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Most people have a healthy fear of the airline beverage cart for a good reason. Those things always seem to be just barely small enough to fit down the aisle, but not usually without knocking some knees, toes and elbows hanging out into the aisle.
Unfortunately for one American Airlines passenger, Charles Johnson, a runaway beverage cart caused much more than just a bumped elbow. Johnson was on a flight from Hartford, Connecticut to Charlotte, North Carolina, with his wife, when a fully stocked, 300 lbs, beverage cart broke loose. In the recently filed lawsuit against American Airlines, Johnson alleges that the runaway cart struck him in the head, causing a serious traumatic brain injury.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
As a result of the blow to the head, Johnson initially suffered a gash to the forehead, and then lost consciousness. Despite this, and the profuse bleeding, the pilot refused to make an emergency landing. Fortunately, a nurse was on board as a passenger and helped care for Johnson during the flight. As a result of the injury, Johnson claims he suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and now has post concussive syndrome.
Brain injuries are usually rather significant injuries requiring extensive immediate and long term care. Frequently, TBI cases can have a large amount of financial damages because a person will not only require years of medical care, but also may not be able to work. In this scenario, a person would be entitled to lost wages, in addition to the medical damages and compensation for pain and suffering.
Injuries on Airplanes
When a person is injured on board an aircraft, there's generally a good chance that the injury was the result of the airline's, or an employee's, negligence. In flight injuries can include baggage falling out of overhead storage, slip and falls, and even flight hazards, like turbulence.
While not all injuries will result in liability, when an airline could have prevented an injury by taking a little more precaution, those injuries could be the basis of a personal injury case. In the case of the runaway cart, if an employee failed to lock it up properly before takeoff, or the lock failed due to age, or a defect, there could be liability found against airline, or potentially the drink cart maker.