It’s the passenger in the aisle seat who is most often injured by baggage falling from an overhead bin. The injuries can be serious and can include mild traumatic brain injury.Overhead bin

If the baggage falls and injures a passenger who is travelling internationally, then the Montreal Convention or Warsaw Conventions apply.  The conventions are international treaties that make the airlines automatically liable for any injury to the passenger that resulted from an "accident."  An "accident" is defined as an unusual or unexpected event that is external to the passenger.  Under certain circumstances, being injured by falling baggage may well qualify. 

The conventions apply even if the flight was entirely domestic, as long as the passenger had an international destination somewhere on his itinerary.

What if the flight on which the injury occurred was domestic and there was no international travel involved?  Then it’s trickier.  The passenger must prove that the airline was negligent before the airline can be held liable.  For example, the passenger must prove that a flight attendant was careless in opening a baggage compartment and allowing the object to fall out.  Or, the passenger must prove that the bag fell out when a fellow passenger opened the compartment because a flight attendant stowed the bag improperly.

  • A luggage fell on my head because of the carelessness of a passenger. Can i still claim the airline for not taking responsibilities.

  • Mike Danko


    I can’t comment here on individual cases. But as I state in the post, an airline may be liable if the injured passenger was travelling internationally. But if the injured passenger was travelling domestically, then the airline may be held liable only if it was negligent. That means if the baggage fell solely because of the bag owner’s carelessness, the airline would not be liable.


  • Noosi

    What if the compartment opened upon landing and a item fell out and injured a passenger? I mean with no one opening it, the landing was a hard landing and it jarred the compartment open as soon as the wheels hit the ground.

  • Mike Danko


    If the passenger was travelling internationally, then the airline would likely be liable.

    If the passenger was travelling domestically, to hold the airline liable the passenger would need to prove that the airline was negligent because, for example, a flight attendant loaded the compartment improperly or failed to close the compartment securely before takeoff. Or prove, perhaps, that the landing was hard because of the pilot’s carelessness.

    The situation you describe is not uncommon and makes for a difficult case for the passenger injured while travelling domestically.