Any event that involves an aircraft which results in harm to someone or causes their death, or that causes property damage is called an aviation accident. Aircraft accidents can occur while the aircraft is in descent, in flight, or on the ground. Negligence is usually the cause of most airplane accidents.
The plaintiff must demonstrate to the court or an insurance company that negligence was a factor in order to obtain a court award or settlement for harm that is caused by an aviation accident. A victim’s claim must clearly show that someone who was involved in the accident acted irresponsibly or carelessly. With aircraft accidents, negligence is normally linked to the facts that are determined from the NTSB investigation report, which may include sketches from the accident scene, photographs, black box data, radar data, expert witness testimony, and eyewitness testimony. In order to prevail in a case, the victim must prove that:
* The accident was caused by someone’s carelessness.
* The accident caused harm.
* The harm caused in the accident should be paid for by the party who is at fault.
There are many insurance companies and courts that are heavily influenced by the direct evidence that is given during eyewitness testimony. For instance, the statement of a bystander, who was witness to an air traffic controller going on break during a time when the staff was shorthanded immediately prior to a midair collision in that controller’s sector, is clear and convincing evidence of air traffic controller negligence.
To prove that harm was done, the injuries must be directly linked to the aviation accident. Aviation accident injuries can be fatal, severe, or minor. Among others, they may include:
* Injuries of the spinal cord.
* Lacerations or cuts.
* Bones that are broken.
* Neck and head injuries.
* Injuries of the abdomen.
If there are numerous parties at fault, the courts may use the theory of comparative negligence to subdivide the responsibility between each party and base the calculation on the percentage of fault that is attributable to each party.
Victims of airplane accidents usually seek compensation for:
* Expenses for medical treatment.
* Repair of property.
* Income which was lost.
* Physical Pain
* Psychological Suffering
* Opportunities which were lost.
Juries and insurance companies normally use formulas to establish the amount of the compensation which is paid to the victim. The severity and nature of the harm to the victim is taken into account for each case.
Causes of Aviation Accidents
Most aviation accidents are linked to the negligence of a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) violation. Common violations involve the following:
* Certificates and licenses.
* Airworthiness of the aircraft.
* Rules of flight.
* Materials which are hazardous.
There are numerous factors that contribute to FAA violations which can lead to an aviation accident. The causes of most aviation accidents usually fall into one or more of the following three categories:
* Human Error.
* Failure of equipment.
* Environmental Conditions.
Mistakes made by ground crews, air traffic controllers, flight crews, and pilots are usually the cause most aviation accidents. These mistakes are usually influenced by one or more of the following:
* Training that is improper.
* Inadequate operational procedures, guides, and manuals.
* Flight planning that is improper.
* Spatial disorientation
* Misinterpretation of instrumentation or human communication.
* Medical problems
* Work environment stress.
Failure of Equipment
Many aviation accidents are caused by equipment malfunction. Common mechanical failures leading to an aircraft accident include the:
* Landing gear.
* Components of the fuel management system.
* Structural design.
A malfunction may lead to negligence on the part of the manufacturer for designing defective aircraft parts or a defective aircraft or the service provider for not performing proper maintenance or the owner or pilot for the failure to maintain the aircraft properly.
Sabotage that leads to equipment failure is a violation of the criminal code of conduct and is therefore prosecuted in a criminal court. However, a civil suit against an alleged saboteur can be filed and compensation obtained, regardless of the verdict in the criminal case.
If you or someone you love was injured in an aviation accident caused by equipment failure, the manufacturer of the equipment may be liable under product liability laws. A personal injury attorney can help you make this determination, determine if you are eligible for a settlement or court award and explain your rights to you.
Several environmental conditions can contribute to an aviation accident, which include:
* Weather (icing, wind shear and wind, lightening, rain, and snow).
* Hazards involving wildlife.
* Congestion of the airway.
* Congestion of the runway.
* An onboard hijacker.
Since hijacking is a criminal violation, it is also tried in a criminal court. However, this does not prevent a suit from being filed in a civil court as well. A personal injury lawyer can help you obtain appropriate compensation and advise you of your rights.
When You May Need a Personal Injury Attorney
Most accident claims are managed by insurance companies. However, the majority of these claims only involve property damage. When personal injury or death is involved, it is a good idea to speak with a personal injury attorney. Many victims who choose not to review their cases with an attorney do not receive full compensation.
Victims of aviation accidents should review their rights and determine if they need to file a case, especially if:
* They have not been completely reimbursed for all of their expenses that were the result of the aircraft accident, including psychological pain, lost income, property, and medical bills.
* The claim is delayed by the insurance company.
* The insurance company fails to acknowledge the fault of the negligent party and denies the claim.
* The accident is not covered by the negligent party’s insurance.
* There is no insurance to cover the negligent party.
In addition, victims should seek the help of a airplane accident attorney if a government entity denies a claim. If you have been injured in an airplane accident seek a detailed case evaluation from The Law Offices of Ledger & Associates at 800-300-0001.