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In 2019, there were 20 fatal plane crashes globally which resulted in a total of 257 deaths. Commercial planes, private planes, and activity around the tarmac are all potential sources of injury for passengers and workers. Even when air travel is the safest it has ever been, accidents still happen. Fortunately, an experienced aviation accident lawyer is ready to help individuals who suffered injury or other losses.
Aviation accident lawsuits are often complex and require a qualified attorney who can prove negligence and analyze all relevant laws. It is important to quickly seek the services of a lawyer following any type of aviation accident. If you or someone you know has been harmed in a plane crash or similar disaster, you can benefit from contacting TorHoerman Law. You may be eligible for financial compensation. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation case consultation.
The types of aircraft that exist span far beyond the planes that most people think of. For example, airships, hot air balloons, paramotors, gliders, and helicopters all fall in this category. Among these, there are private and commercial vehicles.
Civil aviation consists of non-military aircraft. Private aviation is a subset of civil aviation wherein the aircraft does not carry passengers or cargo for commercial purposes. Private planes tend to be smaller than commercial planes and can carry only small groups of people. Private aviation also has fewer restrictions than commercial, such as having a more flexible flight schedule and not having security. In general, safety regulations for private flights are more liberal than for commercial vehicles.
Commercial aircraft are those that operate for hire and carry passengers or cargo. The type of plane where you purchase a ticket alongside dozens of unfamiliar passengers is a commercial plane. The most common types of commercial aircraft are passenger jets (jumbo, mid-size, and light) and cargo airplanes.
For millions of people, flying is a scary and seemingly dangerous act. But the statistics say otherwise. Here are some aviation accident statistics to put the risks of air travel into perspective:
Pilot error and mechanical malfunction are the two main causes of aviation accidents. A pilot error consists of mistakes made by the aviator, and mechanical malfunction is when the plane itself does not work as intended.
The most common forms of pilot error include:
Commercial pilots are required to complete extensive training before they can officially take on the skies. This includes receiving a private pilot certificate and logging more than 1,750 total hours of flight experience. Some pilots, however, receive inaccurate information during the training process or miss crucial parts of the training altogether. The result is a pilot who is less than qualified to be operating a commercial airliner.
Pilots have a reasonable duty of care to the health and safety of those on board the plane. Failure to uphold this (i.e., a crash resulting from a pilot’s actions) may be considered negligence in the court of law. Negligence takes many forms and is often the root cause of an aviation accident. Proving negligence in a lawsuit is a crucial task for the aviation accident lawyer.
Pilots performing their job under the influence is rare but does happen. An article regarding pilot drug & alcohol use by Mashable says that between 2010 and 2015, 64 United States pilots received citations for violating drug and alcohol laws. But on average, only one pilot is found flying over the legal alcohol limit per month in the US.
Pilot certification is one of the core requirements for legally operating an aircraft in the US. There are many types of pilot licenses that correspond to the type of work carried out by the pilot (student, recreational, private, commercial, etc.). These licenses do not expire. However, most pilots must undergo recurrent training to stay up-to-date with the latest standards and safety information. Flying a plane without a license or failing to maintain one’s skills can easily lead to an aviation accident.
About 20% of plane crashes happen because of mechanical issues or failure. Examples include manufacturing defects, design defects, and worn-out parts. Some mechanical malfunctions begin from pilot errors that go uncorrected. A malfunctioning airspeed indicator is believed to have contributed to the Boeing 737 crash of 2018.
Commercial airplanes undergo rigorous maintenance checks. Aircraft maintenance regulations are coordinated by the International Civil Aviation Organization and the Federal Aviation Administration. The most frequent check takes place every 200-300 flights but can vary depending on the type of aircraft or if officials suspect an issue with the vehicle. Typical maintenance tasks are cleaning, repairing defects, replacing parts, and performing oil changes. Maintenance requires strategic coordination between mechanics and other airline employees. In addition to the pilot, these other parties are sometimes responsible for maintenance-related crashes.
Poor weather conditions are certainly unpleasant for passengers, though rarely does the weather result in a crash by itself. Pilots closely follow the weather before and during each flight. Furthermore, commercial aircraft are built to withstand severe weather conditions.
The ground crew consists of technicians, ramp agents, and flight dispatchers. They are mostly responsible for making sure the runway is fit for takeoff and landing. Injuries resulting from ground crew errors are scarce but can result from improper runway practices and mechanical negligence.
Passenger behavior is another potential source of disaster. The most common scenario is a hijacking. Increased security measures have helped mitigate hijackings in recent years. There have also been accidents caused by excessive weight on the aircraft, possibly from passengers’ overpacking. It is recommended to always report unsafe passenger behavior during air travel.
Aviation accidents can also happen from collisions with birds, collisions with other aircraft, flying at too low an altitude, or sometimes even unknown causes.
Aviation accidents are costly. Passengers are likely to be injured or even killed in most crashes. As consequence, airplane accident damages can be significant. Medical bills, property damage, lost wages, emotional distress, and pain and suffering are all damages that can be compensated after an aviation accident.
