Aviation Negligence: What You Need to Know
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
Claiming negligence against an airline is not as simple as having an accident or injury connected with an airline and expecting a settlement. There are a few steps a plaintiff has to take and some definite regulations that must be satisfied.
Contact an airplane accident lawyer at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. Our law firm can make sure the documentation and accident description meet the legal expectations. However, the following may provide an idea of what to consider.
What is Aviation Negligence?
A pilot, mechanic, or airline attendant is not expected to be perfect. He is, however, expected to be as careful as any other person would be under the same circumstances. If he was not, then he was negligent. It is also possible that the aviation employee violated a regulation, and in this case, he would be automatically negligent.
However, it is not enough to prove that the employee should have done something differently, nor is it safe to assume that just because the regulations were followed that there was no negligence.
Negligence is defined as “when the employee was not reasonably careful.”
Did the Negligence Cause the Accident?
The second thing that needs to be established is that negligence such as pilot error or aircraft manufacturers actually caused the accident or injury. The failure of a mechanic to tighten a bolt on a wheel or a flight attendant spilling hot coffee may or may not be a direct cause of an accident or personal injury is the result.
Here are a Couple of Examples
Suppose a passenger, on a long flight, walked down the aisle and slipped on a plastic bag that was left on the floor. This would not be an accident because on a long flight this is a common occurrence. However, if an attendant opened an overhead baggage compartment and a glass liquor bottle fell on the head of the passenger sitting below, this would be considered an accident.
Another example of an accident would be the passenger who was burned by hot coffee or tea when the passenger directly in front caused a “jolt” upsetting the tray.
Both of these examples are somewhat uncomplicated, but as humans, we often encounter unusual events when traveling. Again, it is a good practice to consult with an airplane accident lawyer to determine if there has been an accident.
International Flights vs. Domestic
When a passenger is traveling on an international flight, the law is different. On an international flight the passenger does not have to prove negligence, just that an accident or injury has occurred. This regulation is held under the Treaty of the Montreal and Warsaw Conventions concerning international travel.
On a domestic flight, the law falls under the state law where the accident has occurred. The Montreal and Warsaw Conventions do not apply. However, if a passenger has a travel itinerary that takes him through a state as well as a foreign country, then the treaty would apply.
If there was a circumstance where two people sitting next to each other were subject to the same accident or injury, and if one was on a flight that included a foreign country, his injury would be covered. The second person, if he was only on a domestic flight, would not be covered unless there was negligence.
In Michigan, the law offices of Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. at 866-MICH-LAW is available to answer any questions concerning Aviation Negligence. Contact us for a free consultation and legal advice if you have been involved in an accident involving an airplane. Our law firm never charges a fee unless a recovery is made.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.