While all air travelers expect to be able to depart and arrive safely, accidents do happen at airports and in the air. However, responsibility for the damages is not automatic.
Under the law of most jurisdictions, and in cases of airplane and airport injury, the injured victim has to prove their case. In a court of law, this is often referred to as “the plaintiff’s burden of proof.” There is not “partial credit.” What that means is there are elements of each case that the plaintiff must prove. If the plaintiff fails to prove those elements, then the defendant wins. If the plaintiff puts forth evidence as to each element of their claim, the defendants can then elect to put on evidence to rebut or counter the plaintiff’s claim. Additionally, if the plaintiff fails to prove one or more elements of their case, even fi the others are compelling, they will lose in a court of law.
The things that make Herndon injury lawyer Doug Landau’s wife crazy is the fact that this means that the defense lawyer sometimes does not have to put on ANY witnesses or evidence. In other words, where the defense does not feel as though the plaintiff can meet each and every element of their case, then they can choose not to put on a case at all. This can happen when the plaintiff does not know what happened, does not have a medical expert witness, or cannot provide evidence as to how the injury occurred.
For example, a passenger who falls asleep on a domestic flight and wakes up with a broken leg might think that a passing beverage cart, falling suitcase or a kick from another passenger may have caused their injury. However, if they cannot prove which of these things actually occurred, the insurance defense counsel may elect to put on no evidence and witnesses. This is so because the sleeping passenger would have no way to prove their base case, and they. could not meet their “burden of proof.”
Unless somebody was filming the aircraft cabin interior, or someone else saw and could testify as to what happened, or another passenger admitted to causing the injury, the victim will probably not be successful in court. It is extremely important to identify their so-called “black letter law” elements of the case at the very beginning of the investigation. If you identify those elements early on, and investigate appropriately so that each element can be supported by competent evidence and witness testimony, you are more likely to be successful in your airport injury or airline injury case.
If you or someone you know has been harmed as the result of an airport accident, airline injury or onboard aircraft mishap, and there are questions as to what laws apply, please call (703-796-9555) or email us at Abrams Landau, Ltd.