Most flights are uneventful, but sometimes the going gets a little rough. Experiencing turbulence is a common consequence of flying, and it is something that most frequent fliers have experienced a few times.
Even when the weather is excellent and the plane is in perfect condition, you never know when there could be an unexpected low-pressure pocket of air that results in unpredictable maneuvers by the plane, possibly because the pilots have to rapidly adjust for different environmental factors.
In some cases, planes experiencing turbulence will shake violently. Other times, they may drop vertically before continuing along their routes as though nothing happened. Sometimes, turbulence in the skies will result in injuries to the people on a plane. Do passengers have any legal rights if they end up injured because of unexpected turbulence?
Turbulence does cause injuries
In Late July, a flight from Tampa, Florida, to Nashville, Tennessee, encountered unexpected turbulence. Although the turbulence lasted roughly half a minute, it left two flight attendants and six passengers injured. Those who suffered injuries were those moving around through the cabin at the time that the plane encountered the turbulence.
It was the unexpected nature of the turbulence that contributed to eight people suffering noteworthy injuries in less than a minute. Airlines try to prevent turbulence-related injuries. Anyone who has flown knows that the safety requirements include an obligation to remain in your seat with your safety belt buckle even after the pilot turns off the safety restraint lights. When someone is not on their way to use the bathroom facilities, they should stay in their assigned seat and keep their restraints in place.
When pilots know that the plane will soon encounter a rough patch of air, they may re-illuminate the safety belt lights and make an announcement warning passengers of the upcoming turbulence. If the airline does not take preventative measures and people get hurt, they may have the right to file claims. The more serious the injuries are, the better the chances of compensation from insurance or possibly civil litigation.
Learning more about when aviation accidents give you the right to seek compensation and help you defray the costs of an unexpected injury during your most recent flight.