Hawaii is a prime tourist destination, and most visitors reach the islands by air. Inter-island air travel is also common for locals, military personnel, and tourists. Turbulence during flights can cause injuries, and those injured or their loved ones may wonder how to sue an airline for negligence. Recovery Law Center’s personal injury lawyers have offices in Honolulu and Waipahu to help airline passengers receive compensation for their mid-flight injuries, caused by the airline’s negligence.
Do You Know How To Sue an Airline for Negligence?
Commercial airlines are common carriers, meaning they must uphold a higher duty of care to protect their passengers and keep them safe. The entire company and all employees, including flight personnel, have this responsibility.
If an airline or its employees fail to uphold their duty of care and injuries result, they may be liable for the damage caused by their negligence. The attorneys at Recovery Law Center have experience recovering compensation for injured airline passengers.
What Is Turbulence?
Injuries resulting from turbulence often make the news. Irregular air currents can cause moderate to severe altitude or angle shifts. Passengers describe turbulence as feeling like bumpiness or choppiness.
Turbulence intensity varies by several degrees:
- Light: Aircraft may rise or drop around 1 yard of altitude.
- Moderate: The rise or drop increases to 3 to 6 yards, and mild airspeed changes may occur.
- Severe: Rapid changes can cause rises or drops of up to 32 yards, and pilots may lose control briefly.
- Extreme: The turbulence violently shakes an aircraft, leaving pilots unable to control it.
While passengers probably won’t notice light turbulence, they definitely feel more substantial shifts. There are many potential causes of turbulence, including:
- Flying over mountain ranges
- Jet streams
- Atmospheric pressure
- Warm or cold weather fronts
The cause of the turbulence may determine how long it lasts. Pilots can often predict turbulence and may try to avoid it, although that’s not always possible. Turbulence is invisible and can happen suddenly.
What If Severe Turbulence Incidents Cause Injuries?
When captains predict turbulence, they or the flight attendants instruct passengers to remain seated with belts on. Passengers who don’t follow these instructions and sustain injuries may not have a valid negligence claim.
Common situations where you can sue an airline for negligence due to turbulence-related injuries include:
- The flight crew knew about the turbulence but failed to issue any warning to passengers.
- The pilot failed to predict the turbulence because of inattentiveness.
- Equipment failed.
If you believe your injuries resulted from negligence, contact Recovery Law Center. Our legal team will investigate the incident to determine its cause. If warranted, we know how to sue an airline for negligence.
What Kinds of Injuries Can Turbulence Cause?
The severity of injuries passengers can experience due to turbulence varies, often determined by its intensity and duration. Commonly suffered injuries include:
- Head or brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Bruises and cuts
- Back, neck, and spinal cord injuries
Seat belts can also cause bruising or internal injuries during severe turbulence incidents. Most injuries sustained during turbulence happen because the passengers or flight crew are not seated or wearing seat belts.
What Other In-Flight Injuries Might You Face?
Turbulence isn’t the only thing that can hurt you on an airplane. Other situations that may cause injuries include:
- Luggage falling from overhead bins
- Carts rolling unexpectedly
- Violence from other passengers
- Unsafe surfaces or structures
- Improperly trained staff
What Should You Do if You Sustain Injuries on an Airplane?
Your first priority after sustaining an injury is your health. However, you can also take some steps to prepare for a potential personal injury claim.
Notify a flight attendant
Flight attendants can provide first aid. They can also notify the airport if your injuries are serious and you’ll require an ambulance when your flight lands. This also puts your incident on record.
Use your phone to take photos and make notes of the following:
- Your injuries and those of surrounding people, if applicable
- What caused your injury
- Passengers and flight attendants who saw your accident happen
- Witness statements
- Your account of the events leading up to your injury
Your attorney will use the evidence you gather when building your case.
Accept medical attention
Whether it’s first aid on the plane or seeking a medical examination on the ground, you need to obtain an immediate medical assessment. Trained personnel may spot injuries you’re not aware of. In addition, they’ll make a record of your condition that your lawyer will use as evidence.
Contact an attorney
An experienced personal injury attorney can provide information and legal advice after your injury. Recovery Law Center can also:
- Prepare and submit paperwork
- Investigate the incident
- Speak to the insurance company or airline representatives on your behalf
- Negotiate a favorable settlement or take your case to trial if needed
Insurance companies are not on your side. People with legal representation typically obtain more compensation for their injuries than those without.
Do You Need Help Suing an Airline for Negligence in Hawaii?
If you need to claim compensation for an injury sustained on an airplane, you’ll benefit from having competent legal representation. The award-winning team at Recovery Law Center focuses exclusively on personal injury law, and we have successfully handled many injury claims over the decades brought by visitors to Hawaii.
FAQs About Airplane Turbulence
What damages can you recover if you or a loved one sustained injuries due to turbulence?
Every incident is different, but you may be able to receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other damages. The amount you may obtain varies. Ask Recovery Law Center how much your case is worth.
Do pilots have to fly through turbulence?
Minor turbulence is typical for any flight, even in clear air. If pilots can avoid turbulence, they typically will by descending below or climbing above areas of disturbance.
How common is turbulence while flying?
At cruising altitudes, the atmosphere has 3% light turbulence, 1% moderate turbulence, and 0.0001% severe turbulence.