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Unexpected turbulence can put flight crews at risk for injury

Eye to eye

Turbulence can cause severe injuries to unsuspecting airline crews. Although modern airplanes are extremely safe, pilots cannot control the possibility of turbulence during scheduled flights. In some cases, heavy weather is impossible to avoid. When an airplane is shaken by turbulence, disability or even death may result. A number of Illinois flight attendants have been forced to retire after a turbulence injury.

Why is turbulence more dangerous for crew members?

Every airline passenger is familiar with the announcement: “Please make sure your seat belts are securely fastened.” Worker compensation lawyers in Woodstock know that flight crews do not always have this luxury. They spend much of their time walking around the cabin, serving drinks and snacks, performing safety checks or taking care of the needs of passengers. When turbulence occurs, flight attendants are much more likely to be out of their seats and unsecured.

Unexpected events

Some turbulence events can be predicted by pilots and air traffic control. Other forms of turbulence appear unexpectedly. Clear-air turbulence, in which an aircraft suddenly drops a large distance without warning, is a common cause of injury in the air.

Dangerous results of turbulence

Sudden turbulence is extremely unlikely to damage the structure of an airplane. Unfortunately, it can damage the people inside the plane. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, 24 people were severely hurt in turbulence during the year 2013. Unbelted crew members can become projectiles. They may tumble down the aisle, hit the ceiling or collide with stationary objects. Large, heavy items such as beverage carts may also become projectiles, causing further injury.

Typical turbulence injuries

Turbulence injuries are generally blunt force traumas, as worker compensation lawyers in Woodstock are aware. Some of the most typical forms of injury include the following:


  • Neck or back injuries

  • Head injuries

  • Broken bones

  • Strains or sprains

  • Crushing injuries

  • Lacerations


In severe cases of turbulence, a crew member may experience more than one of these injuries.

Compensation for injuries in the air

If a crew member is hurt during a turbulence event, Illinois law provides for workers’ compensation during the process of medical treatment and recovery. Some crew members may also suffer from post-traumatic stress after a severe injury by unexpected turbulence. Disability compensation can cover the costs of this trauma, as well as the costs of vocational rehabilitation when needed.

Are you living with the aftermath of a turbulence injury? Speaking with worker compensation lawyers in Woodstock may help you understand your options.

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908 S Illinois Route 31
McHenry, IL 60050

Phone: 815-669-4635
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