Airplane Passenger Injury Attorney

Photo or flight attendant loading luggage into overhead bin on flight.

We Hold Airlines Accountable For Serious Passenger Injuries Caused by Turbulence, Beverage Carts, Luggage Bins, Slip and Falls and Other Incidents

Kreindler is closely following the recent severe turbulence event of United Airlines flight 85 from Tel Aviv, Israel to Newark, New Jersey - which sent several to the hospital 

Kreindler & Kreindler is recognized as the world’s preeminent aviation accident law firm. Our commitment to improving air travel safety, holding responsible parties accountable and fighting for the most compensation available to victims of airplane injuries is unparalleled. Our passenger injury lawyers have represented victims of aviation accidents and their families since the firm’s founding in 1950. 

While commercial aviation accidents have become extremely rare, each year thousands of air travelers are severely injured due to onboard events and airline cabin accidents other than airplane crashes. Kreindler attorneys have decades of experience successfully representing passengers, who have been injured as a result of an airline incident. These injuries may have occurred in the airport or while traveling on an airplane - including both domestic and international flights. 

Visit our Aviation Accident page to learn more about our other aircraft accident practice areas.

What are the main causes of airplane passenger injuries?

  • Bad weather
  • Severe turbulence
  • Service & beverage cart accidents
  • Serious burns from hot liquids
  • Overhead storage bins malfunctions & falling luggage
  • Boarding, ramp & tarmac accidents
  • Harm done by other passengers
  • Slip and fall while boarding

Unfortunately, we do not take on claims such as lost or delayed baggage, ticketing issues, delayed or canceled flights, or boarding and seating issues. As a personal injury law firm, our practice is focused only on cases in which a passenger or crew member has suffered a serious personal injury or life altering event.

Airplane Passenger Injury Lawyers

Airlines very rarely will admit that they did anything wrong, and most people don’t know that they have legal recourse…If you see an airline in headlines, you can be sure passengers are winning in the court of public opinion.
~ Erin Applebaum | Passenger Injury Attorney

Kreindler partner Erin Applebaum focuses her practice on the representation of passengers injured in general aviation disasters and other incidents that occur during airplane travel.  These claims are often governed by the Montreal Convention, the multinational treaty that governs international air travel. Erin teaches a popular CLE course for other attorneys - “Montreal Convention for Plaintiffs’ Lawyers: Representing Passenger Personal Injury Claims Arising on International Flights.” She has authored numerous other articles, including Worst-case Scenario: How To Survive a Plane Crash which outlines steps passengers can take to increase their safety while flying on airplanes. She also serves on the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee for the Boeing MAX litigation arising from the tragic 2019 crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302. 

Flying is safer today, due in no small part to the 70-year legacy of Kreindler’s impact on aviation industry standards, practices, laws and safety regulations.

Article 17 of the Montreal Convention states that carriers are liable for damages sustained by injury or death resulting from an accident that took place on board the aircraft or “in the course of any of the operations of embarking or disembarking.”

What can victims injured on airplanes expect from Kreindler?

Our attorneys will identify the best course of action to get the most compensation for victims and their families including:

  • Research and prepare all aspects of the claim’s liability and damages
  • Identify all responsible entities
  • Present the strongest case to obtain the highest possible compensatory award

Spielberg v. American Airlines, Inc, AA Flight 58

Kreindler obtained the nation's highest-ever award for emotional distress caused by turbulence

With regards to air turbulence litigation, Kreindler is recognized among top aviation passenger injury law firms for its landmark victory on behalf of 13 passengers in the case of Spielberg v. American Airlines, Inc. In that jury trial, led by Kreindler partners Daniel Rose and Jim Kreindler, the firm obtained the nation’s highest-ever award for emotional distress caused by turbulence. On June 25, 1995, the passengers of that plane experienced 30 seconds of severe turbulence as the aircraft rose and fell hundreds of feet while flying over Minnesota during a Los Angeles to New York flight. The airline admitted liability and passengers received compensation for their emotional distress or psychic injuries.

Domestic & International Airport and Inflight Injuries

Kreindler Partner and Passenger Injury Lawyer Erin Applebaum wrote a Reuters article on airline passenger rights

Domestic airline and air carrier safety is governed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which requires carriers to exercise a high standard of care for their passengers. While an airline is not the insurer of a passenger’s safety, it is responsible for even the slightest negligence on the part of its employees and is required to do all that is reasonable under the circumstances to prevent injuries resulting from an “accident.”

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) defines an “accident” as an occurrence associated with the operations of an airplane in which any person suffers death or serious injury or in which the aircraft receives substantial damage.

If an airline passenger is injured or killed in the course of international air travel, that person’s right to compensation will likely fall under Article 17 of the 1999 Montreal Convention, an international treaty governing airline liability for injuries or death to passengers during most international flights.

