Airports are hectic environments, with millions of travelers passing through them daily to reach their destinations. With so much activity within a contained space and travelers rushing to catch their flights, it’s no surprise that airports can be common sites for injuries.
If you’re injured at an airport, you may wonder what your rights are and what steps you need to take to receive compensation for your injuries. Here, we’ll cover some of the most common ways airport injuries occur, who is at fault for airport injuries, and what to do if you are injured at an airport.
How Airport Injuries Occur
Airport injuries can occur in numerous ways. Every area of an airport poses some risk of injury, whether it’s the parking lots, baggage claim areas, onboard an aircraft, and everywhere in between. Each of these areas has its own unique risks to keep in mind. Some of the most common ways airport injuries occur include:
- Vehicle crashes: any place with vehicles also has a risk of car crashes. Whether it’s the cars and buses outside an airport terminal or the passenger and luggage transport vehicles inside, airports are prime locations for vehicular injuries to occur.
- Airplane injuries: although in-flight injuries may be the first thing that comes to mind, runway accidents are actually more common, with an estimated 243,000 people injured in such incidents annually. Passengers may also suffer injuries due to turbulence, objects falling from unsecured overhead compartments, and other human and mechanical errors.
- Faulty equipment: airports are home to many literal moving parts. Escalators, elevators, moving sidewalks, and all other pieces of equipment must be maintained and in working order to ensure the safety of all visitors.
Who is at Fault for Airport Injuries?
Determining who is at fault for an airport injury depends on where the injury occurs and whose actions (or lack thereof) caused the injury to occur. In Illinois, fault is defined as any action, or lack of action, deemed negligent that leads to injury. Note that the statute of limitations for personal injury cases in Illinois, generally speaking, is two years. That means that you have two years from the date the injury occurred to file a personal injury claim, or you risk losing the chance to receive the compensation you deserve. There are some exceptions.
Airports house many different businesses, airlines, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and many other entities that could be at fault for injuries depending on the circumstances.
When are Airports Liable?
Airport management is responsible for maintaining a safe and clean environment for visitors. This responsibility extends to every area of an airport, including terminals, gates, waiting areas, food courts, and all other public spaces. Therefore, if an injury occurs in any of these areas and is the result of negligence on behalf of the airport, they may be liable for damages.
When are Airlines Liable?
In general, airlines are liable when they are directly at fault for injuries that occur on their airplanes. Airlines may also be liable for injuries incurred in areas under their control within the airport, such as ticketing counters.
Other Liable Parties
There are other instances where other parties besides airports and airlines are liable for injuries. For example, an injury caused by a faulty piece of equipment may not be the liability of an airport or an airline, but rather the equipment’s manufacturer. Additionally, if your injury occurs in an area that is not directly managed by the airport or airline, such as a TSA checkpoint or retail store, then the parties responsible for managing those areas may be liable.
What to do if You are Injured at an Airport
The first and most important thing to do if you are injured at an airport is to take care of your health. Seek immediate medical attention, especially for any serious injuries. Even injuries that don’t initially seem serious can later become more severe, so getting proper medical care is essential.
Make sure to report your injury to the person(s) in charge of the area where the injury occurred. Provide as much detail as possible about what happened and where and when it happened. In some cases, a member of management may ask you to sign an incident report for their records. Do not sign anything without a lawyer present, but do thoroughly review any incident reports for accuracy. Also, take photos and videos of the area and your injury to have documentation if you need it later.
Finally, seek out a personal injury attorney you can trust who will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
Contact Brian Lewis, Illinois Personal Injury Attorney
Whether you or a loved one has been injured at an airport, personal injury attorney Brian Lewis is here to help. Since 1997, Brian has helped individuals and families achieve justice and receive their rightful compensation.
Contact Brian Lewis today to schedule a consultation.