The greatest occupational hazards for flight attendants and pilots occur while they are on the ground. Modern aviation is carefully regulated and safer than ever. While airline professionals are transferring between airports or taking part in layover activities, they face a higher risk of injury than they experience on scheduled commercial flights. A worker compensation lawyer knows that many airline workers are disabled by transit accidents and layover accidents. In many cases, these injuries are eligible for Illinois workers’ compensation.
Special rules apply to airline employees
For most Illinois employees, accidents while commuting to work, leaving work or transferring between jobs are not covered by workers’ compensation law. One of the rare exceptions to this rule occurs in the case of flight attendants, pilots and other airline workers. Their employment is understood to include flight layovers and journeys between airline hubs. Injuries connected to these activities may be considered job-related and compensated accordingly.
Hazards of airline layovers
Accidents and injuries during layovers are caused by a number of factors. Every worker compensation lawyer is aware of the following situations:
- Severe weather, including ice, snow and high winds
- Risky recreational activities performed by airline personnel
- Unsafe ground travel due to excessively tight schedules
- Unsafe accommodation in local facilities
Many airline employees face one or more of these hazards on a weekly or even daily basis. Sleep deprivation can add to the danger of these situations. So can drug abuse or alcohol abuse.
Increased danger of layover injuries
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, flight attendants are required to spend an average of two to three nights away from home during the typical work week. This high frequency of travel can cause an increased danger of layover injuries. BLS figures show that 10 percent of flight attendants are forced to miss at least one full day of work each year because of an injury incurred on the job.
Many layover injuries may be eligible for compensation
If a pilot or flight attendant has been hurt during a layover, Illinois law often provides for compensation during the recovery process. The injured worker has responsibilities as well as rights. If the incident can be traced to negligence, intoxication or inappropriate behavior while on company time, compensation may be denied. The burden of proof is on the employee to show that the accident was unavoidable and directly related to necessary layover activities.
Layover injuries can be complicated to assess. Injured flight attendants and pilots should consider speaking with an Illinois worker compensation lawyer about the details of their case.