Commercial airplane crashes are rare but that does not prevent all injuries you may sustain on flights. There are a lot of moving parts to get a plane safely off the ground, flying and landing for all passengers.
An airplane during flight has many natural forces to overcome and pass through. Turbulence is one of the more common occurrences on flights since it happens due to air movements the pilot cannot see. When turbulence is bad enough, it may cause head injuries or fall injuries.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, 340 people on airlines sustained injuries during turbulence between 2009-2018. This is a small number over ten years, but that is cold comfort to the people who suffered that trauma.
A serious injury, as defined by the National Transportation Safety Board, is anything that:
- Requires hospitalization for more than 48 hours
- Results in a bone fracture
- Causes severe damage to nerves, muscles or tendons
- Involves any internal organ
- Involves second-or third-degree burns or any burn affecting 5%+ of the body
Claims against an airline generally refer to the actions of an airline’s employees but may also include failure to take reasonable measures to prevent injuries resulting from an accident. That makes determining the fault of turbulence tricky. Questions about traffic control communications, weather dispatch and passenger disclaimers all come into play.
In the case of confusion, there are resources and information available to you that may help clear up your questions. While you may sustain a turbulence injury due to natural forces, it does not naturally mean you are the one responsible for paying the costs associated with them.