Florida Aviation Accident Lawyer
Aviation accidents cause hundreds of deaths and injuries every year in the United States and around the world. While aviation safety has improved considerably over the years, even the most minor mistakes or misjudgments on the part of the pilot or airline can result in an aviation accident. Aviation accident attorneys can help those who have been injured or have lost a loved one as the result of an aviation accident recover damages for those loses.
Causes of Aviation Accidents
The most common cause of aviation accidents is pilot error. Nearly half of all plane crashes are caused by pilot error, with most occurring during take-off or landing. When pilot error is the cause of an aviation accident, it is typically considered negligence. Pilot errors may include miscalculations that cause the plane to maneuver improperly, failure to respond quickly to mechanical issues, or misjudgments regarding inclement weather.
About 22 percent of aviation accidents are caused by mechanical failure. When mechanical failure affects an airplane or helicopter, it can be very difficult to land the plane safely. While the pilot has a duty to attempt to correct mechanical errors and land the aircraft safely, the responsibility for mechanical failure may rest on the manufacturer of the plane or the airline that failed to properly maintain the plane. In rare cases, mechanical failure may be the result of external factors, such as birds flying into specific areas of the plane that affect function.
Weather can cause aviation accidents to occur while in flight, taking off, or landing. If a runway is not properly cleared of snow, sleet, ice, or rain, the plane may be difficult for the pilot to control during take-off and landing. If lightning strikes a plane or helicopter, electrical systems may fail and cause the aircraft to crash. Lightning may also ignite the fuel and cause the plane or helicopter to catch on fire or explode.
Only about nine percent of aviation accidents are caused by acts of sabotage, but these types of accidents can result in more damage and loss of life than other aviation accident causes. Most acts of sabotage are carried out by terrorists or extremists, most notably the September eleventh terrorist attacks. In some cases, however, mentally ill passengers have injured passengers and caused aviation accidents.
Air traffic controllers are human and can make mistakes that cause planes or helicopters to fly into obstacles such as mountains or to collide with other aircraft. Improperly fueling planes or loading planes above weight capacity can also cause aviation accidents. Failure to maintain the plane can be considered a human error that caused mechanical failure.
Aviation Accident Investigations
Aviation accidents that occur in the United States or that involve a U.S. aircraft are investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board. There may be additional investigations conducted by federal, state, and local investigators, depending on the details of the accident. Aviation accident attorneys will carefully review the reports provided by these investigators and may investigate further if the reports fail to satisfactorily explain the cause of the accident.
Aviation Accident Claims
When pursuing an aviation accident claim, attorneys will compile all available evidence, including “black box” voice recording recovered from the aircraft, documentation from air traffic control, records regarding crew hiring and training, and aircraft maintenance records. Based on this documentation, aviation accident attorneys will determine who is liable for the accident. If necessary, experts may be consulted regarding plane manufacture and operation. These experts may be called upon to testify during the legal proceedings.
Aviation Accident Compensation
In many cases, airlines will offer aviation accident victims or the family members of victims an initial settlement that is inadequate. Aviation accident attorneys are experienced in reviewing these types of offers and can help victims negotiate better terms. If an agreement is unable to be reached, aviation accident attorneys will represent victims during a lawsuit. Successful lawsuits may help victims attain compensation for medical costs and pain and suffering. If victims have perished due to aviation accidents, loved ones may seek compensation for the loss of companionship and loss of additional income.
“Aviation Accident Reports.” National Transportation Safety Board. National Transportation Safety Board, 9 Sept. 2014. Web. 30 Oct. 2014. <http://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/reports_aviation.html>
“Causes of Fatal Accidents by Decade.” Plane Crash Info. PlaneCrashInfo.com, 1 Jan. 2014. Web. 30 Oct. 2014. <http://www.planecrashinfo.com/cause.htm>
“Immunity Policies.” Aviation Safety Reporting Program. NASA. Web. 30 Oct. 2014. <http://asrs.arc.nasa.gov/overview/immunity.html>
“Latest Safety Occurences.” Aviation Safety Network. Flight Safety Foundation, 30 Oct. 2014. Web. 30 Oct. 2014. <https://www.ntsb.gov/data/monthly/curr_mo.TXT>