Updated February 18, 2020

What Are Common Aviation Accident Injuries?

Aviation remains one of the safest forms of travel, but when accidents happen, they are often catastrophic. Victims of aviation accidents can sustain severe injuries, requiring medical care over months or years to heal. Some injuries might even have lifelong consequences.

Surgical procedures, rehabilitation, medication, therapy, and other expenses add up. Making sure you are fairly compensated after an aviation accident will ensure that you and your family can focus on your health.

What are some Common Aviation Accident Injuries?

As with any accident, victims of an aviation disaster could sustain any number of injuries—some of which may be fatal.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can be caused, for example, by blunt force trauma during a plane crash. Injuries to the brain require extensive healthcare treatment, and the long-term effects of TBIs are numerous and can include ongoing medical costs as well as changes in decision-making skills, personality, mood, or work prospects.

Spinal Cord and Back Injuries

When an aircraft hits the ground or collides with another plane, passengers are susceptible to spinal cord and other back injuries. These injuries can affect a person’s ability to move or feel physical sensations. With severe spinal cord injuries, a victim could become partially or fully paralyzed.

Broken Bones and Fractures

It’s common for aviation accident victims to suffer from multiple bone fractures or breaks to both their lower and upper body. Factors such as the altitude of the plane when it began its descent and how fast the aircraft impacted the ground can affect the quantity and severity of bone injuries.


Runway accidents and aircraft collisions can cause a fire due to the extreme friction at play or the combustibility of fuel. Passengers on the airplane as well as personnel on the ground can suffer from severe burns, leaving victims to suffer from an extreme amount of pain or endure cosmetic surgery.

Emotional Trauma

Survivors of aviation accidents can suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and other types of emotional trauma. This type of injury usually requires therapy and psychological treatment to help victims heal. Additionally, if a loved one is killed in an aviation accident, surviving family members suffer from loss of consortium.

What are some Aviation Injury Statistics?

A 2009 study analyzed the injuries sustained by victims of aviation accidents. During the six-year study period (2000–2005), more than 6000 patients were admitted to short-term hospitals in the United States due to aviation-related injuries. Researchers broke down the data as follows.

Commercial aircraft accident injuries:

  • Head injury, 7.5%
  • Internal injury, 2.6%
  • Burns, 2.7%
  • Injury to joint/muscle, 8.1%
  • Lower-limb fracture, 28.4%
  • Open wound, 7.4%
  • Upper-limb fracture, 11.2%
  • Other injury, 31.1%

Noncommercial aircraft accident injuries:

  • Head injury, 12.9%
  • Internal injury, 10.8%
  • Burns, 4.4%
  • Injury to joint/muscle, 3.1%
  • Lower-limb fracture, 17.2%
  • Open wound, 15.6%
  • Upper-limb fracture, 10.0%
  • Other injury, 26.0%

In both cases, lower-limb fractures were the most common injuries.

Contact an Aviation Accident Attorney Today

Two of the attorneys at WKW are licensed pilots. Both pilots have flight experience in Boeing 727s and private aircrafts as well as commercial licenses, flight engineer certificates, and instrument and multi-engine aircraft ratings.

If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of an aviation accident, contact the Indianapolis Aviation Accident Attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you with the next steps in pursuing an aviation accident case. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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