Find A Plane Crash Accident Attorney
If you have been injured in a plane accident, it is imperative that you speak with a plane crash attorney or personal injury attorney. At whocanisue.com we have accident attorneys and plane crash attorneys that specialize in aviation accidents and plane crashes.
A plane crash does not have to occur when the carrier is in flight to qualify as an aviation accident. It can occur at any point between the time a passenger boards the aircraft (with the intention of flying) to the time he or she disembarks. A disaster attorney or disaster law firm usually handles plane crash legal claims.
Aviation disaster lawsuits can be tricky because there are so many factors to consider, such as:
Who is at fault?
The airline, the aircraft manufacturer or another entity; How to interpret the laws which govern air travel state-to-state, nationwide and internationally; Whether the crash happened over land or water; and Whether it is better to file as an individual or as part of a class action suit? It is best to discuss your options and the details of your plane crash legal claim with a plane crash attorney or personal injury attorney in your area.
Most airplane crashes take place while the aircraft is either still parked at the gate, taxiing on the runway, during takeoff and landing, or while returning to the gate.
Airline disasters do not occur as frequently as other types of transportation accidents such as cars, motorcycles, trains or buses but when they happen the results are more likely to involve fatalities.
Under federal law, airlines are considered "common carriers" and as such are held to a higher public accountability.
Plane Crash Attorneys:
Aviation disaster law firms specializing in class action cases depend on airlines offering settlements when faced with passenger liability in a plane crash.
Survivors of an plane crash should evaluate whether they want an individual disaster attorney to represent them or would rather retain a mass disaster law firm. Frequently the settlement amount paid to a passenger will depend on his/her attorney’s skill. An experienced plane crash attorney should be able to present his/her client’s case under the most favorable laws, using sophisticated economics to distinguish his/ her damage claims as unique from the claims of other plane crash passengers. A personal injury attorney or plane accident attorney will help in your claim.
Causes of Airplane Accidents:
- Pilot Error
- Mechanical Failure
- Pilot Incapacitation
- Air Traffic Control Error
- Cabin Fire
- Design Flaw
- Explosive Device
- Fuel Starvation
- Bird Strike
Most plane crashes are due to human error or mechanical failures, and therefore are viewed as preventable.
In many instances, understanding how an air disaster happened can be difficult because the material evidence may be missing or the aircraft may be lost and impossible to examine.
The National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are in charge of investigating aviation accidents. Private plane lawsuits are often more complex and challenging than commercial aircraft lawsuits. This is because private aircraft do not have the "black boxes" which commercial carriers do. In addition, the maintenance and certification procedures in private aircraft are not as rigorous as for commercial aircraft.
Who Can Sue
An airline passenger or the family and estate of a deceased passenger killed in a plane crash can sue those responsible for the air disaster.
Victims of U.S. plane crashes are generally entitled to collect two types of compensatory damage (damages which pay for their loss): pecuniary and non-pecuniary.
Pecuniary (economic) damages include medical expenses, lost wages and loss of support to the family.
Non-pecuniary (non-economic) damages can be higher than the normal pecuniary damages. In the case of personal injury, victims are also entitled to recover for pain and suffering.
In death cases, the families of the decedents are usually allowed non-pecuniary damages for the loss of care, comfort and society. Some states also allow pre-impact pain and suffering damages for the time the passenger consciously suffered before dying. Contact a plane crash attorney or personal injury attorney.
Punitive damages are extremely rare in airline crash litigation.
A few states have enacted laws to limit the non pecuniary damages that a plane crash victim may collect $250,000 to $500,000.
Through civil litigation, if an plane crash victim proves that another person acted negligently to cause their injury, the victim may also recover compensatory damages for harm to their body, property, mental well-being, financial status or intimate relationships.
When Airlines Are Not Responsible for Accidents:
Airline insurance defense lawyers take the position that various mishaps or illnesses outside their control are not "accidents." The United States Supreme Court has supported the airlines in this instance. What this means is that passengers are not able to recover against airlines for emotional damage when there is no evidence of a physical injury or illnesses caused by the carrier.
Disparity in Airline Liability Law:
Prior to 1997, passengers who held tickets on international flights which crashed could not receive more than $75,000 in damages even if the accident occurred on or over U.S. soil.
After 1997, most airlines agreed that they can be sued for the allowable damage amount in the passenger’s domicile country. Victims or their families only have to show that the airline was negligent in causing their injuries.
The one exemption that airlines use against unlimited damage liability is if the airline can prove it took "all necessary measures" to prevent the damage.
The odds that any single person will be involved in a plane crash are about one-in-twenty thousand. However, more than fifteen thousand Americans will be involved in at least some type of aviation accident during their lifetime. If you have been involved in a place accident, notify a personal injury lawyer or place crash attorney.
Approximately 80 percent of all plane crashes occur shortly before, after, or during takeoff or landing. While mid-flight disasters happen, they are rare.
An accident survey of 1,843 aircraft accidents (excluding military, private and charter aircraft) from 1950 through 2006 determined the causes were:
- 53%: Pilot error
- 21%: Mechanical failure
- 11%: Weather
- 8%: Other human error (air traffic controller error, improper loading of aircraft, improper maintenance, fuel contamination, language miscommunication etc.)
- 6%: Sabotage (bombs, hijackings, shoot-downs)
- 1%: Other causes
Commercial airline disaster settlements often land on page one in the newspaper because the awards can be very large.
In March, 2008, a record $165 million settlement for the crash of an Air Philippines Flight eight years earlier splashed across the headlines. While it took seven years of litigation to reach the agreed figure which is cited as the largest settlement for an Asian airline accident the compensation awarded to each family of the 103 passengers amounted to $1.5 million per victim.
Charter and private plane disasters tend to produce smaller settlements than commercial airline crashes but not always.
Record small aircraft settlements include the following:
- In 2006, a $26 million settlement paid for the wrongful deaths of a couple with eight children following a 1999, North Carolina plane crash (highest aviation settlement in U.S. history for the death of a husband and wife).
- In 2005, a $38 million settlement paid to a woman severely injured in a 2001 helicopter crash at the Grand Canyon (highest settlement in U.S. history for helicopter crash injury).
- In 2003, a $25-million settlement was agreed to by the air charter company which owned and operated the small plane involved in the 2002 crash deaths of six passengers and the plane’s two pilots. The estate of a Minnesota senator who was killed in the crash -- along with his wife, daughter and three campaign aides -- was the plaintiff.
- In 2001, a $27.5 million settlement was reached on behalf of skydivers killed in a 1998 small