While airplane accidents that happen when the plane is in flight are exceptionally dramatic – and extremely dangerous – they are thankfully quite rare. Accidents that happen while the airplane is on the ground, however – such as slip and falls when disembarking – are far more common and can be quite dangerous. If you’ve been injured in an airplane accident when you weren’t even in the air, seek the professional legal counsel of an experienced South Carolina airplane accident attorney.
A Note about International Travel
If you are injured on the ground in the course of international travel, your case will be a bit different because the liability shouldered by the airline in these cases is governed solely by international treaties that include the Montreal Convention.
The Montreal Convention
Under the Montreal Convention, the airline’s negligence in relation to your on-the-ground accident is generally immaterial. Instead, the crux of the matter is that you were injured in an accident at the airport, and the U.S. Supreme Court defines an accident in this context to mean some kind of unusual or unexpected event, occurrence, or happening that was external to you as the passenger. As such, if you are injured in an airplane accident prior to takeoff or post-landing in relation to an international flight, you need not prove the airline’s negligence in the matter. Because your custody and care were trusted to the airline in question, the airline has a responsibility to that custody and care. Further, in these instances, if you suffer a physical injury in the course of boarding the plane, disembarking from the plane, or gathering your luggage, you can also seek compensation for your emotional pain and suffering.
If you are injured as a domestic traveler, negligence will play a role in your claim – just as it would in any other kind of claim related to personal injury law. If you are injured in the course of your travel prior to taking flight or after touching down as a result of negligence on the part of the airline company, you can seek just compensation for the physical, financial, and emotional damages you suffer as a result. If the airline failed to engage in reasonable maintenance and/or failed to employ the reasonable care necessary to provide for your safety, you may have a case against it in relation to your damages. Further, if your flight is international – even if you are on a domestic leg of the flight and remain on the ground in the United States when you are injured – the Montreal Convention applies, and you will not need to concern yourself with the airline’s negligence in the matter.
Embarking and Disembarking
An important part of every flight is naturally embarking and disembarking through that often rickety-seeming portable walkway that is known as the jetway. While it’s unlikely that you give your safety much thought during this fairly innocuous portion of your trip, the fact is that slip and falls on these apparatuses happen – and like all other slip and fall accidents – they can be exceptionally dangerous.
These jetways see a lot of action, and when the airline fails to ensure all the following, it makes dangerous slip and fall accidents related to embarking and disembarking that much more likely:
- The jetway is well designed and sturdily built, to begin with
- The jetway is safely maintained throughout the course of its usage
- The jetway is correctly attached to the plane’s entry door
- The jetway is free of tripping hazards, such as debris and other obstacles to safe passage
- The jetway is adequately lit so passengers can see their way through it
Failure to account for these and other reasonable safety measures can lead to dangerous slip and fall accidents that are predicated on the airline’s negligence.
The rush to get to one’s seat prior to takeoff and to get off the plane and to your destiny once the plane lands is well known by all travelers. When you add to this, however, that everyone is attempting to accomplish the same thing, it is little wonder that accidents related to falling luggage happen. Airlines are responsible for all the following:
- Ensuring that the overhead baggage bins in their planes are designed to hold the luggage passengers are allowed to bring with them onto their flights
- Ensuring that these overhead baggage areas are well maintained and up to the task of holding the load they are designed to carry
- Ensuring that the doors of these overhead baggage bins close properly and remain closed once they are latched
When you are sitting there innocently in your assigned seat, are in the process of finding your seat, or are preparing to disembark, suddenly being hit by falling luggage can be quite dangerous, and the injuries you sustain can be considerable. If your flight is domestic, you’ll need to demonstrate that the airline was negligent in some capacity in order to bring a successful claim, and issues that may apply (in addition to negligence in relation to the baggage bins themselves) include:
- The flight attendant failed to check the baggage compartments carefully to ensure they were all closed properly
- The flight attendant opened the baggage compartment carelessly, allowing items to fall out
- The flight attendant loaded the baggage compartment carelessly, causing items to fall out when opened
The fact is that there is plenty to worry about in relation to negligence-based accidents before the plane even leaves the ground.
Seek the Legal Guidance of an Experienced South Carolina Airplane Accident Attorney
While airplane accidents involving flights that have already taken off grab headlines (and for a good reason), accidents – such as plain old slip and falls – are far more likely and are often extremely dangerous. If you or someone you love has been injured prior to take off or upon arrival, the seasoned South Carolina airplane accident attorneys at McCravy Law take great pride in their impressive track record of helping clients like you fully recover compensation for the damages they suffer. We’re here for you, too, so please don’t wait to contact or call us at 864-388-9100 today.