Airplane Crash Law and Information

Airplane crashes and all aviation accidents cause significant injuries and death. These are serious matters.

If you suffered injuries in an aircraft accident, or if you lost a loved one in a crash, there are several different potential sources of liability and compensation. Air crashes are very complicated cases. There is a lot for you to do to get this right. You will benefit from reading the information on this page. Good information helps you make smart decisions.

Types of Aviation Accidents

It if flies, it can crash – never with a good result. An aviation crash can occur in many different contexts.

  • Major commercial airline travel
  • Air ambulance services
  • Aerial firefighting
  • Search and rescue operations
  • Flight instruction
  • Gliders / sailplanes
  • Helicopter logging
  • Aerial sightseeing
  • Floatplanes
  • Charter aircraft flights
  • Recreational aviation (sky diving, hang gliding, hot air ballooning)
  • Helicopter skiing
  • Drone accidents
  • Air shows and flying events
  • Movie and TV filming

Causes of Aircraft Crashes

Aviation accidents occur for different reasons. Sometimes there is a single cause. Other times there is a combination of several different causes. The possibilities include:

  • Weather and visibility problems
  • Pilot error
  • Air traffic controller error
  • Defective aircraft and aircraft parts
  • Maintenance or repair issues
  • Violations of laws and regulations

Determining the cause — or causes — of an aviation crash involves complex analysis and evaluation. Finding the cause will significantly assist in the determination of who is liable.

Liability for Aviation Accidents

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulates aviation, including pilot conduct and safety standards. The FAA also regulates aircraft manufacturers. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigates aviation accidents and recommends safety standards to prevent accidents.

Failure to meet regulatory and industry standards may impose liability on an airline, a plane manufacturer, or maintenance supplier. Depending on the circumstances and cause of an accident, several different parties may be liable and legally required to compensate the victims:

  • Aircraft manufacturer
  • Maintenance companies
  • Parts suppliers
  • Airline
  • Pilot
  • Event sponsor for recreational events
  • Federal government

In an aviation accident, issues of federal, state, and even international law can arise. Determining which laws apply and which parties may be liable requires a knowledgeable attorney and substantial investigation.

Compensation for Injuries and Death

Three types of legal actions may apply in the case of an aviation accident. If you receive injuries in a crash, you may have a personal injury case. If you lost a loved one in an accident, compensation may be recovered in a wrongful death action. If the airplane passenger was commuting as part of their job, an L&I claim will be part of the equation. L&I benefit with a death will include a possible widow’s pension. Money recovery is different in the three types of cases.

In a personal injury case, you recover compensation for:

  • Medical and hospital expenses
  • Future medical care and treatment
  • Lost income
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Pain, suffering and inconvenience
  • Permanent injuries or disability

In a wrongful death accident, the estate and beneficiaries can recover only for:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Medical expenses and pain and suffering of the deceased person, if death was not immediate
  • Each individual beneficiary’s own pain and suffering, loss of care, and loss of companionship, and lost future financial support

In an L&I case benefits include:

Should I Talk with a Lawyer?

Injuries from an aviation accident are extreme and severe. The harm and suffering can be life-long and life ending. Negative impacts are not only physical, but also emotional and psychological. Due to the nature and severity of the injuries, compensation for an aviation accident injury can be substantial.

Whether you suffered injuries or lost a loved one, you should not try to settle a claim from an aviation accident without expert advice. Determining the theories of liability and potentially responsible parties requires experience. So does making them pay the full amount you deserve.

In an aircraft accident, there likely will be more than one big insurance company involved. They don’t want to pay you what you deserve. You shouldn’t talk with them if you are going to hire a lawyer. When they contact you, tell them to contact your lawyer.

Whatever the circumstances of your accident, you are entitled to full money recovery for your injury or loss. The best way to get a fair settlement is to have an experienced attorney deal with the insurance companies. If the companies don’t offer a full settlement, your attorney will file a lawsuit.

You don’t have to hire us to discuss your case with us — give a call, there’s no charge to talk. Our consultations are always free.

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Chris Sharpe

Chris Sharpe

Christopher Sharpe is the go to attorney for injured persons. His law firm is helpful, honest, and knowledgeable about workers' compensation and personal injury law in the State of Washington. Chris has been helping injured Washington State workers for over 40 years. He has built his practice on thoroughly educating, honestly helping, and successfully representing workers throughout Washington State.

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