Airplane Crash Lawsuits are more common than you think. Many people have fears of dying or being injured in plane crashes. Some people visualize aviation accidents as something to fear when they take commercial flights. However, commercial aviation accidents are relatively rare. According to preliminary statistics for 2017, which is the most recent year for which data is available, the National Transportation Safety Board reports that scheduled commercial flights had an accident rate of 0.16 per 100,000 air miles traveled while non-scheduled commercial flights had an accident rate of 0.14. There were no reported fatalities from commercial airline scheduled and non-scheduled flights in 2017, and there were 29 scheduled flight accidents and 2 non-scheduled flight accidents. By contrast, the rate and number of general aviation accidents were much higher in 2017. The National Transportation Safety Board reports that there were 1,233 accidents during 2017 with an accident rate of 5.67 per 100,000 air miles traveled. This means that people are much likelier to be involved in small aircraft crashes than commercial airline accidents. When people are injured or killed in a small plane accident, the victims or their family members need to talk to an aviation accident attorney at The Lovely Law Firm as soon as possible.
Small aircraft crashes are the most common type of aviation accidents
General aviation includes private planes and helicopters that are flown for purposes other than to carry passengers on commercial flights. While people might fear flying in commercial airliners, crashes involving small planes are the most common type as demonstrated by the statistics from the National Transportation Safety Board. By looking at the total number of general aviation accidents that occurred in 2017, it is possible to see that an average of 3.3 general aviation crashes happened every day.
While most people learn about airplane crashes that involve large commercial airliners, the vast majority of aviation accidents do not happen during commercial flights. General aviation accidents involving small planes and helicopters make up a large majority of aviation accidents that occur each year. In 2017, 203 out of the 1,233 general aviation accidents that occurred were fatal crashes that caused the deaths of 330 people, all of whom were on board the aircraft at the time.
The devastation that results from aviation accidents is nearly unimaginable. When a person has been seriously injured or killed in an airplane crash, the responsible party or parties should be held accountable for their negligence. In many cases, airplane crashes result from multiple causes, meaning that more than one party or entity may hold liability. Identifying all of the potentially liable parties in a small aircraft or helicopter crash is crucial for recovering damages that will compensate the victims or the families for their losses.
Common causes of crashes involving small planes
Small planes and helicopters can crash for numerous reasons. Some of the most common causes of general aviation crashes include the following:
- Pilot error
- Lack of training
- Landing at small airports with fewer facilities and poor-condition runways
- Running out of fuel
- Wildlife strikes
- Flying into inclement weather without adequate training
- Defective components
- Poorly designed planes
- Negligent maintenance
- Failure to control air traffic
In a 2014 study, USA Today found numerous instances of defective airplane parts and design problems in small airplane crashes that were blamed on pilot error. The investigation found that manufacturers have paid hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements that were not required to be reported to regulators and engaged in other efforts to cover up the defects and design problems.
Claims against the FAA may be brought when the air traffic controllers at the airport fail to properly monitor and control the aircraft. This can cause general aviation collisions during take-offs and landings. Some of these collisions may happen on the runway when a pilot is directed to the wrong one and collides with another airplane.
Securing compensation for general aviation accidents
Airplane crashes may have multiple contributing factors, making the claims more complex. The first step that people should take is to file a report with the NTSB. People are required to report aviation accidents immediately after they occur under federal regulations.
If a claim will be filed against the FAA, the lawsuit will fall under the Federal Torts Claim Act. Under this law, a lawsuit may not be filed against the Federal Aviation Administration until after an administrative tort claim has been filed with the agency.
Certain federal guidelines may make it more difficult to recover damages after a small aircraft accident. For example, the General Aviation Revitalization Act gives immunity to manufacturers for product liability claims when an airplane is older than 18 years. Working with an experienced general aviation accident attorney might help you to recover compensation to pay for your losses.
To recover damages in a general aviation accident, all stages of litigation must receive careful attention. Crashes involving private planes may require substantial attention to detail to uncover the causes of the accidents.
People who are considering filing a lawsuit in South Carolina that is related to a general aviation accident should contact an experienced aviation accident lawyer. The knowledge that an experienced lawyer possesses is invaluable during the litigation process.
The attorneys at The Lovely Law Firm can help you with cases involving aviation accidents. While the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board have engaged in efforts to improve passenger safety, general aviation accidents continue to occur at an alarming rate. These crashes are difficult to prove, making it critical for you to consult with a lawyer who has the resources and experience needed to conduct a thorough investigation and to hold the pilots, companies, and agencies that are at fault accountable.
Small planes in South Carolina pose some of the most difficult litigation issues. Many private planes are older than 18 years, providing immunity to the manufacturers of defective parts. Insurance coverage can sometimes be a problem. In some cases, the pilot will have more liability coverage on a personal car than on the helicopter or airplane that crashed. Some pilots may not have any liability insurance. Aircraft mechanics may also have limited insurance coverage. Our attorneys will work to uncover all of the liable parties and the potential sources of recovery to help you to receive the compensation to which you should be entitled. To learn about your options and your potential claim, contact The Lovely Law firm today by calling us at 843.839.4111.