Legal Information for Passengers and People Involved in Airplane Related Accidents or Crashes
Learn what legal options are available to passengers and people that are injured in airplane and flight related accidents
What Are Airplane Aviation Accidents and Injuries?
An plane crash can happen quickly and unexpectedly. Airplane aviation accidents often occur when pilots or safety officials fail to follow flight related guidelines. If you become injured in an airplane crash that was the result of wrongful conduct by the pilot or safety team, you may have some legal options to explore. Whether your aircraft injury took place in Utah county, Washington county, Salt Lake county or surrounding areas, a plane crash attorney may be able to help you pursue legal action.
When a person is killed or injured in an air disaster, a lawsuit may be filed to pursue financial compensation from the responsible party. Depending on the circumstances of your case, responsible parties for your plane crash may include any airlines involved, the pilot, the person that owns the aircraft, the manufacturer of the aircraft and related products, the person or service responsible for maintaining the aircraft, the government or airport safety officials.
The specifics of your airplane crash case will help determine who has a legal right to file a lawsuit. This will typically include any person that was injured in the accident, the spouse of a person that was injured or killed in the accident, the parent, personal representative or estate of someone killed in a plane accident. Additionally, any person that is deemed to have been in the “zone of danger” at the time of the accident may be able to pursue damages for the emotional harm they ensure a result of the accident. If you are not sure if you have legal grounds to file a suit, an experienced airline attorney can help you figure this out.
In the United States, the spouse of an injured plane crash victim may be able to purse legal action with them for loss of spousal support. The spouse may be entitled to compensation for loss of services, benefits and wages that come from their spouse. Similarly, most states will allow the children and spouse of a wrongful death victim to pursue damages from the responsible party.
Airplane Accidents and Injuries Case Settlements
If your aviation attorney feels you have sufficient evidence that wrongful conduct took place, they may be able to help you pursue a personal injury claim against the airline. Often times, airlines will decide to settle the case rather than dealing with lengthy and potentially expensive court proceedings. In these cases, if the airline accepts liability for the accident, they will work with your airplane accident attorney to negotiate the details of your settlement.
If your aircraft accident lawyer and the airline are unable to come to an agreement, your case may end up in court or mediation. At this point a third party, typically a judge, will determine if the airline is responsible for the accident. If your personal injury claim is successful, your case settlement may include compensation for lost wages, pain & suffering, medical care and much more. If the aviation accident resulted in the death of a loved one, a plane crash attorney may be able to assist you in filing a wrongful death suit. Settlements for wrongful death cases may include money for funeral expenses, final medical bills and other accident related expenditures.
Airplane Accidents and Injuries Legal Fees
You may be wondering how you will afford to pay for the services of an aviation lawyer. Luckily, you may have many options. If your travel was business related, your company may be to provide legal assistance. For most other cases, pursuants in wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits are often charged a “contingent” legal fee. Under this type of payment arrangement, the attorney will not charge their client an hourly rate. Instead, the aviation lawyer’s fees will be a designated percentage of the monies recovered in the lawsuit. Often times, this percentage will vary on a case by case basis. Additionally, your aviation law firm may cover any upfront expenses related to your case. At the conclusion of the case, these monies may be deducted from your settlement. In a contingent payment arrangement, fees are only paid to the attorney if a financial recovery is made.
Airplane Accidents and Injuries Compensation
You may be curious about what type of compensation you may be entitled to. Your plane crash lawyer can give you specific information about this, but generally, you will be compensated for medical care expenses, lost wages, pain & suffering and in some cases even legal fees. In order to receive this compensation, you may be required to provide sufficient evidence that wrongful conduct took place. This could be an error made by the pilot or airline. A faulty product such as a malfunctioning life vest or oxygen mask may also signal a failure to adhere to safety procedures. Depending on the size of the settlement, you may be given the option to receive one large payment or several small payments over a series of years. Often times, electing to receive small payments over a longer period will allow you to get the most out of your settlement.
Airplane Accidents and Injuries Claim Process/ Case Time line
Airplane accident investigations can be very complex. On average, it can take up to several months to get any definitive conclusions about what caused the plane crash. In cases where the airline chooses to settle quickly, the case can be much shorter. For example, in some cases, airlines will decide to settle shortly after the suit is filed. Other times the case may drag on for many months. The average length of time to reach a final resolution in an airplane crash case is about two years.
During the time that the case is under investigation, it should not require much of your time. Your aviation attorney will investigate the crash, gather related evidence, perform legal research and then pursue the lawsuit. You may occasionally be asked to provide information to your airplane crash attorney before and during the investigation process. In some cases, you may also be required to provide deposition testimony.
As the case comes to a close, your aviation lawyer will get you involved in the settlement discussions. Although they are advocating on your behalf, your plane crash lawyer will primarily serve as an advisor on any settlement offers. They will provide you with the information you need to determine if a settlement is worth accepting. In the event that the case cannot be settled before trial, you may need to attend and potentially even testify at the trial.
Airplane Accidents and Injuries Need to Know
Except for a few very rare instances, there are set time limits for bringing a lawsuit for aviation accidents. Once this time period has expired, you will lose any legal grounds to purse damages from the party that was responsible for the airline crash. There are several factors, including state laws where the accident took place, that will affect the time limit in your case. Following a recent plane crash, it is critical that you contact an airline lawyer as soon as possible.
Airplane Accidents And Injuries / aviation Laws
While there are various types of legal claims that can result from an airplane crash, the type is often determined by the cause of the crash. Here are some common types of legal claims among plane crash victims:
Negligence. If your plane crash was the result of a pilot error or other human mistake, you may be able to file a negligence claim. This claim will allege that the injuries or death sustained by you or a loved one was a direct result of the carelessness of another pilot. In order to win these claims, the accusers must prove that the defendant was blatantly negligent and that another pilot would have performed differently.
Product liability claims. When faulty equipment or structural problems are believed to be major contributing factors in your plane crash, you may be able to file a product liability claim against the distributor or manufacturer of the faulty part. In order to pursue this claim, you will be required to prove that faulty design or defective product directly caused injury or death to people involved in the plane crash.
Federal Tort Claims Act. The Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) sets forth strict rules related to air traffic control in the United States. When the negligence of an FAA employee results in aviation accident, injured parties are required to sue under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). The FTCA establishes specific rules and guidelines that must be adhered to while pursuing damages from an employee of the federal government.
If you are injured in an airplane accident, the law may be on your side. Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to see what options may be available to you.