Injuries Caused by Turbulence on American Airlines

Dedicated Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Serving the Chicago Area

In 2017, an American Airlines flight traveling from Greece to Philadelphia experienced severe turbulence, such that seven crew members and three passengers were injured and had to be taken to the hospital to be treated. Thirty minutes prior to landing, the flight began shaking and dropping altitude. One flight attendant dislocated his shoulder during the turbulence. The force caused drinks and garbage to be thrown around the cabin. If you are an airline worker who has suffered injuries caused by turbulence in a similar type of incident, you should consult the Chicago American Airlines workers’ compensation lawyers at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Eagle, Johnson & Bareck.

Injuries Caused By Turbulence on American Airlines

Flight attendants and other crew members can suffer injuries caused by turbulence on American Airlines flights. These injuries can occur while a crew member is pushing a meal or beverage cart or as a result of falling luggage or while helping passengers. In some cases, a flight attendant absorbs the force of a heavy object and prevents it from hitting someone else.

If you were injured on an American Airlines flight, and you either were injured in Illinois or entered into a hiring contract within Illinois, you may be able to pursue workers' compensation benefits under the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act (IWCA). The IWCA permits workers who suffer injuries arising out of and in the course of employment to file a claim for workers' compensation benefits.

Generally, workers' compensation benefits are more restricted than the damages that would be available in a personal injury lawsuit. If you can show that your injuries are work-related, you may be able to obtain reimbursement for medical expenses that are reasonably necessary to treat your injuries. If you are disabled by your turbulence-related injuries, you may be able to get temporary total disability, temporary partial disability, permanent total disability, or permanent partial disability benefits. For example, if you break a leg during a period of severe turbulence, you are likely to only need temporary partial disability benefits. On the other hand, if there was severe turbulence that knocked you into a sharp object, such that you suffered a skull fracture and a traumatic brain injury, you might need permanent total disability benefits.

Unlike a personal injury lawsuit, under the IWCA, you can recover benefits regardless of fault. In other words, it does not matter if you were partially to blame for your own job-related injuries. For example, if you were supposed to be seated at the time of the turbulence but were instead up and walking around, and this is why you were injured, your employer and its insurer cannot claim that your benefits should be reduced because you were partially to blame. You must still be paid benefits even if you contributed to your own injuries.

Usually, your employer will know that an injury was caused by turbulence because there are multiple witnesses to both the turbulence and the events that produced your injuries. However, in some cases, an insurer will deny a claim, stating that it involves a pre-existing condition. This may not be a valid denial. The issue is not whether you have a pre-existing condition but whether the condition was aggravated by your job. If the aggravation of a pre-existing condition can be traced to the turbulence on the flight, you should still be able to recover benefits.

Consult an Experienced Chicago Attorney for Your Airline Injury Claim

Some workers' compensation insurance companies deny medical evaluations, therapy, or even surgery that a worker needs. They may argue that there was a pre-existing condition or deny that the particular injury is work-related. If you are a worker who sustained injuries caused by turbulence on American Airlines, you should consult an experienced workers' compensation lawyer about your claim. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Eagle, Johnson & Bareck, we represent accident victims in Chicago, Quincy, Rockford, Champaign, Springfield, and Aurora, as well as elsewhere in Adams, Winnebago, Champaign, Sangamon, Kane, and Cook Counties. Call us at 312-263-6330 or toll-free at 800-444-1525 for a free consultation with an attorney.