To fasten your seatbelt, insert the metal fitting into the buckle. And hold on tight.
According to the latest report by MSNBC, this week marked the third instance in which passenger seats on an American Airlines plane came loose during a flight. Although the airline has acknowledged the danger and is inspecting its aircrafts that share similar seat assemblies, in the event that an emergency were to occur, passengers in the unsecured seats would be at a heightened risk for injury. Fortunately these instances of chairs-on-the-move have not yet caused significant harm to passengers, but – whether or not in an unforeseen emergency setting – if the loose seats cause or contribute to cause injury to American Airlines customers, personal injury lawsuits may arise.
So who’s to blame? In some cases of personal injury law the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur (Latin for “the thing speaks for itself) plays an important role in establishing negligence on behalf of a defendant. In Illinois injury cases where res ipsa loquitur is used as a guiding principle, the elements of duty of care and breach may be surmised from the very nature or circumstances of an accident, even without direct evidence of how the defendant behaved. For instance, imagine that, in an urban setting near a construction zone, a large metal beam falls and kills a person: metal beams don’t just fall out of the sky, so it is fair to assume some negligence on the part of the construction company because of the nature of the accident.
Here, the doctrine can be applied in much the same way: American Airlines had a duty to inspect and maintain its aircrafts to ensure that they were safe for use in transporting passengers. The airplanes were under the exclusive control of the airline, whose employees ostensibly perform inspections of airplanes on behalf of the company prior to takeoff. As a result, it would be reasonable to conclude that, but for a failure on the part of American Airlines and its employees to properly inspect and maintain their planes, the passengers in the defective seats would not have otherwise landed in the laps of those behind them.
If you or a loved one have been injured in an airplane, helicopter, airplane-seat, or other aircraft-related accident, contact an attorney immediately to understand your rights under the law. Our attorneys have extensive experience with the unique challenges and complexities of aviation law, which has enabled us to achieve many multimillion-dollar verdicts and settlements for our clients, including a $2.33 million settlement for the family of a pilot whose Cessna plane crashed due to a defective carburetor part. Our attorneys understand that these accidents can be emotionally traumatizing for victims and their families, and our attorneys have the compassion and experience to help their clients through the legal process of recovering damages.
In order to be successful in complex aviation accidents, our attorneys have relied on close, long-standing relationships with renowned aviation experts and other industry personnel that have proven to be an invaluable asset to clients seeking their rightful damages. A successful outcome in aviation accident litigation requires an understanding of the all the various issues that arise when an aviation accident occurs, including determining responsibility when seats come unhinged.