Few issues in the law are as complicated and varied as the law surrounding airplane crash litigation. The Plaintiff’s attorney must take into account the substantive law that will control, sometimes called choice of law, which is not necessarily the law that normally controls in the venue in which the case is heard. Next there is the issue of which jurisdiction should or at least can hear the matter. Class action cases are also common in matters dealing with airplane crash litigation. Of course there is also the need to address the theory of recovery, whether it be product liability, negligence or any other theory of recovery. Rules and regulations promulgated by any number of federal agencies such as the National Transportation Safety Board as well as the Federal Aviation Administration will also likely come into play. In the event that the flight was an international flight or occurred over another country, international treaties also need to be taken into account. Limitations of liability that a passenger agrees to when they buy a ticket may also become an issue under some circumstances.
One of the threshold questions that must be asked of all airplane crashes is where the negligence occurred. Pilot error or even corporate negligence may be the cause of airplane crash litigation. But it is also entirely possible that part or all of the negligence lies with the airplane manufacturer. Maybe a part was designed to be faulty, an individual part was produced poorly or the maintenance and installation directions from the manufacturer were incorrect. It is often the case that there is enough blame to go around between the airplane manufacturer, the airlines, and the parts manufacturer. In such cases, strict liability as a legal principle is a valid means for a Plaintiff to seek to recover from the airplane manufacturer.
An airplane manufacturer is not without defenses in some cases. Under the Federal General Aviation Revitalization Act, manufacturers of airplanes of up to 20 seats, that are at least 19 years or older are shielded from liability. If the facts do not permit the airplane manufacturer to use such a defense, they can defend on the facts of the case, by arguing that the instructions manual for operation and maintenance were clear and safe when properly applied. Perhaps the plane was not designed to operate in a thunderstorm or able to take off or land with cross winds of a certain strength but the pilot did so anyway.
If you or a loved one were harmed during an aviation accident, you need a law firm who will fight for you to get the maximum recovery allowed under the law. The attorneys at the law office of Napoli Shkolnik, PLLC have the skill and tenacity to ensure that you get the maximum recovery allowed under the law and the wisdom and compassion to handle your case as delicately as possible. You can our contact us via our online contact information form and someone will reach out to you about your case or you can call us directly at 212-397-1000.