Although commercial flying is statistically the safest form of travel, there are still thousands of plane crashes and hundreds of deaths every year in the United States. Many accidents involving private aircraft go unnoticed because they are not heavily reported in the media. When an airplane accident does occur, the results are usually catastrophic and often fatal.
Personal injury or wrongful death claims resulting from aviation accidents are generally controlled by the legal theories of negligence and product liability, but air safety is also subject to the rulings of two federal agencies. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is primarily responsible for the advancement, safety, and regulation of civil aviation. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigates civil aviation accidents, determines probable cause, and issues safety recommendations aimed at preventing future accidents.
The most common causes of aviation accidents include:
- Pilot error
- Other human error
- Mechanical failure
- Structural or design problems
The potential defendants in a plane crash lawsuit vary depending on the cause of the accident. The owner, manufacturer, and operator of the aircraft, the company responsible for maintaining the aircraft, and even the federal government may bear some responsibility for an aviation accident.
Claims for damages suffered as a result of an aviation accident are also complicated and may include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages and future earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Punitive damages
Due to all of the above factors, aviation accident lawsuits are extremely complex. At Davis, Bethune & Jones, we have experience handling every type of aviation lawsuit, including both fixed-wing and helicopter accidents. In one recent case, we won a verdict of $21 million from a St. Louis jury for two U.S. Army reservists who died when their helicopter crashed after hitting unmarked power lines. If you have been involved in an aviation accident, please call Davis, Bethune & Jones today at 1-800-875-5972 for a free consultation.