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Who is Liable in a Small Plane Accident?


Small plane accidents are much more common than most people believe. Just this past December, two people were killed when their plane crashed on the way from the Willmar Municipal Airport to Spruce Creek, where one of the passengers owned a vacation home. According to witnesses, the pilot missed the runway and flew into the fog for another go around. When the plane came out of the fog, it was spinning towards the ground. It landed in the front yard of a Spruce Creek home, and narrowly missed hitting two houses. The pilot, Daryl Ingalsby, also happened to be the president and CEO of the company that owned and manufactured the plane. The passenger, Deb Solsrud, was a New London businesswoman, loving parent, and active community member. While it is unclear what caused the crash, Ingalsby’s company could very well be at fault.

In September, a small plane crashed about two miles east of the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. The two people on board were both pronounced dead within an hour of the accident. According to recordings, they were diverted three miles off shore because of some bad weather closer to the shoreline. However, they experienced bad – and even fatal – weather farther out.

Determining Liability in a Small Plane Accident

Not all small plane accidents are fatal. In many, the occupants survive but are seriously injured. However, fatal or not, someone needs to be held liable. If you lost a loved one in a small airplane accident, or if you were severely injured in a small airplane accident, you deserve to be compensated for your losses. The Fort Lauderdale aviation accident lawyers at The Pendas Law Firm understand what is needed to prove liability for a plane accident, and can help you pursue the compensation you are entitled to.

When aviation accidents occur, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is sent in to investigate. Depending on the size of the accident, the agency sends in as few as three “Go Team” members to more than a dozen. The team is responsible for collecting information from the scene, updating relevant parties regarding their findings, and making an official determination regarding the cause of the accident. The information presented in the Go Team’s official report is the information that will be the most helpful to our legal team in proving liability.

Typically, aviation accidents are the result of one of the following:

  • Pilot Error: Pilot error occurs when the pilot does not meet his or her duty to operate the aircraft in a reasonable and safe manner;
  • Maintenance Failures: Maintenance failures occur when the owner of the aircraft does not properly maintain the vessel, or when they complete maintenance tasks in a faulty manner;
  • Faulty Design: When an aircraft is designed incorrectly, it can lead to mechanical errors or issues with staying in flight; and
  • Poor Communication: Operating an aircraft requires strict communication between the pilot and ground control; when either fail to communicate, or when ground control provides wrong flight information, it can lead to a crash.

Depending on the cause of the accident, one or more people may be held liable. In some instances, both the pilot and ground control can be held liable. In other instances, the manufacturer may be responsible, or in others, the owner of the plane for failing to properly maintain it. It is the job of the Go Team to determine the cause, and our job, as your aviation accident lawyers, to prove liability and ensure that you are adequately compensated for your losses.

Consult a Fort Lauderdale Aviation Accident Lawyer

If you or a loved one was injured or killed in an aviation accident, you have the right to file a personal injury claim and receive compensation for your damages. The Fort Lauderdale aviation accident lawyers at The Pendas Law Firm will work with you and the investigative team to learn more about the cause of the accident, prove liability, and ensure that you are adequately compensated for your losses. To speak with an aviation accident lawyer today, call 1-888-LPENDAS today.

The Pendas Law Firm also serves clients in the Tampa, Fort Myers, Orlando, Jacksonville, Miami, Daytona, Bradenton, and West Palm Beach areas.


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