Airline Injuries: What Are My Rights?

Written by
Abraham Jaros
Updated on Wednesday, Mar 6, 2024

If you are an international traveler then the airline’s liability is controlled entirely by international treaties. The Warsaw and Montreal Conventions determine liability for passenger injuries on international flights. Under the Montreal Convention, the concept of negligence is irrelevant - the only thing you need to prove is that your injury was caused by an “accident”. The United States Supreme Court, has ruled that this includes an unusual or unexpected event that happens to the passenger.

If you suffer an injury on an international flight, the Montreal Convention entitles you to compensation for your financial and emotional damages. However, you cannot seek compensation for emotional damages unless you also sustained a physical injury. In short, the Montreal Convention holds the airline responsible for passengers’ custody and care.

If you are a domestic traveler, you can hold the airline liable for negligence under international travel rules if the flight itinerary includes any destination in a foreign country. This is true even if your injury occurs during the domestic portion of your flight.

At Jaroslawicz & Jaros, PLLC, we have handled a wide variety of cases that involved airline passenger injuries. Some common types of airline injuries include:

  • Embarking and Disembarking: Under the Warsaw Convention, you can hold the airline responsible for embarking / disembarking injuries. This includes slip and fall accidents while boarding, tripping over an obstruction, or any number of incidents. If you are a domestic traveler, you must demonstrate that the airline was negligent or careless. Domestic travelers will need to show that their injuries were caused by the airline’s carelessness or negligence. For example, if there was a foreign substance that caused you to slip and fall, such as oil or grease on the walkway, or a water leak that formed ice or a slippery condition, or a broken step or handrail and so forth.
  • Falling Baggage: If a piece of baggage falls on an international passenger, the Montreal and Warsaw Conventions allow the passenger to seek financial compensation if he / she can demonstrate that the falling baggage was an “accident." The passenger in the aisle seat is the one most often injured by baggage falling from an overhead bin. These injuries can be very serious and can even include a traumatic brain injury. If the passenger was a domestic traveler, then you must demonstrate some form of negligence to seek compensation.
  • Turbulence: Airlines are not responsible for unforeseen natural events (called “acts of god"); it is only liable for predictable dangers. Turbulence is often one of these predictable hazards. If the airline is aware of potential turbulence, it is obligated to warn passengers. If the airline does not warn passengers, it may be responsible for any injuries caused by the severe weather.
  • Food Carts: Food cart injuries are relatively common on airlines. Narrow aisles can make it difficult for flight attendants to safety maneuver carts past passengers. If airline workers do not exercise caution, they can accidently ram into passengers’ shoulders, legs, or other body parts. Passengers who are moving about the cabin are also at risk of these injuries.
  • Passengers with Special Needs: Passengers with special needs may require special assistance, especially while boarding and disembarking. In the past, passengers have suffered injuries from negligent assistants, defective wheelchairs, and careless airline personnel. Like any form of negligence, these accidents are often the responsibility of the airline.

In addition to representing passengers that suffered injuries while on an airline we have also brought claims for individuals who were injured while working at airports, or going to and from airports and airplanes, and people injured in various types of accidents involving planes and airports. We represented residents of a New York City apartment building that was severely damaged in an airplane crash caused by New York Yankee pitcher Cory Lidle.

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In matters of personal injury and wrongful death, our results speak for themselves. The attorneys at Jaroslawicz & Jaros have achieved verdicts or settlements of over $1 Million for hundreds of individual clients.

If you or someone you love suffered an injury on an airline, speak to a lawyer at Jaroslawicz & Jaros today. Call our office for a free legal consultation regarding your injury, your rights and your legal options. If we agree to handle your case, we will work on a contingency fee basis so you don’t have to worry about any upfront costs.

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At Jaroslawicz & Jaros, we have over 40 years of experience helping accident victims in New York recover compensation. The clients we represent benefit from the personal attention of our knowledgeable and experienced attorneys.

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The attorneys at Jaroslawicz & Jaros have obtained verdicts and settlements of over $1 Million for hundreds of our individual clients. Since all New York personal injury law firms generally charge the same legal fee why not hire an experienced law firm with a proven track record?

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Contact the attorneys at Jaroslawicz & Jaros for a free legal consultation regarding your rights and your legal options. If we agree to handle your case, we will work on a contingency fee basis so that you don’t have to worry about any upfront costs.

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