The vast majority of flights are safe and uneventful. But occasionally, an emergency might force a plane to make a sudden landing. These can be rough and bumpy — not to mention traumatic. While the ultimate goal of these landings is to make sure everyone exits safe and sound, there can be real, lasting effects. When that happens, passengers deserve to have legal recourse to help them through their ordeal. So, what should you know about passenger injuries and the support that exists for them?

Why Do Emergency Landings Happen?

There are several reasons why an emergency landing might happen:

Precautionary landing — A precautionary landing may occur if a pilot notices a problem with part of the plane, such as impending engine failure or fuel loss. It might also take place if a passenger has a medical emergency that requires care on the ground or if inclement weather makes flying unsafe.

Controlled crashing — A controlled crash happens with a non-functioning engine. These are true emergency landings. During a controlled crash, a pilot looks for a place to touch down on land as quickly and safely as possible.

Ditching — Ditching is an emergency landing on water. In this case, passengers will be advised to use flotation devices and exit the plane as quickly as possible.

Risks vary during each of these types of landings, and some are more dangerous than others. Depending on the terrain and the situation, passengers and crew may experience injuries.

What Kind of Injuries Can Happen During Emergency Landings?

Studies of emergency landings indicate that most injuries are superficial. These can range from minor cuts to bumps and bruises. Of course, sometimes they can be much more serious. These might happen during the emergency landing itself or during the evacuation of the plane. Examples of more a more serious airline injuries might include:

Sprains or broken bones: Emergency landings can be rough, as can using a slide to exit the aircraft once it’s on land. Passengers have reported sprains or fractures following emergency landings, either from the impact of the plane or from the evacuation process. 

Head injuries: Impact may cause concussion or skull fractures in serious cases. 

Strain or trauma: Emergencies are understandably tense situations. It’s not uncommon for people to sustain injuries from tension, stress, or anxiety.

Who is Legally Responsible For an Aviation Accident?

Plane crashes or emergency landings may happen for many reasons. After an incident like this, a full investigation will take place. Depending on the results, one or more parties may be held responsible. This may include:

The pilot: In some cases, the investigation may conclude that the pilot was to blame for the emergency landing. This might be the case if the pilot made an error while flying or if they were impaired or lacked the necessary certifications for flying a commercial aircraft.

The manufacturers: If a faulty component forces an emergency landing, the manufacturer may be held liable.

The airline: The airline itself is sometimes held responsible in the event of an emergency landing or crash. This happens if investigators find them at fault for ignoring safety or capacity regulations or misrepresenting their aircraft’s capabilities.

What Legal Recourse Can You Take?

Pilots are extensively trained to keep passengers safe, and the vast majority of flights arrive safely at their destinations. That being said, some emergencies are unpredictable. While the ultimate goal is to make sure all the passengers survive the landing, there can be lasting pain and trauma. So, what can you do if you have sustained injuries after an airline accident — especially when it comes to the cost of medical care?

The good news is that an aviation accident lawyer can help. These professionals are available to help with all the stressful aftermath of a plane accident, from contacting your insurance company to filing for help paying your medical bills and negotiating appropriate compensation. 

If you are looking for an excellent aviation injury lawyer, we can help you understand your rights and resources. Contact us today at 800-300-0001 or fill out our free consultation form to learn more!