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Determining Liability In Aviation Crashes

May 25, 2018 |

Airplane crashes cause injuries, loss of life and damage to property that can be both life-altering and devastating. And when a crash occurs, there is one question on the minds of those who have been injured and survivors: Who is to blame?

Any party whose negligent actions either cause or contribute to a plane crash can be held legally liable for the accident. Numerous parties normally share in that responsibility, including:

  • The pilot when a pilot error occurs
  • The owner or plane operator
  • The plane manufacturer
  • Maintenance companies and parts providers
  • The employee responsible for the plane’s gas
  • The Federal government if a federal employee’s actions caused the crash

Weather and Mechanical Failure Can Also Play a Factor in Plane Crashes

Legally speaking, it is important to know who is at fault when a plane crashes in order to determine who is responsible for the damages that have occurred. While approximately 80 percent of plane crashes do not involve loss of life, 20 percent do.

The law permits family members of those who have been killed to file a wrongful death lawsuit to recover damages that have occurred as the result of their loved one’s death. Survivors are legally entitled to obtain compensation for their loved one’s loss wages and financial support; funeral costs; and their own emotional pain and suffering.

Assigning liability following a plane crash can be a difficult and drawn-out legal affair that requires an often lengthy and complicated investigatory process.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigates every single airplane crash that happens in the United States. Those investigations normally determine what caused the accident.

Airlines can be held liable for a crash when investigators determine that pilot error or improper maintenance caused the plane to go down. Both airlines and individual pilots have what is known as a heightened duty of care to keep their passengers safe from harm.

Airlines are also known as common carriers and are often easier to sue than otherwise might be the case. Liability as the result of a plane crash occurs when it can be proven that a breach in the duty of care occurred and that it caused the accident.

If you or a loved one have been injured or killed as a result of an airplane crash, call the experienced Milwaukee aviation accident attorneys at Cannon and Dunphy.

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