  • LEADING COUNSEL in nearly every major airline disaster case worldwide
  • OBTAINED THE LARGEST RECOVERY for a single disaster in the history of aviation
  • CONTINGENCY FEE-BASED You don't pay unless we win

Common Causes of Injuries While on a Plane

Statistics provided by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), “Preventing Turbulence-Related Injuries in Air Carrier Operations”, Adopted 2021 Turbulence can be one of the most frightening experiences - even for the most seasoned airline traveler.

Weather Conditions

Weather can result in inflight injuries by causing turbulence, which can jostle passengers and crew members around the cabin and potentially cause them to hit their heads or be thrown from their seats. Severe weather conditions like thunderstorms or icing can make it more difficult for pilots to control the aircraft, increasing the risk of accidents or injuries.


When turbulence causes injuries, injured passengers may have a claim against the airline operating the flight. As a firm with aviation attorneys who are also active pilots and aviation safety experts, we work with aviation and weather experts to plot out the aircraft’s route, obtain satellite images of the weather at the time and location of the accident, and seek to quickly preserve any available data that may assist in proving our client’s claim.

Turbulence can be one of the most frightening experiences - even for the most experienced airline traveler.

Kreindler seeks to answer the following critical questions:

  • Was the pre-flight weather dispatch properly reviewed and adhered to by the aircraft’s pilots?
  • Was the aircraft’s weather radar properly operated and observed?
  • Did the pilots maintain communication with air traffic control?
  • Did they monitor transmissions and follow warnings from the other aircraft in the area?
  • Were the pilots made aware of turbulent conditions ahead but decided not to change course to save time, fuel, and the expense of flying around it?

Kreindler attorneys and investigators review all available government data and reports, including FAA and NTSB findings, as well as the airline’s own investigation practices and procedures to assess liability and obtain full and fair compensation for our clients. 

Service & Beverage Cart Accidents

Every year, passengers experience airline cabin injuries from direct impacts with food service or beverage carts. Rolling service carts, which can weigh hundreds of pounds, are difficult to navigate and avoid in the narrow aisles of airplanes. A strike from a fully loaded, metal service cart can cause debilitating, long-lasting injuries that could affect a passenger’s ability to work.

Burns from Hot Liquid Burns

Serious burns requiring medical attention frequently occur on aircraft as flight attendants move about the airplane cabin serving passengers scorching hot beverages and scalding soup. Turbulence, bumping into passengers or other flight attendants and unexpected jolts or movement of the airplane can cause spills that could result in severe burns and permanent injuries.

Overhead Storage Bin Malfunctions & Falling Luggage

The warnings regarding overhead compartments are warranted as thousands suffer broken bones, cuts, bruises, concussions and other head and neck injuries from items falling from the bins overhead.

Boarding, Tarmac & Ramp Accidents

Much can go wrong while at the airport terminal before boarding or after disembarking an airplane. Accidents that cause compensable injuries include passenger cart and tram accidents, slip and fall events on the jet bridge, tarmac people movers, trams, and injuries sustained atfrom the baggage carousel.

Harm Done by Other Passengers

The stress of flying, alcohol consumption and recent travel mandates can lead some passengers to behave inappropriately while on flights. It is up to airline pilots, flight crews, and attendants to protect passengers from injury, harm, and harassment by unruly, drunk, or belligerent passengers. 

Slips and Falls

Slipping and falling on a plane during a flight can cause serious injuries including head trauma, broken bones, or spinal cord injuries, for which the airline may be responsible. It is the airline’s responsibility to maintain a safe environment for passengers.

What to do if You’re the Victim of an Onboard Injury or Airport Accident

If you’re the victim of an airport or in-flight accident, taking these sensible, proactive steps can make all the difference in the successful litigation of your case:

Seek immediate medical attention 

First and foremost, make sure you have a doctor or other medical professional evaluate you. Even if you feel fine at the time, many injuries don’t reveal themselves until sometime after the accident. Be sure to request copies or access to all medical records related to your injury.

Gather evidence

To the extent you’re able to at the time, write down or make an audio or video recording any important information, including the circumstances and exact time and location of the accident. 

Take photographs or video recordings

Every detail matters. Take photos of the accident scene, your injuries, and the lighting and airplane or airport conditions where the incident took place.

Gather witnesses

Talk to any people who saw the accident and make sure to get their full names, addresses, and phone numbers so they can be reached later if necessary.

Consult a lawyer

We offer a free consultation, and if we take your case, our experienced in-flight accident attorneys will assist you every step of the way, including with an independent investigation of the accident and taking any necessary legal action, up to and including filing a personal injury or product liability lawsuit on your behalf. 

About Kreindler

Kreindler is one of the largest and most distinguished aviation accident law firms in the world. Since 1950, our attorneys have served as leading counsel in nearly every major commercial aviation disaster litigation. Our staff of attorneys includes pilots, engineers, and a former aviation maintenance specialist. The firm has successfully handled countless private, charter, military, general aviation, and accident cases. Our partners have authored numerous highly acclaimed books, articles, and treatises on aviation litigation.

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