Liability of an Airline Passenger for Providing Medical Assistance to Another Passenger

Generally, an airline passenger is not legally liable for the consequences of providing medical assistance to another passenger. The federal Aviation Medical Assistance Act of 1998 provides that a person is not liable for providing or attempting to provide assistance in the case of an in-flight medical emergency, unless the person, while rendering such assistance, is guilty of gross negligence or willful misconduct.

The Eggshell Skull Rule

Suppose that a mugger approaches a jogger on a street, hoping to steal the jogger’s wallet. In order to disable the jogger, the mugger strikes him on the head. Unbeknownst to the mugger, the jogger suffers from a rare medical condition that has made his skull as thin and fragile as an eggshell. Therefore, the mugger’s assault kills the jogger. Under the “Eggshell Skull Rule,” the mugger is liable for the death of the jogger, even though the jogger’s death was unintended and unexpected.

The Federal Employers’ Liability Act

The Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) is an act that deals with a railroad carrier’s liability to its employees for industrial accidents. If the carrier is engaged in interstate or foreign commerce, the carrier will be liable for its employees’ injuries or death. However, the carrier is only liable for injuries or death that result from the negligence of the carrier’s officers, agents, or employees or from a defect in the carrier’s cars, engines, tracks, or machinery.

The Military Claims Act

When a person has died, has sustained injuries, or has sustained property damage as a result of the activities of military personnel or civilians who are employed by the military, the person or his or her representative may be entitled to recover damages from the federal government under the Military Claims Act (MCA).

Truth and Privilege Defenses to Defamation

Defamation lawsuits are not easy to win because the plaintiff must both prove the difficult elements of his or her case and avoid the many defenses to defamation. This article discusses some of the standard defenses to defamation, including truth and privilege.