Aviation accidents don’t happen as often as automobile accidents, but they can have devastating consequences when they occur. In the year 2014, for example, Aviation Safety Network (ASN) reports only 21 fatal airliner accidents, but those accidents led to a total of 990 fatalities. The worst aviation accident that year occurred on the 17th of July, when a Boeing 777 crashed in the Ukraine, killing 298 people.
According to the Boeing Statistical Summary of Commercial Jet Airplane Accidents (worldwide for 1959 – 2014), 29 commercial jet fleet accidents, eight of which caused serious or fatal injuries, occurred worldwide during 2014. A wide range of factors contributed to these accidents, including:
- Retracted landing gear on one side of plane during landing
- Hard landings
- Collision with a ground vehicle
- Airplane veered off runway during landing
- Control lost during cruise, and plane impacted the ground
Private planes have risks, similar to road vehicles, as reported in an article on Live Science. In general aviation (all civilian flying other than scheduled passenger airlines), the fatality rate in a recent year was 1.05 per 100,000 hours of flight time. That can be compared to 1.1 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in automobiles, which converts to 2 million hours at 50 mph.
To learn more about what an aviation accident attorney can do for you, complete our free, no-risk case evaluation form.
Who Is Responsible for Aviation Accident Injuries?
The responsible parties in cases of injuries sustained in aviation accidents will vary, based upon how the accident occurred. Generally, one or the other or a combination of two different legal theories are in play in aviation accident claims: negligence and product liability.
Negligence is the failure to do something that a reasonable person would have done to protect others from harm under similar circumstances. Major airlines, pilots, and airline maintenance providers are subject to claims of negligence in aviation accident lawsuits.
Product liability refers to the legal responsibility manufacturers and sellers carry for defective products they put on the market. If it can be shown that mechanical problems with the aircraft or its component parts caused the accident, sellers and manufacturers may be held liable for the injuries and deaths that occurred. Liable parties in aviation accident injury claims may include:
Owners and operators: If the injured person can prove that carelessness or recklessness contributed to the accident, the owner of the aircraft may be held liable for the damages suffered. This may hold true even in cases in which the aircraft owner was not operating the aircraft at the time the accident occurred.
Common carriers: This category, which includes commercial airlines, is held to a higher standard than private carriers, as common carriers offer to carry public who were willing to purchase a flight.
As the FAA is the federal agency regulating air carriers, a thorough understanding of FAA regulations is needed to successfully bring a claim against a commercial airline or other common carriers.
- Manufacturers: If an aviation accident victim can prove that the accident and injuries were caused by a defect in the aircraft or one of its parts, the manufacturer can be held strictly liable. (Strict liability does not depend on negligence or intent to harm.)
Damages in Aviation Accident Claims
The damages you may be entitled to recover after a serious aviation accident will depend on the extent of your injuries, the loss of a loved one, and the circumstances surrounding the accident. Damages may include:
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Medical expenses, past and future
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish
- Loss of consortium (companionship with a husband or wife)
- Punitive damages (designed to punish the defendant)
- Other financial damages associated with the accident
St. Augustine Personal Injury Lawyer: Aviation Accident Victims
If you have been seriously injured or lost a loved one in an aviation accident, it is in your best interests to speak with an experienced aviation accident lawyer as soon as possible after the accident. You may be entitled to recover compensation for the losses suffered, which are often extensive.
Our St. Augustine personal injury lawyers at Morgan & Morgan are committed to aggressively pursuing maximum compensation for our clients. We can negotiate skillfully on your behalf for full and fair compensation. However, if a settlement cannot be reached, we are not afraid to go to trial to fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact us for a free case evaluation.