Some injuries call for immediate, unforeseen medical care. While sometimes these services are cheap, such as getting an x-ray or a blood test, other times they cost thousands of dollars. A hip replacement is around $40,000 and a spinal fusion is more than $100,000. Fortunately, you can recover these damages with the help of an aviation accident law firm.
Beyond the initial costs, medical bills can extend well into the future. Some injuries require long-term physical therapy, medication, or checkups that do not go down in price. It is advised to always speak with your insurance provider or physician about what is covered by your insurance.
Property damage consists of damage to any of your belongings. These damages are relatively straightforward to assess, though your health should be your main concern following a crash.
It is normal for patients to miss work due to the injuries they have suffered. Whether it is for a few days or a few months, missing work can reduce a person’s income or even lead to losing their job. This is referred to as “lose wages” and may be included as damages in a lawsuit.
Pain and suffering are the physical or emotional toll a person undertakes as a result of an accident. Examples include aches, limited abilities, loss of enjoyment, or humiliation. Compensation for pain and suffering is typically determined by the jury.
Emotional distress is a state of mental suffering such as severe anxiety, depression, or other trauma-related illnesses. Disasters like car and plane crashes are so overwhelming that they often lead to temporary or prolonged emotional distress.
If a loved one was killed in a plane accident, your attorney may opt for a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death claims are made when a person dies due to the negligence of someone else. An aviation accident law firm can examine who is at fault for a plane crash and make a wrongful death argument if appropriate.
The outcome of an aviation accident lawsuit largely depends on proving who is responsible for the accident. Many people besides the pilot are potentially responsible for an aviation disaster.
Most flights have a captain, a co-pilot, and relief pilots. The captain is the highest-ranking member of the aircrew and is responsible for operating the vehicle and managing the plane’s safety. With pilot error accounting for numerous accidents each year, the pilot is usually one of the first to be investigated for causing the crash.
The ground crew is rarely liable for aviation accidents. Their job is to prepare the grounds for landing planes, a task that is really only inhibited by miscommunication. But such miscommunications tend to be quickly fixed without further issue.
In some situations, the owner of the aircraft is at fault for an accident. Private aircraft, for example, naturally lend the owners more responsibility in maintaining and safely flying their plane. Failure to do so may make the aircraft owner liable for an accident.
Aircraft manufacturers have a responsibility to design and build safe airplanes. Crashes that point to poor design suggest that the manufacturer is responsible for malfunctions or other issues that harm passengers. These oftentimes result in defective product lawsuits.
In a lot of cases, the airline is responsible for accidents. Members of the airline are involved in the flight from start to end. As employees of the airline, oftentimes, the liability falls on the airline itself, even for its employee’s mistakes.
The Montreal Convention is a treaty adopted by the International Civil Aviation Organization in 1999. The agreement outlines common flying rules as well as passenger rights in the event of delays, cancellations, injuries, or lost luggage. The Montreal Convention established strict liability, which means that damages incurred on international flights are automatically the air carrier’s fault. The treaty makes it easier for passengers to prove that they have been hurt but prevents them from recovering damages for purely psychological harm (psychological maladies must be accompanied by physical injuries).
Filing an aviation accident lawsuit is necessary if you are seeking compensation for damages caused by a plane crash. Luckily, this process is easy with the right help. To find out if you are eligible, contact an aviation accident law firm today at 1-888-508-6752. A lawyer can examine your situation to see what your legal options are.
The statute of repose is a fixed period of time you have to take legal action after an accident, similar to the statute of limitation. Aviation laws are complicated when it comes to determining the statute of repose. For some states it is two years, for other states, it is three, and some cases demand even faster legal action before you lose your rights. In any case, it is best to contact an attorney soon after the incident.
Surviving family members of a deceased plane crash victim may represent their loved one in an Aviation wrongful death lawsuit. The same steps of ensuring eligibility and working with a lawyer are required.
Aviation laws are complex, and the evidence of what happened in crash warrants careful analysis. You should seek an aviation accident lawyer with personal injury litigation experience who has the resources necessary to fully litigate your lawsuit. Hiring an aviation accident lawyer does not have to be stressful. TorHoerman Law houses a team of seasoned lawyers who are ready to take a look at your aviation accident and discuss your legal options, free of charge.
TorHoerman Law has the experts you need to win an aviation accident lawsuit. Our attorneys have decades of experience and have won billions in damages for personal injury victims. We know the struggle of recovering from a traumatic aviation accident. To see if you are eligible for compensation, call us today at 1-888-508-6752 to schedule a free consultation.
If BBC News. (2020, January 02). Plane crash fatalities fell more than 50% in 2019. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/business-50953712
(2020, June 08). All Types of Airplanes from Jumbo Jets to Small Planes. Retrieved from https://www.aircraftcompare.com/blog/types-of-airplanes/
Munro, K. (2018, July 31). How safe is flying? Here’s what the statistics say. Retrieved from https://www.sbs.com.au/news/how-safe-is-flying-here-s-what-the-statistics-say
Plautz, Jessica. (2016, April 27). Records show small but still alarming number of pilots fly under the influence. Retrieved from https://mashable.com/2016/04/27/pilots-under-influence/
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