Jury Finds Passenger 99% Liable in Airplane Lawsuit
In certain cases, it can be difficult to get a jury to sympathize with your position. This is especially true when the plaintiff does not take proper precautions or heed the advice of those in a position of authority. A Miami jury recently found that a passenger was 99% responsible for their injuries because they weren’t wearing their seatbelt during a turbulent flight. We’ll take a look at the verdict and see if the jury’s verdict was warranted in this case.
The Back Story
Attorneys for Iberia Airlines, Spain’s largest airliner, were able to convince a jury that they were only responsible for 1% of the $1.2 million in damages that the plaintiff was seeking. In other words, the plaintiff walked away with a measly $1,750.
During the flight, the plane began experiencing turbulence during which the plaintiff claimed that she injured her hip. According to the lawsuit, a tripod fell from an overhead baggage compartment that a different passenger had left open. On a different flight, during the descent, the plane experienced severe turbulence. The crew advised each of the passengers to fasten their seat belts and went up and down the rows in order to ensure that everyone had done so. The plaintiff was passed over because she had fallen asleep and it was difficult to tell, according to the flight attendant, whether or not her seatbelt had been fastened. When one flight attendant noticed that it was not fastened, they reached over to fasten it. However, the plane began experiencing severe turbulence at the same time and both the flight attendant and the plaintiff were hurtled up toward the ceiling of the airplane.
The plaintiff required a barrage of surgeries following the incident and blamed the airline for not ensuring that her seat belt was properly fastened. The jury only agreed that the airline was 1% liable for her injuries.
Why Was This Case Unsuccessful?
When taking a personal injury lawsuit to trial, you have to be very aware of the potential consequences. Most juries believe that individuals should take responsibility for themselves. When an individual is injured, through no fault of their own, by a negligent airliner, juries can be quite generous when it comes to finding in favor of the plaintiff. However, they are much less sympathetic to those who did not heed warnings from the staff.
While in this case, the passenger fell asleep during the warnings, it’s also true that the flight attendants made every effort to ensure that their passengers’ safety belts were fastened. They missed this passenger, but to what extent can they be expected to check a sleeping passenger’s safety belt?
In this case, the jury felt that the airline crew had done enough and the plaintiff too little to warrant a favorable outcome.
Talk to a Miami Personal Injury Attorney
The office of Alan Goldfarb P.A. in Miami helps injured parties recover damages from negligent ones. Give us a call or talk to us online to set up a free case evaluation.