What to do After an Aviation Accident 

As the number of planes flying the skies increases and as more and more people travel by plane, the risk that passengers will be involved in some sort of aviation accident while flying also greatly increases. Generally, air traffic is considered one of the safest methods of traveling long distances, but when something does go wrong and a plane crashes, the results are often devastating and loss of the life can be extreme. Smaller, less serious accidents can also occur during take off and landing and these can also lead to injuries as well.


Causes of Plane Crashes

Aviation accident law covers both major air carrier and general aviation accidents. These include commercial and private planes, jets, helicopters, gliders, and any other aviation vehicle that carries one or more passengers. The most common causes of aviation accidents include:

  • Pilot error that causes the plane to crash o malfunction in some way
  • Faulty equipment or improper care of equipment that leas to system failures
  • Federal Aviation Administration regulations violations
  • Structural issues or design problems with the aviation vehicle
  • Negligence or failure to ensure the proper training of employees
  • Negligence on the part of the Federal Air Traffic Controllers
  • Negligence from third party members in the selection of a carrier or crew
  • Ignoring or failing to heed warnings o weather or other risks before a flight


The FAA and NTSB

Two federal agencies regulate air travel and investigate every aviation accident (both commercial and private) in the United States: The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The FAA sets safety standards for pilot conduct, flight operations, and aircraft manufacturers, and enforces FAA regulations through civil penalties or criminal penalties. The NTSB is responsible for investigating every civil aircraft accident and recommends safety standards to prevent future accidents.


Personal Injury Claims for Aviation Accidents

When you file a lawsuit after an aviation accident, you and your attorney will have to overcome one big obstacle- proving some line of liability for the other party involved. The owner and operator of an aircraft certainly may be liable; manufacturers or maintenance suppliers may be liable in certain circumstances; even the federal government may bear some responsibility for an aircraft accident. The goal of a lawsuit is to determine who is to be held liable for the accident and to press them for compensation for injuries sustained due to their mistakes and choices. It is a difficult thing to prove in some cases which is why working with an attorney who is experienced n aviation cases can be the best choice as you proceed with your lawsuit.

Aviation litigation is complex, and involves many potential theories in terms of who is liable for the accident and the resulting injuries and where the lines of jurisdiction lie for the aviation department and the other involved parties.

“Jurisdiction generally describes any authority over a certain area or certain persons. In the law, jurisdiction sometimes refers to a particular geographic area containing a defined legal authority. For example, the federal government is a jurisdiction unto itself. Its power spans the entire United States. Each state is also a jurisdiction unto itself, with the power to pass its own laws. Smaller geographic areas, such as counties and cities, are separate jurisdictions to the extent that they have powers that are independent of the federal and state governments” (Encyclopedia.com).

While the circumstances of each aviation accident are always different there are few main categories the cause of the accident may fall under:

Negligence- this is a term used to describe situations where someone involved in the accident willfully ignored, overlooked, or failed to respond to warning signs or failed to do their required duties in order to ensure safe operations.

Manufacturer Liability- when the manufacturer of the aircraft or key components of the aircraft are fond to have cut corners, sold unsafe products, or willfully ignore warning that their products were not safe they can be liable for the accident and resulting injuries

Operator Liability- in some cases, the operator of the aircraft or their crew may be found to be responsible for the accident to do action on inaction on their part and if this  is the case they are the ones held liable in any court proceedings and lawsuits.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an aviation accident and you are not sure how to proceed, give us a call- we are here for you and can help you make sense of it.