While a lot of people are afraid of flying for fear of plane accidents and crashes, flying is actually the safest mode of transportation. Statistically speaking, the odds of being in a plane crash are one for every 1.2 million flights, and the odds of dying in a plane crash are one in 11 million. But despite the astronomical odds against dying in an aviation accident, when such accidents do occur, they can wreak devastation on victims and surviving loved ones.
Survivors of airplane accidents could sustain life-altering injuries, including paralysis, limb amputation, and brain damage. In worst-case scenarios, plane crashes could lead to wrongful death. Following fatal aviation accidents, the victim’s loved ones will be left to pick up the pieces and will have the deal with the trauma of their loss.
Common Causes of Commercial Plane Accidents
Different parties could be held responsible for the plane accident. The most common causes of such mishaps are:
- Pilot error or negligence (including operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs)
- Mechanical failure
- Poor weather conditions
- Sabotage (including acts of terrorism)
- Shoddy maintenance and/or repair of aircraft
- Lack of competence or training among airline crew or airport personnel
- Defective aircraft parts or aircraft design
- Fueling error
What Claims Can Be Filed?
In an ordinary personal injury case, you can file a tort claim for damages against the party at fault. However, the rules are far more complex in aviation accident cases. Depending on the nature of the accident and who can be held responsible, you can either file a negligence claim against the parties at fault, or a product liability claim against the designer or manufacturer of the plane or its defective parts. You can also file a claim against Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) employees (such as air traffic controllers) via the Federal Tort Claims Act.
Who Investigates Airplane Crashes?
The federal National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is generally the agency tasked to investigate the accident. However, in some cases, the FBI and the FAA, or independent investigators hired by the victims, are tasked to step in and help solve the crash case.
Available Assistance After an Airplane Crash
Under the Aviation Disaster Family Assistance Act of 1996, the federal government is mandated to provide assistance to the families of victims of airplane crashes. Moreover, the Act mandates that the NTSB should coordinate with other local and state governments and the aircraft carrier to “meet the needs of the aviation disaster victims and their families.”
Crisis intervention, victim identification, forensic services, and correspondence with foreign governments are among the federal government services available to help local authorities and the airline carrier respond appropriately to the disaster.
What Laws Are Applicable in Airplane Crashes?
The applicable laws will depend on the ownership of the airline as well as the actual location of the crash. If the accident happened on American soil and involved an American airline, then the lawsuit can be filed in the United States. On the other hand, if the victim was a passenger of an international commercial flight, then the applicable laws could be based on the Warsaw Convention, Montreal Convention, or other international treaties. To better understand these laws as well as your rights, it is best to consult experienced aviation accident attorneys.
Hire an Experienced Airplane Accident Lawyer to Receive Just Compensation
Regardless of how strong your case is, it isn’t advisable to negotiate your claims on your own. Aviation law, particularly if the accident occurred outside American soil or involves foreign-owned interests, is very complex. Also, the airline company is bound to have attorneys on retainer to defend and safeguard their interests. If that wasn’t enough, you’ll also have to contend with insurance adjusters who are knowledgeable in the legal and technical aspects of aviation tort claims.
Medical treatments for injuries suffered in an airline accident have the potential to reach the hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. These include X-rays, MRIs, lab and neurological tests, physiotherapy, and post-op treatments.
Whether you are a victim of the accident or a family member of the deceased victim, the well being of your loved ones is at stake. Mesriani Law Group’s experienced team of Los Angeles-based aviation accident attorneys will fight to ensure that you’re properly compensated for all of your sufferings and losses.