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Can the Pilot of a Private Plane be Held Liable for an Accident?


Whether a person has a fear of flying or not, it inevitably crosses their mind at some point before or during the flight that the plane may go down, or that there may be a serious malfunction that will cause it to temporarily drop from the sky and inflict serious injury in the process. Though flying is not nearly as risky as driving and several other “land activities,” the consequences of an aviation accident are much more grave and certain than those of a car accident. For instance, if an individual were to get into a car accident, they may or may not get injured; however, if an individual were involved in an aviation accident, injuries would be a certainty, and death a very high possibility. Because of this, when an individual steps onto an aircraft, they do so with the utmost trust and confidence that the plane was built well, and that the pilot knows what he or she is doing.

Unfortunately, aviation accidents do happen—and with much more frequency among the private sector than the public—and when they do, the consequences are severe.

Private Pilot’s Duty of Care to His or Her Passengers

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), “the pilot in command of [the] aircraft is directly responsible for, and is the final authority as to, the operation of that aircraft (§91.3). Furthermore, the pilot of any aircraft has a civil duty to exercise ordinary care in the handling of their aircraft, and to do everything in his or her power to keep their passengers safe. If a pilot violates any of the FAA’s regulations during a flight, and if a passenger were to sustain injuries as a result of that violation, they may be sued for negligence.

Furthermore, according to §91.7 of FAA regulations, an aircraft must be “airworthy” in order to be flown. The pilot in command is responsible for determining whether an aircraft is in condition for safe flight. The pilot in command also has a responsibility to his or her passengers to discontinue the flight when un-airworthy mechanical, electrical, or structural conditions occur.

Legal Options Available

If a Miami private pilot were to violate FAA regulations during flight, if their aircraft was un-airworthy before takeoff, or if they failed to land immediately upon discovering an un-airworthy condition, they may be held liable for your injuries on the grounds of negligence.

Contact Our Miami Personal Injury Law Firm

At The Pendas Law Firm, our Miami aviation accident lawyers can evaluate the circumstances surrounding your accident and determine whether or not you have a case. If we believe that you do have a case, we can help you pursue adequate compensation for the damages and losses sustained. To schedule a private consultation, contact our Miami law firm at 1-888-LPENDAS today. We also serve clients in the Orlando, Daytona, Bradenton, Tampa, Jacksonville, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and Fort Myers areas.



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