks, leading to an accident. In this case, they could be held accountable for resulting injuries.

What to Do if You Get Injured During Flight?

Experiencing an injury during a flight can be a traumatic ordeal. The confines of an aircraft present unique challenges when addressing such incidents. Knowing the immediate actions to undertake can help ensure your well-being and protect your rights.

Seek Medical Attention

Your well-being is of the utmost importance. If you sustain an injury, especially a severe one, you must get medical help immediately. Even if the injury appears minor, it’s advisable to consult with a medical professional upon landing to rule out any underlying issues.

Document the Injury

Thorough documentation can be pivotal if you later decide to pursue a claim. Taking photos of the injury and its cause can serve as vital evidence. Additionally, collecting statements or contact details from witnesses can provide supportive accounts of what transpired.

Report to Cabin Crew

Inform the flight attendants about your injury, not just to receive immediate assistance but also to ensure the incident is logged officially. The cabin crew’s report might be important if you decide to seek compensation later.

Preserve Evidence

If a particular item or condition within the aircraft caused your injury, it’s beneficial to document or retain evidence. This could include photographs of faulty equipment, spilled liquids, or any other hazard that might have contributed to your injury.

Should I Speak With an Attorney if I Have Been Injured In-Flight?

Absolutely. Airline injury claims can be intricate due to international laws, aviation regulations, and the complexities of proving negligence. If you’ve suffered from in-flight injuries or the wrongful death of a loved one due to an airplane accident, consult with a personal injury lawyer. They can guide you through the legal process and ensure your rights are protected.

In need of legal advice? Contact a seasoned personal injury lawyer through LegalMatch to discuss your case and explore your options.

Save Time and Money - Speak With a Lawyer Right Away

  • Buy one 30-minute consultation call or subscribe for unlimited calls
  • Subscription includes access to unlimited consultation calls at a reduced price
  • Receive quick expert feedback or review your DIY legal documents
  • Have peace of mind without a long wait or industry standard retainer
  • Get the right guidance - Schedule a call with a lawyer today!

16 people have successfully posted their cases

Find a Lawyer