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Passenger details injuries in lawsuit against Alaska Airlines, Boeing

On Behalf of | Jul 10, 2024 | Personal Injury

In many ways, aviation accident lawsuits follow the same patterns as other motor vehicle accidents, but there are some special considerations. One unusual issue involves the parties that may be held liable for damages. A newly filed lawsuit illustrates some of these issues.

In the lawsuit, a passenger who was aboard an ill-fated Alaska Airlines flight earlier this year seeks damages for the injuries he suffered when a panel blew off the aircraft during the flight. According to the lawsuit, the violent decompression of the airplane cabin that followed the loss of the panel ripped his shoes and socks off his feet and trapped his foot in the seat in front of him, injuring his foot.

The man is one of at least seven passengers who have already taken legal action against Alaska Airlines and Boeing, the maker of the plane.

High-profile accident

In the January incident, a panel around a window in the main cabin suddenly flew off the aircraft, leaving a large section exposed to the elements. Terrified passengers relied on oxygen masks to breathe until the plane made an emergency landing.

Fortunately, no one was killed, but the incident received attention all over the world. Much of the attention has focused on Boeing, which has received a lot of scrutiny in recent years after a string of accidents and mishaps with some of its planes. A lawyer involved in the new lawsuit claims the accident was caused by defective or improperly installed bolts that failed to secure the panel. Since the January incident, the Federal Aviation Administration announced it would investigate some of Boeing’s production and suppliers.

Boeing has already paid $160 million to Alaska Airlines to compensate the company for the incident, and may yet pay more.

Liable parties

The new lawsuit is based on personal injury law, and claims that Boeing and Alaska Airlines should be held liable for the passenger’s damages, including medical expenses and more.

Personal injury lawsuits typically argue that a defendant’s negligence caused the injury, and that therefore the negligent party should be held liable for the inured party’s damages. In a car accident case, the negligent party might be another driver. In a case involving a commercial driver, liability may also apply to the negligent driver’s employer. In cases involving mechanical failure, the concept of product liability can apply. This concept can hold designers, manufacturers and others liable after someone is injured by a defective product.

In an aviation accident lawsuit, all these concepts and more can apply. Because these cases can be complicated, it’s best for the injured and their families to seek out experienced advice.