Legal Question in Aviation Law in California

Tort on Airplane

First class passenger was injured (concussion, neck sprain, potential nerve damage) by another first class passenger who was obviously intoxicated, and fell onto the injured passenger after consuming additional alcohol during flight. Can we sue the airline for negligence?


Asked on 6/21/06, 4:30 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Stephen Petix Quinton & Petix

Re: Tort on Airplane

As a common carrier, a commercial airline has a high duty of care to protect its passengers from harm, even from fellow passengers, if it is evident that they have become dangerous to others because of their bad behavior.

If a passenger is injured on any segment of an international flight (even on the segment totally within the United States) the airline is strictly liable for damages up to a certain amount, and the airline has the burden of proving it was NOT negligent with respect to the rest of the provable damages. (The injured passenger must hold a ticket for an international destination, or the flight had to have originated outside the USA.)

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Answered on 7/02/08, 1:49 pm
Michael Stone Law Offices of Michael B. Stone Toll Free 1-855-USE-MIKE

Re: Tort on Airplane

If you can show that the airline served alcohol to a person whom they knew or should have known was intoxicated, this was a violation of FAA regulations and would be the basis for a lawsuit against the airline (as well as against the passenger, who, since he or she was flying in F, presumably has the means of paying for the victim's damages, for example homeowners' insurance). Let me know if I can be of further assistance.

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Answered on 6/21/06, 4:46 pm

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