We don’t have to tell you what can go wrong at the airport. You already know that any trip to the airport can turn into a nightmare. If you’re hurt in an airport accident, you may wonder who’s to blame and whether you have any grounds for financial recovery. You may also wonder whether you will need to work with a personal injury lawyer to build a claim for recovery. Here’s what you need to know about liability for an accident at an airport.
Who’s Liable for an Airport Accident?
The party liable for an airport accident is the party whose actions lead to the accident. The airport owner, any company that does business at the airport, and even other passengers can be liable for an airport accident. Airlines themselves can be liable for airport accidents, and in the case of an airline, you may not have to prove that they acted negligently to win your case.
Airport Accident Legal Liability
Generally, any party that acts negligently can be liable for an airport accident. Any party who doesn’t use a reasonable amount of care for the safety of passengers may be liable. You must determine whose actions contribute to the accident and seek to hold them accountable. When you’re hurt in-flight or while boarding or exiting an airplane, the airline may be liable without a showing of negligence.
Government-Owned Airports and Airport Accident Laws
Almost all commercial airports in the United States are government owned and operated. For example, Clark County owns and operates McCarran International Airport. When an accident occurs and the airport itself is the negligent party, there are special liability rules that apply. Although it’s certainly not impossible or even especially difficult to hold a government entity liable for a personal injury accident, there are still special considerations to be aware of.
For example, in the State of Nevada, there’s a $100,000 cap that applies to lawsuits against the state or any county. The rules of negligence still apply. For example, say that you’re waiting at the gate. The waiting area is way too small for the full flight. The waiting area becomes extremely crowded. You get pushed by another patron, and you’re seriously hurt. In this case, the airport is negligent. You can bring a claim against the airport for negligence, but $100,000 is the most that you can recover. You can also pursue a claim against the other passenger if their negligence is a reason that you get pushed.
In addition to understanding liability caps against government entities like the airport owner, you should also be aware that you may have to file a Notice of Claim with the airport owner. A Notice of Claim gives the government entity notice that you’re planning to file a claim. The government airport owner has the option to offer you a settlement before you even submit your legal claim.
Private Businesses and Airport Accident Laws
The airport itself is far from the only entity that may be liable for an airport accident. Think of all of the companies that operate in an airport – every airline, newsstand, restaurant or other private entity that does business in the airport can be liable for an airport accident. For private companies, general rules of negligence apply.
You need to show that the company failed to take reasonable steps to protect passenger safety. There are no damage caps that apply to private companies, and there isn’t a Notice of Claim requirement. You bring a claim against a business operating in an airport in the same way that you bring the claim against any other business in a personal injury case.
For example, you’re at the airport. Your flight is delayed. You decide to get a snack from the airport vendor Snack Shop. You choose your snack, but as you’re going to pay for your item, you slip on a half-eaten banana thrown on the ground by another patron. Even though it wasn’t a Snack Shop employee that threw the banana on the floor, they still allowed the banana to stay on the floor for 30 minutes without noticing it. You sustain a broken wrist, and now airports make you nervous. In this case, you have a legal claim against Snack Shop for the full amount of your damages.
Airline Injury Liability and the Montreal Agreement
There is an international treaty called the Montreal Agreement that helps injury victims make claims against airlines. If you’re hurt while you’re on a flight or while you’re boarding or disembarking the plane, you can bring a claim under the Montreal Agreement. Under the terms of the Agreement, you don’t have to prove that the airline did anything negligent to cause your injury.
Even if you’re hurt because of turbulence or hurt because stored items shift in flight, you can make a claim under the Montreal Agreement. Your claim may be limited to $150,000 without proving negligence. If you can show negligence, you may be able to exceed the $150,000 limit. The purpose of the Montreal Agreement is to simplify flight-related injury claims and create uniform rules that apply throughout the United States and the world.
In addition to the Montreal Agreement, you may make a claim against the airline if their negligent actions contribute to an accident that occurs in the airport itself. If the accident occurs in the airport, the Montreal Agreement likely doesn’t apply. However, traditional negligence laws may allow you to win a fair recovery.
Comparative Negligence and Airport Accident Legal Liability
It’s important to remember that comparative negligence applies to airport accident legal liability. If your actions contribute to the accident, your claim may be reduced. As an airport patron, you have a duty to take steps for your own safety just like the other parties at the airport also have a duty to act reasonably.
Comparative negligence principles apply to accidents that occur at the airport. Although you may still recover something if your own actions contribute to the accident, you may receive a reduced amount. Your attorney can help you determine how comparative negligence may impact your claim.
Las Vegas Airport Accident Attorneys
Did you get hurt at the airport? The skilled legal team at Adam S. Kutner & Associates can help. Let us show you how we can help you bring a claim for financial compensation when you’re hurt in an airport accident.
Airport accident claims can be complex, but we can take the necessary steps on your behalf to help you receive compensation for your accident. There’s no cost to call, and your consultation is confidential. Call us today to begin.