Can you sue for personal injuries on airplanes?

An aviation accident occurs when something goes wrong between the time any person boards an aircraft intending to fly to the time that person disembarks the aircraft. Someone can already be seriously or fatally injured, or the aircraft is damaged, or the aircraft completely disappears and cannot be found or is inaccessible.

The first recorded aviation accident occurred on September 17, 1908 with a Wright Model A aircraft at Fort Myer, Virginia. The accident caused the death of the passenger, Signal Corps Lt. Thomas Selfridge, and an injury to the pilot, Orville Wright.

Risk of Injury on Flights Today

The airline industry has always had to maintain a higher standard for customer safety than many other industries. The cabin crew itself is responsible for keeping the aircraft aisles safe and making sure that passengers get on and off the plane safely. For example, if a passenger is allowed to carry baggage that obstructs the aisle and another passenger trips and falls, the airline can easily be liable for any relevant injuries. 

One of the parts that we all know about a flight is turbulence. Although it is classified as an act of nature and not something for which the pilot can be held liable, there have been cases that suggest otherwise. Some accidents, it can be argued, could have been avoided by consulting weather reports. If the victim can prove that the airline was somewhat at fault for their injury, a personal injury case is certainly possible. 

Airlines outsource many of their operations to save costs. If a third party oversees aircraft maintenance duties and a passenger injures themselves on a badly laid carpet that needed repair, the organization in charge will be held liable and not the airline. Likewise, problems with the quality of the food, the operation of the plane and even the handling of the equipment are not controlled by the airlines and the victims’ legal team will have to determine the organization that is responsible for their injuries.


When it comes to slip and fall injuries, airport terminals are among the most dangerous places. Depending on the case, an accident in an airport terminal can be the fault of an airline, the airport itself, or both. There are many things that can cause someone to slip and fall at the airport, such as wet floors, loose rugs, or spilled liquids. For these reasons, it is important that airports take extra precautions to ensure the safety of travelers.

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