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What Airport and Airline Employees Need to Know About Workers’ Comp

When you mention workers’ compensation, people immediately think of people in construction jobs. However, all employees may be entitled to workers’ compensation when they are injured on the job, including those who work in the air travel industry. If you have been injured as an airline employee or someone who works at the airport and are unable to work, you may be able to pursue a workers’ compensation claim to cover your lost income and medical expenses. Unfortunately, the claim process can be complicated. An experienced North Carolina airline employee workers’ comp lawyer can help you get the compensation you need to get back on your feet.  

 Anyone Who Works in the Air Travel Industry Can Pursue a Claim

Workers’ compensation is available to anyone who is unable to work due to a work-related injury or illness, from white-collar professionals to blue-collar trade workers. It also covers anyone who works in the air travel industry: 

  • Pilots
  • Flight attendants
  • Gate attendants
  • Ticketing agents
  • Skycaps
  • Baggage handlers
  • Ground crew 

Each of these employees faces unique risks that expose them to potential injury or illness that could force them to miss work for an extended period of time. If you work in any of these roles in the air travel industry, a North Carolina airline employee workers comp lawyer can discuss with you whether you may be able to pursue a claim for workers’ compensation. 

Common Injuries Suffered by Airport and Airline Employees

Some of the injuries that air travel industry workers suffer while at work include the following: 

  • Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries. Cabin crew, baggage handlers, or ground crew can suffer brain injuries due to falling equipment, falling luggage, or from falling from some height. Some of these injuries can require months of recovery. 
  • Trips, slips, and falls. Working in the air travel industry requires a lot of walking. Cabin crew can easily trip while getting on or off the plane or while walking through the airport. Employees can trip anywhere in the airport and easily slip on wet surfaces, both inside and outside. Flight attendants often suffer injuries caused by falls due to turbulence while in the air. 
  • Neck, back, and shoulder injuries. Almost every role in the air travel industry can suffer a back, neck, or shoulder injury due to repeatedly lifting luggage and other items. They can also suffer sudden injuries from lifting extraordinarily heavy items, especially mechanics and ground crew. 
  • Hearing loss. Ground crew and others who work outside the plan can suffer hearing loss due to accumulated noise exposure over the years. 
  • Burn injuries. Airport workers handle fuel and other flammable materials that can cause severe burns when ignited. Workers can also suffer burn injuries when handling hot equipment. 
  • Toxic exposure. Airport workers can become seriously ill and develop terminal illnesses as a result of prolonged exposure to toxic chemicals and other dangerous substances.

Despite this list, the fact is that any injury you suffer while on the job may entitle you to workers’ compensation. This includes both acute injuries such as being struck by a bag falling from the overhead compartment, as well as cumulative injuries such as back or knee problems after years of service. Contact a North Carolina airline employee workers comp lawyer to discuss whether you have a claim.  

Unique Considerations for Flight Crews

In order to receive workers’ compensation, you must be able to prove that you were injured while in the course of your duties for your employer or “on the clock.” In many industries, it is clear when an employee is on the job and when they are off duty, but this can be somewhat ambiguous for flight crews. 

Flight crews can be called into work even when they are between flights or at the hotel. As a result, the general rule is that flight crews are considered to be on duty from the time they report until they are released when they return to their home base. As a result, you could file a workers comp claim if you were injured in your hotel room when you fell while getting dressed. 

That said, there are some exceptions. For example, you may not be able to pursue a workers comp claim in the following scenarios:

  • You were injured while working out in the hotel gym
  • You assaulted while at a bar
  • You were injured in a car accident while touring the city you had a layover in

The difference between when you may be considered “on duty” and “off duty” is not always clear. For example, you may be able to pursue a claim if you were injured in a car accident going from the airport to the hotel or were assaulted while waiting for a cab. The bottom line is that you should not assume that you do not have a claim, and instead contact an airline employee workers comp lawyer. 

What to Do if You Have Been Injured at Work

The most important thing airline employees need to do is report their injuries to their employer. Under North Carolina law, they must file this report within 30 days, or any subsequent claim may be automatically denied. The report should be made in writing and you should keep a copy for your records. 

You then have two years from the date of the accident to file a workers’ comp claim with the North Carolina Industrial Commission. The claim will be reviewed, and if approved, you will begin receiving your benefits. 

Deciding whether or not to file a workers’ comp claim can be difficult. If you have questions, an experienced North Carolina airline employee workers comp lawyer can provide you with the guidance you need. 

Talk to a North Carolina Airline Employee Workers’ Comp Lawyer Today

The workers’ comp lawyers at Martin & Jones have been helping injured air travel industry employees get the benefits they deserve for over 30 years. To discuss your case and how we can help you, contact us today at 800-662-1234 to schedule your free consultation.

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The law firm you choose makes a difference. If you are the victim of an accident or an illness that someone else caused, the North Carolina personal injury law firm of Martin & Jones has the depth of experience, skills and sensitivity to make your road to recovery as smooth as possible. Whether you have experience with the legal system or have never hired a medical malpractice or personal injury lawyer before, our attorneys and staff will do our best to answer your questions, provide clear advice and prepare you and your family for what to expect. If you would like more information or to meet with one of our attorneys, please fill out the form below or call us at 800.662.1234.