Injuries Caused By Aircraft Turbulence

Air TurbulenceWhile it is extremely uncommon, some injuries do occur when people are inside an aircraft. They can be caused by falling baggage, carts, flight attendant negligence, other passengers or turbulence. Injuries can be very overwhelming, since they are not common events. Once someone is hurt, there should be no question about whether they have the right to file a suit.

Common Carriers And Their Duty Of Care

According to the legal definition, an airline is considered a common carrier. This term refers to public transportation that requires the passenger to pay for services. While it is respected that they have the right to profit, the law requires these carriers to offer a high standard of care. This means that they are liable for almost everything that happens inside the aircraft.

This is known as duty of care principle, and it refers to the fact that the airline is responsible for providing passengers with the safest possible environment. If someone is injured due to a poor level of care, the carrier is liable.

In order to provide the proper duty of care, the airline is required to do all of the following:

  • The pilot must be informed of any incidences in the plane so they can be addressed as quickly as possible.
  • The pilot must know the route the plane is flying and the type of weather that will be present along the way.
  • Staff of the plane must alert passengers of the plane’s status, especially when turbulence is involved.
  • Flight attendants must check on passengers regularly and solve any small issues before they have the chance to escalate.
  • Air traffic control must be in constant contact with the plane in order to ensure that everything is safe.
  • Ground staff must inspect every part of the place, including the wings, rudder and engine, to make sure that they are in good shape.

Below is a video showing turbulence onboard an AA flight:


Turbulence is a movement of air that is characterized by the plane moving in a different pattern than normal and a change in altitude. It varies when it comes to the intensity and the effect that it has on the plane.

Turbulence can be extremely frightening, especially when it causes so much damage that it leads to a plane crash. During the most common instances, things are minor and the outcome is usually fallen bags and passenger injuries. There is a chance that heavy baggage can result in traumatic brain injuries in extreme cases.

It is not very easy to claim that you have damages from turbulence due to the following:

  • Since turbulence is caused by the movement of air, it is invisible and cannot be predicted.
  • While clouds are an indicator of turbulence in some cases, it is possible to experience this phenomenon with no clouds present.
  • It cannot be detected by a radar.
    The higher the altitude is, the more frequent turbulence can be.

Whether you are successful or not when suing an airline over an in-flight injury depends on whether or not they have met their duty of care and how unpredictable natural events like turbulence are.

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