While commercial aviation has become one of the safest modes of transportation, aviation accidents do still happen. Sadly, when they happen they often have catastrophic and tragic results as evidenced by the Air India crash last week. The crash was the worst aviation accident in the last decade for India.
According to news reports, the Air India Boeing 737 passenger jet departed from Dubai, United Arab Emirates without incident on its way to Mangalore, India. Neither the pilot nor the co-pilot reported any problems while en route to Mangalore and weather conditions were reported as good at the time. When attempting to land, however, in Mangalore, the plane overshot the runway at Mangalore International Airport causing the plane to hit a barrier wall and ultimately land in a valley. The crash killed 158 of the 166 people on board. Experts are currently searching for the “black box” that is found on all commercial jets to attempt to determine what went wrong that caused the plane to miss its landing and ultimately cause the crash that took 158 lives. Experts from the United States National Transportation Safety Board are expected to conduct an investigation of the crash.
Despite advances over the last few decades in aviation and safety, aviation accidents are still possible. Statistics tell us that almost half of all aviation accidents are the result of human error or mechanical failure. Human error can include pilot error or air traffic control error. While large jets such as the Boeing 737 do include many automated systems for flying the plane and monitoring the flight systems, responsibility for the safe departure and arrival of a plane is still highly dependent on the pilots and the air traffic control operators. While it may be weeks or months before we know what caused the crash of the Air India flight, we do know that 158 passengers lost their lives and another eight may suffer physical injuries and psychological trauma for the rest of their lives.
The Indian government has already announced that it will be paying the families of the deceased passengers what amounts to about $25,000 per victim pursuant to their regulations for accident victims. What would the families be entitled to here in the United States? If the accident had happened here, family members would be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit for the passengers that were killed or the survivors could file a personal injury lawsuit. Unlike other countries, the amount that the families or the victims are entitled to is no predetermined. Under either a wrongful death lawsuit or a personal injury lawsuit, you will be able to provide evidence of the damages that were suffered by you personally in the case of a personal injury lawsuit or evidence of the future support that you will not have to live without in the case of a wrongful death lawsuit. The ultimate value of your lawsuit will be determined through negotiations with the responsible party – in this case the airline – or through a jury trial wherein the jury will determine the amount of damages that you are entitled to.
If you have been the victim of an aviation accident or have lost a family member as a result of an aviation accident, please call California aviation attorney Emery Ledger of Ledger & Associates for more information on your legal options. He may be reached at 1-800-300-0001.