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What happens if you get hurt on a plane?

You didn't expect to get hurt while traveling, but the fight attendant had other things in mind for you. After pushing you into your seat, you ended up with a laceration. You need stitches, but being thousands of feet up in the air isn't helping you get medical care.

Your situation isn't as uncommon as you may think. Many people end up hurt on planes and then need care that they can only get on the ground.

What happens if you're hurt on a plane?

Air travel is safe in most cases, but one obvious issue is the lack of ability to obtain medical help in an emergency. If you are hurt on the plane, you need to know what you can do to get help.

Legally, you have a right to a safe environment on the plane. If you are hurt by a flight attendant or because of malfunctioning equipment, the pilot, attendant or airline could be liable for your injuries.

Typically, if you're suffering from an illness on the plane, you will see a flight attendant calmly ask for a doctor's assistance. They may have a list of people with medical training already on board or ask in-cabin. If you are suffering from a minor illness like ear pain, a bad headache or other treatable conditions, the airline should have a first-aid kit that contains things to help you. Flight attendants are there to provide these things to you if needed. For instance, if you're going to vomit, there are typically bags available for use in the back of the seats. The flight attendants may have over-the-counter tablets, like calcium carbonate, and ginger ale to help calm your stomach.

For more serious conditions, treatment may require the plane to land. In that case, the pilot should contact Air Traffic Control and seek permission to land at the nearest landing strip. There, the injured party can be disembarked and taken to the hospital. On the plane, the use of emergency kits and a doctor's help may be provided.

Source: FindLaw, "In-Flight Injuries on Airplanes," accessed Feb. 15, 2018

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