Florida Airplane Accident Lawyer
Aviation accidents are among the most dangerous transportation accidents. They often result in very serious injuries or even fatalities, and can cause thousands or millions of dollars in property damage. Whether they involve airplanes or helicopters, civilian or military aircraft, or personal or commercial pilots, aviation injuries are serious. If you have become involved in an aviation accident, it is important to call a personal injury lawyer today. Contact our experienced Florida airplane accident lawyers today.
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Common Causes of Aviation Accidents
Aircraft accidents are generally caused by pilot error, improper maintenance of the aircraft, or defective aircraft or parts. Often, a combination of factors contributes to the crash
Common causes of aviation injuries include:
- Flying in dangerous weather conditions;
- Failure to complete the proper pre-flight checks and inspections;
- Takeoff and landing errors;
- Air traffic control error;
- Flying too low;
- Pilot fatigue, stress, alcohol or medication use, or illness;
- Running out of fuel;
- Misuse of technology; or
- Mechanical difficulties.
- Depending on the cause of the accident, several different parties may be at fault and may be held responsible for injuries caused by the accident, including:
- Commercial airlines;
- Air traffic controllers;
- Aircraft designers;
- Aircraft manufacturers;
- Aircraft mechanics;
- Ground crew; and
- Fixed base operators.
If you have been injured in an aircraft accident, you need the services of an experienced lawyer to help you determine the causes of the crash and which parties may be held liable for the harm.
Commercial airline travel is generally very safe, and accidents are rare compared to other forms of travel. But personal flights are often more hazardous. Commercial pilots have many hours of training and experience and fly regularly to maintain the skills they have developed. Recreational pilots, on the other hand, often fly only infrequently. Without regular practice, they lose the skills they have developed.
Often, the pilots of small planes involved in accidents are the family or friends of the victims. But if that is the case, do not let that stop you from pursuing a personal injury claim, as generally, personal injury claims are really claims against insurance policies.
If the negligent pilot in your case was a commercial pilot, you may have a claim against the pilot’s employer. Employers have a responsibility to take appropriate care in hiring, training, and supervising their pilots. If they have been negligent in carrying out this duty, they may also be held liable.
The Federal Aviation Administration licenses pilots and keeps records regarding licensure and certification. It also requires pilots to undergo regular physical examinations to make sure that they do not have any health or physical conditions that would render them unfit to fly.
Frequently, aircraft accidents are caused by mechanical difficulties. Aircraft may be defectively designed, so that even if they are manufactured according to design and flown with appropriate care, flaws in the design cause them to be dangerous. They may also have manufacturing defects, such as incorrectly produced or assembled parts.
If you were injured in an accident caused by a plane or helicopter that had mechanical difficulties, you may have a products liability claim. The claim may be against the designer of the aircraft, or may be against the manufacturer of the parts or equipment.
Aircraft accidents may also be caused by negligent maintenance. Owners of aircraft may not conduct regular inspections and maintenance, or mechanics who work on planes and other aircraft may have been negligent in their repairs. Additionally, pilots have the responsibility, before takeoff, to inspect their planes and ensure that they are in flying condition. Failure to do this may lead to a negligence claim.
A commercial airline or charter company may also be held liable for maintenance problems. Airlines have the responsibility to inspect their aircraft regularly and to ensure that their mechanics and pilots are doing their jobs correctly. If the airline did not properly supervise a negligent maintenance crew, the airline may also be held responsible.
To successfully litigate your aviation accident case, your legal team must investigate to determine the causes of the accident and to determine whom to assign liability. Large aircraft have black boxes to record what happens in the aircraft in the minutes before an accident. Problems with smaller aircraft, though, are more difficult to diagnose, and an investigator and experts must work hard to determine the causes of a crash. Any aviation investigation takes time and resources to investigate, and our legal team is prepared and experienced in these types of investigations.
Some of the Most Tragic Airline Crashes in World History
Most airline and small plane crashes do not involve large numbers of fatalities. Travel by air is generally very safe, especially with advancements in technology and stricter standards of maintenance between flights. Even when accidents do occur, only six percent of commercial airline crashes in 2015 involved fatalities, according to the International Air Transport Association. Even small private plane crashes have a very similar ratio of miles flown to fatal accidents as cars do per mile driven. However, when things do go very wrong, hundreds may lose their lives in a matter of seconds. Listed below are some of the most tragic airline accidents in history, as described by CNN.com, excluding the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.
- 1974: A Turkish Airlines DC-10 crashed into a park in Ermenonville, France just after takeoff due to a sudden decompression malfunction. 346 people were killed;
- 1977: A Pan American World Airways Boeing 747 was hit by a KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Boeing 747 while still on the runway in the Canary Islands. 574 people were killed;
- 1979: 275 people were killed when an Air New Zealand DC-10 had a navigational malfunction and crashed into Mt. Erebus, Antarctica;
- 1985: 520 people were killed in Japan when a Japan Airlines Boeing 747 crashed soon after takeoff. While four survived, it was the single most deadly aviation accident involving just one aircraft;
- 1996: 349 people were killed when a Saudi Arabian Airlines Boeing 747 impacted mid-air with a Kazakhstan Airlines II-76 over the New Delhi airport;
- 1997: There were 26 miraculous survivors of Flight 801, a Boeing 747, that crashed into the jungle floor while heading to Guam. 228 were killed.
- 1997: An electrical short circuit most likely caused the Airbus A300 Garuda Indonesia Flight 152 to crash in Buah Nabar, Indonesia. 234 people were killed.
- 1998: A loss of all electrical power aboard Flight 111 of a Swissair MD-111 jet caused a crash off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada, that left 229 people dead.
- 2001: The most fatal single-plane crash in U.S. history is that of American Airlines Flight 587 in Belle Harbor, Queens. 260 were killed, plus five more that were on the ground at the time of the crash.
- 2002: China Airlines’ Flight 611 was so worn out that metal fatiguing and cracking of the Boeing 747 caused a crash that took the lives of 225 people.
- 2014: Malaysia Airlines Flight MH37 crashed into the ocean between its departure and destination sites of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Beijing, China. 239 were killed and the cause of the crash is still unknown.
If you were involved in a commercial airline accident, you may likely be able to file a personal injury lawsuit or seek settlement out of court. Or, if a family member lost their life, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. In both cases, it is best to go with an experienced aviation accident lawyer that has the strongest of legal teams behind them.
National Transportation Safety Board
After any civil aviation accident in the United States, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) conducts an investigation into the likely causes of the crash. It also investigates crashes occurring in other countries but involving aircraft registered in the U.S. or aircraft or parts manufactured in the country. The NTSB investigates about 2,000 incidents per year, and makes a report and safety recommendations in each case. These reports on the causes of the accidents can be useful in personal injury lawsuits.
If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed in an aircraft accident, several types of compensation may be available to you. You may be entitled to compensation for financial losses and expenses associated with your injuries, such as medical bills, lost wages, and compensation for property damage. You may also receive compensation for intangible losses, such as pain and suffering, disfigurement, and loss of enjoyment of life.
In the event of a wrongful death suit, the victim’s surviving family may be able to recover, in addition to financial losses, compensation for the loss of a loved one. This can include damages for loss of society, companionship, support, and consortium. A family may also be able to recover funeral expenses.
Contact Our Florida Plane Accident Lawyers Today
If you have been injured in an aviation accident, you need an experienced and dedicated legal team to ensure that you receive the compensation to which you are entitled. Please call a Florida aviation and plane crash lawyer at the Pendas Law Firm for a free initial consultation in Orlando, Tampa, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, or Miami.