If someone is injured on an airplane or boat, the individual or company responsible for the passengers is typically liable for the accident. However, the actions crew members take after the injury can help or hurt liability issues. Crew members must act professionally and follow certain standards when addressing injuries that occur in-transit.
Crew members are responsible for using a certain standard of care during the course of work. On airplanes, for instance, flight attendants are responsible for ensuring all passengers have been adequately warned to wear seatbelts during rough weather, to reasonably accommodate passengers, to follow emergency protocols, and to secure food carts/baggage as needed.
On boats, including cruise ships and chartered vessels, the crew must follow safety protocols to reasonably provide passenger safety. As on aircraft, boat crews must secure items onboard in accordance with reasonable safety standards. They must respond to emergencies using the proper procedures and may need to keep working logs regarding their duties onboard.
Many injury claims involving boats and airplanes focus on the initial cause of injury, but they can also include elements of negligence after an injury occurs. On water and in the air, an injured passenger may not receive immediate medical attention. In these cases, crew members must respond appropriately to the situation to avoid further liability.
Crew members must pass training on first aid, CPR, passenger management, security, evacuation and numerous other emergency situations. Any time a crew member fails to act in accordance with emergency procedure, the company in charge may face further liability issues. Every crew member must act with reasonable care towards passengers during the course of duty.
On boats and in aircraft, some events are outside the crew members’ control. An airline or boating company cannot control the weather or other freak accidents. Crew members are trained to respond in these situations, but they are not responsible for additional, unavoidable injuries.
Always tell a crew member you are injured, and seek medical attention. Document your injury and pay attention to how the crew behaves in the aftermath. Did they offer first aid? Did they take steps to obtain medical attention in a timely manner? Did they reasonably accommodate your needs? If the answer is no to any of these, you may want to contact an attorney. Most airlines and commercial vessels follow a standard of care when handling onboard injuries. Your attorney can help you determine if the crew acted appropriately under the circumstances.
Typically, an injured passenger will file a lawsuit against the company who owns the airplane or vessel. In some cases of extreme negligence, a passenger may hold an individual crew member liable. Dock workers, the FAA, and other air and water professionals may hold some level of responsibility for injury or the treatment of an injury. If you were a passenger on a private charter, the owner of the plane or vessel is responsible for your injury and subsequent treatment.
You can and should file a complaint if you experience an avoidable injury or unreasonable care after an injury on a boat or airplane. In addition to informing the responsible party, consider taking legal action. A personal injury attorney can help you develop a case for financial compensation. Contact the Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C. for questions about crew member responsibilities and injury from boat or airplane mishaps.