Articles Posted in Airplane Injuries

2017 was a rough year for the airline industry, and 2018 isn’t shaping up to be much better. Already this year, United Airlines shocked the nation when one of its flight attendants caused the death of a passenger’s dog by putting it in an overhead compartment, which the company says is against its regulations. Less than a week later, the same airline accidentally sent a Kansas-bound dog to Japan, leading United to temporarily suspend its pet cargo program so that it can review policies that have led to such disasters. In the meantime, confidence in the airline industry has taken a significant hit.

Although United has faced the most criticism over the past year, it’s not alone. More recently, the family of a Kansas man has sued Southwest Airlines, alleging that he was thrown against a cabin wall on a flight last year after his seat belt came undone. Eugene Dreyer, 81, a stockbroker and financial adviser, had lost the use of his legs due to polio and was in a wheelchair when he and his wife boarded a Fort Lauderdale-bound Southwest flight in Kansas City on Feb. 21, 2017, according to the lawsuit. Dreyer was wheeled onto the plane by a Southwest employee and seated in the first row. Before take-off, Dreyer asked for a seat belt extension, and a flight attendant buckled him in using the seat belt and extension.Neither Dreyer, his wife, or an assistant traveling with them touched or adjusted the belt during the flight, the lawsuit says.

When the plane began to decelerate, the belt failed to restrain him and he flew forward into the bulkhead wall. The lawsuit claims that he sustained severe injuries to his head, shoulder, foot, and leg, including a broken femur. His family claims that he suffered loss of cognitive functions and severe depression, and that the injuries he sustained on the flight led to his death on April 23, 2017. The suit was filed on behalf of Dreyer’s wife and two children and seeks an unspecified amount in damages. Southwest Airlines has declined to comment on the lawsuit, stating that it would be unwise to do so “ahead of the legal process.”

This summer, a mother was alarmed when her infant child suffered from heatstroke while sitting on a plane that was stuck on the tarmac at Denver International Airport. Emily France and her four-month old son, Owen, sweated it out aboard what she described as an “oven with wings” for more than an hour in June of 2017 before the plane returned to the gate and passengers were briefly allowed off. When they returned to the plane, France said that the cabin felt even warmer than before, so she stripped off her child’s clothing and asked the flight attendants to bring her ice bags to try and cool him down. She then claims that her son turned a color she had never seen before and went limp in her arms. The child was taken away by an ambulance, but doctors determined that he suffered no long-term effects.

Ms. France’s ordeal is not uncommon, as airlines have struggled with overheated airplane cabins for quite some time. In the summer of 2013, several passengers on a delayed Allegiant Air flight became ill as the plane sat on the tarmac in the desert heat of Las Vegas. Also in 2013, more than 150 Allegiant Air passengers were forced to remain in an airplane on the runway for 2 1/2 hours in Phoenix after a maintenance problem knocked out air conditioning on the plane. After this incident, Allegiant spent more than $1 million on six, 60-ton cooling units for use at the Las Vegas airport, in hopes of avoiding a repeat of the Phoenix fiasco.

These problems arguably stem from the fact that each airline sets its own guidelines for internal cabin temperature, with no formal guidance from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Some airlines allow internal temperatures of up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, which, to the average person, is swelteringly hot. The issues also stem from the practice of pilots turning off the air conditioning to save fuel when a plane is at the gate or taxiing. Other times, the outside air temperature is so warm (for example, in places like Las Vegas and Phoenix), that the airplane’s air conditioning cannot keep up.

2017 has not been a great year for the airline industry when it comes to customer service problems and personal injury lawsuits. This year alone, there have been several high-profile incidents involving possible abuses of customers on major airlines, including:

  • The infamous United Airlines incident in April, in which a man was forcibly dragged from his seat when he refused to leave the airplane due to overbooking. As a result of his confrontation with airline security officers, the passenger suffered a concussion and the loss of several teeth.
  • An incident on American Airlines in which a mother of twins alleged that a flight attendant hit her with a stroller during boarding of an aircraft. When a fellow passenger called out the flight attendant in question, he responded by challenging the passenger to a physical fight.

Airline employees are trained professionals whose job is to ensure that passengers are safely transported from point A to point B. Since flying is widely known as the safest way to travel, most of the time these journeys go off without a hitch, but, unfortunately, injuries do happen. Injuries sustained by airline passengers have received quite a bit of pubic attention over the past few weeks, leaving many to wonder–what can you do if you are injured by an airline employee or another passenger

Below, we’ll take a look at how airlines can be held liable for injuries to their passengers

Airlines are Common Carriers

Airline employees are trained professionals whose job is to ensure that passengers are safely transported from point A to point B. Since flying is widely known as the safest way to travel, most of the time these journeys go off without a hitch, but, unfortunately, injuries do happen. Injuries sustained by airline passengers have received quite a bit of pubic attention over the past few weeks, leaving many to wonder–what can you do if you are injured by an airline employee or another passenger?

Below, we’ll take a look at how airlines can be held liable for injuries to their passengers.

Airlines are Common Carriers

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