Establishing Liability in an Airplane Accident Case
Airplanes and other aircraft are complicated machines that should always be properly designed and manufactured using parts and materials that are of the highest quality. In addition, the companies that own airplanes and helicopters should always keep them properly inspected and maintained to ensure everything is always in full working order. The people who pilot these aircraft are also required to be properly trained, qualified, and licensed to do so and, while they are in control, they have the legal duty to exercise care to ensure the safety of anyone aboard. The crew on board is also expected to follow procedures and comply with safety regulations to keep everyone as safe as possible. If any one of the above parties does not meet their legal duty, dangerous accident can result.
Following an aviation accident, investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) examine the circumstances surrounding the accident, including any communications made by pilots or crew, data from the “black box,” the state of the aircraft, and more. The NTSB will try to determine the party that was responsible for the accident and those parties can often include:
For the most part, airplane accidents should not occur. Very few accidents are actually unavoidable. Generally, aviation crashes happen because someone in the chain of operation did something wrong, putting the safety of innocent people at severe risk as a result. Most aviation accidents occur directly because of human error. In fact, the BBC reports that human error is the primary cause of more than 80 percent of all airplane crashes, with avoidable mechanical errors causing most of the remaining crashes.
In an airplane accident case, all negligent parties should be held legally liable for their share of the accident. In other words, any party, whether it is the pilot, the airline company, the airport operator or the aircraft manufacturer can be sued for damages.
The liable party will help shape the nature of any resulting legal claims and you always want to have an experienced attorney who knows how to gather evidence proving fault in an aviation accident.
If unsafe actions or inaction contributed to the crash, that party needs to be held financially responsible for the resulting damages. There are many different forms of negligence that could potentially lead to an airplane accident. Some of the most common examples include:
- The pilot or airline failing to follow FAA regulations;
- Errors made by the pilot;
- Poor hiring or training by the airline company;
- Mistakes made by an air traffic controller;
- Runways defects or other problems at the airport;
- Failure to conduct proper aircraft maintenance;
- Mechanical errors that occurred because of a manufacturing defect.
If one or more parties are deemed to be at fault for an accident, victims can seek recovery for their losses by filing a legal claim against all possible parties. The following are the two main types of claims:
- Personal injury — If you were injured on an aircraft and you survived, you will file a claim for personal injury against any negligent parties. Injuries can not only occur in crashes, but also due to in-flight injuries, rough landings, and other incidents that do not constitute a full-fledged plane crash.
- Wrongful death — When an aircraft does crash, the risk of fatal injuries is unfortunately high. Family members of plane crash victims can recover for their losses by filing a claim for wrongful death and seeking compensation for financial losses, loss of services, loss of companionship, emotional distress, and more.
Independent Investigation is Critically Important
When airlines or private pilots break these rules, they are acting negligently. Though, as airplane accidents are extremely complex, it can sometimes be difficult to determine why the crash occurred and who exactly was at fault.
The FAA tries to address this problem by requiring rigorous investigation of accidents. In the event that any type of airplane accident occurs, the crash will immediately be comprehensively investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), a federal government agency. Victims need to know that this investigation will be reliable and that it will be completed in a comprehensive and fair manner. When we take on your case, our firm will independently investigate the facts and ensure that your rights are being fully protected.
Financial Compensation Available to Victims
Airplane accidents victims have a legal right to recover financial compensation that is equal to the full value of their damages. As these claims are extremely complicated and injuries can be incredibly severe, it is imperative that victims are represented by a qualified attorney who can help them maximize their recovery. Our firm will help you compensation for:
- Emergency medical bills;
- All other medical expenses;
- Physical therapy;
- Mental health counseling;
- Long-term disability;
- Lost current and future wages;
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress;
- Loss of limb.
Additionally, we also represent the family members of victims who have been killed in airplane accidents. We have the skills and experience needed to handle wrongful death claims in Oregon and Washington.
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