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Is It Possible to sue an Airline if Turbulence Causes Injury?

A recent Turkish Airlines flight slated to travel to New York from Istanbul encountered significant turbulence, resulting in considerable injuries to nearly 30 passengers on board. In fact, the turbulence was so bad that a flight attendant endured a broken leg during the event. The flight landed safely in New York yet more than two dozen injured passengers required medical attention at a Queens hospital. Though this is an extreme example of the pain and drama caused by turbulence, the vast majority of people will eventually encounter flight turbulence.

Thankfully, most turbulence is minor, resulting in insignificant injuries or no injury at all. However, as evidenced by the Turkish Airlines flight detailed above, severe turbulence that causes harsh injury is possible. According to the FAA, 17 people were injured as a result of turbulence in the year 2017. Though this figure might seem somewhat low, it must be noted the FAA limits its injury count to those that require a multiple-day stay in the hospital.

Liability for Airplane Injuries

If you are injured on an airplane as a result of turbulence, the party most susceptible to legal liability is the airline. Such liability exists as airlines are categorized as common carriers such as a train or a bus in the eyes of the law. Common carriers are legally mandated to provide customers with a duty of care in order to keep them completely safe. Though airlines have such a duty of care to safeguard passengers, it is not exactly easy to make a successful claim against an airline if injured due to turbulence. Merely proving the turbulence caused the injury is not enough to obtain compensation. You must also be able to prove the airline or its workers did not provide you with due care and this inaction ended up causing you harm.

As an example, consider a situation in which a pilot or a flight attendant warned passengers of pending turbulence either by making an in-flight announcement or by notifying passengers they should fasten their seatbelts. If such preventative actions are taken, the airline is not guilty of negligence. Furthermore, if the passenger failed to follow proper protocol amidst turbulence, such as keeping one’s legs in the aisle, there is no solid legal footing for a personal injury lawsuit. However, if airline staffers do not provide any such turbulence warning or if the plane is not properly staffed and does not properly handle the turbulence, there is legal grounds for a successful claim.

Defective Products in the Context of Plane Injuries

In some situations, you do everything right, such as keeping your seatbelt connected for the entirety of the flight, yet still end up injured. As an example, it is possible your seatbelt will fail, leaving you unsecured in your seat and susceptible to injury during turbulence or another event. Even something like a drink cart with a compromised wheel can slam into you and cause an injury. In such cases, it might be possible to obtain compensation through a product liability lawsuit.

Our Top Personal Injury Attorneys in New Jersey are on Your Side

If you are injured and suspect another person or party might be even partially responsible, contact our law firm right away. Dial 732-774-1000 to learn more about our legal services and schedule an appointment where we will review the details of your unique case.

The bottom line is filing a legal claim against an airline has the potential to prove quite challenging. Our savvy personal injury attorneys at Schibell Law are here to work with you to help you obtain compensation for your injuries. We will fiercely litigate on your behalf to right this wrong. You can reach our legal team led by Richard Schibell by dialing 732-774-1000.


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