Although air travel has long been considered to be safe, when accidents do occur, they often result in a large number of fatalities. As the amount of air traffic increases, so does the likelihood of passengers becoming involved in an aviation accident.

Causes of Aviation Accidents

  • Pilot error
  • Faulty equipment
  • Improper maintenance
  • Design error
  • Violation of FAA regulations
General aviation law covers accidents involving major air carriers, small planes, charter flights, business jets, pleasure crafts, helicopters and hang gliders.

How to Bring a Claim

In order to bring a successful aviation injury claim, the plaintiff must show that the person responsible failed to meet the industry standard that is applicable to operating the aircraft. Generally, aviation injuries are brought under legal claims of negligence or product liability. Negligence means that the person responsible for the injury failed to act according to the industry standard of care. Product liability is an area of law that holds manufacturers, suppliers and distributors liable for any injuries that their products cause due to a manufacturing or a design defect. The owner and operator of the aircraft may be liable if it is determined that the injuries were caused by human error. If engineering, design or mechanical failure caused the incident, then the product manufacturer may be liable.

What Is a Standard of Care?

Aircraft operators are held to a high standard of care that they owe to others. If a plaintiff can prove that the aircraft operator was careless or reckless when operating the aircraft, then the operator will be held liable for the damages suffered by those injured. Injured parties may include passengers, people on the ground, or even the pilot. If the aircraft owner was not operating the aircraft at the time of the accident, the owner still may be liable for damages. Commercial airlines are held to a stricter standard of care than are private carriers. The Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) is the federal agency that is responsible for regulating commercial airlines. An aircraft manufacturer may also be held liable if the injured party can show that his or her injuries were caused due to a defect in the aircraft or one of its components.

What can I recover?

Aviation injuries are covered under personal injury law, and a person who has been injured due to an aviation accident may be able to recover damages for his or her injuries. Typically, recoverable damages include:
  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Past and future pain and suffering
  • Punitive damages
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of consortium
If you have been injured in an aviation accident, or someone close to you has been killed in a plane crash, you need to have an attorney who is experienced with aviation law. Seidensticker and San Filippo understand the devastating impact that aviation accidents can have on victims and their families. We will discuss your case with you compassionately and professionally, keeping you informed about the case status every step of the way. We are also available to answer any questions that you may have about your case and damages that you may be able to recover. Contact us today for a consultation.