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While the United States is similar to Australia in that you won't receive compensation for your losses as a result of a flight delay, it does at least have rules in place if you are involuntarily bumped as a result of overbooking.
In the first instance, airlines in the US must ask passengers if anyone is willing to voluntarily give up their seat on the flight in return for compensation (the amount of which is to be determined through negotiation with the airline). However, if you are involuntarily bumped, the Department of Transportation requires that airlines compensate passengers a set amount for flights within the country as well as international flights leaving the US, in addition to getting them to their destination.
If involuntarily 'bumped' from your flight in the US:
If substitute flight arrives at the destination.
Within one hour of your scheduled arrival time - No compensation
Between: one and two hours (domestic) one and four hours (international) of your scheduled arrival time. Two times the value of your one-way fare, capped at $675 (AU$900)
More than: two hours (domestic) four hours (international)later than your scheduled arrival time. Four times the value of your one-way fare, capped at $1350 (AU$1799).
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