Have You Been in An Aviation Accident or Crash?
Being involved in an aviation accident can be a terrifying experience. Even when these accidents occur on or near the ground (as is typically the case – mid-flight disasters are extremely rare), they can result in severe physical injuries and lasting emotional trauma.
Do you know the most common cause of aviation accidents? Is it terror attacks? Mechanical failure? Many people are surprised – and alarmed – to learn that more than 60 percent of all aviation accidents are the result of human error. In fact, more than half of all aviation accidents are attributable to errors in the cockpit, and approximately one in 10 aviation accidents result from an air traffic control, airport, or airline personnel mistake on the ground.
Hire An Experienced Aviation Accident Attorney in Florida
At Rue & Ziffra Law Offices, we provide experienced and aggressive legal representation for victims of aviation accidents in the state of Florida. With multiple office locations in Volusia and Flagler Counties, we have decades of experience fighting for individuals and families who have suffered tragic losses in aviation accidents. With our proven trial experience and deep knowledge of federal aviation law, we are able to fully represent our clients’ best interests in litigation against large corporate entities and government agencies, and we are passionate about fighting to make sure each client receives the full financial compensation he or she deserves.
Airplane accident cases are unique in a variety of different ways. From the investigative process to the federal laws involved, getting to the bottom of what happened and holding the appropriate parties accountable requires a thorough understanding of the engineering, scientific, and legal principles at play. Our team of attorneys has successfully handled numerous aviation accident cases over the past 40-plus years, and we will fight for you, too.
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Common Factors in Aviation Accidents
With the extreme size and complexity of commercial aircraft and our country’s aviation system, it only takes one minor mistake to cause a lifetime of pain and suffering. While some plane crashes result from major and obvious failures, more often, it is simple oversights and lapses in judgment that lead to serious and fatal aviation accidents. Let’s look at some of the most-common factors in aviation accidents.
Pilot error is by far the leading cause of aviation accidents. Novice and seasoned pilots alike can make mistakes with devastating consequences. This is seen by examining the pilot’s actions immediately prior to the accident when a plane crashes or collides with another object. Such examination will most often reveal the factors involved in the crash.
Air Traffic Control Negligence
Air traffic control plays a critical role in aviation safety. Air traffic controllers must undergo extensive training and follow a detailed set of rules and regulations; and when they make mistakes, their employers can be held fully-accountable.
Flight Service Negligence
Failure to properly fuel aircraft, failure to conduct mandatory inspections, failure to perform maintenance and repairs, and other forms of flight service negligence are all potential causes of aviation accidents.
Despite the comprehensive maintenance requirements and pre-flight inspections required under federal aviation regulations, engine failure remains a common cause of aviation accidents. In most cases, engine failures can be avoided with proper care – and when they occur, victims deserve to recover their injury-related losses.
Faulty Equipment and Mechanical Failure
Along with engine failures, various other mechanical failures can also lead to aviation accidents. From dangerous and defective airplane components to inadequate aircraft maintenance, there are numerous different types of mechanical issues that can lead to dangerous malfunctions.
Defective Landing Gear
One particular type of mechanical failure that has been known to cause aviation accidents is the failure of a plane’s landing gear. Design and manufacturing defects, inadequate maintenance, and failure to perform necessary repairs can all lead to landing gear failure – which can have devastating results.
Taxi and Preflight Accidents
Almost a quarter of all commercial aviation accidents occur during preflight taxi and takeoff. When an airplane crashes or stops abruptly, passengers can suffer traumatic injuries from impacting the seats in front of them, being hit by loose objects, and colliding with other passengers.
Alcohol or Drug Impairment
Despite knowing that they can put others’ lives at risk, pilots, air traffic controllers, grounds crew, and other aviation workers perform their jobs under the influence of alcohol, sleep medications, and other drugs with alarming frequency.
Approximately 10 percent of all aviation accidents are weather-related. While inclement weather may explain why an accident occurred, it is not an excuse for an airline, pilot, or anyone else to put passengers in harm’s way.
Q: What federal agencies are responsible for aviation safety and investigating aviation accidents?
The two federal agencies that hold primary responsibility for ensuring the safety of airline passengers are the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The FAA oversees the aviation industry and is responsible for ensuring that all commercial aircraft comply with the federal aviation safety regulations. The NTSB investigates all aviation accidents in the United States, often working closely with the FAA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Q: Who can passengers sue for serious and fatal injuries resulting from aviation accidents?
Determining who to sue after an aviation accident requires a thorough investigation to determine the cause of the crash. Depending upon the factor (or factors) involved, passengers and their families may have one or more legal claims against:
- The airline
- The pilot
- The airplane manufacturer (or a component manufacturer)
- The air traffic controller
- The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
Q: What do airline passengers need to know about the General Aviation Revitalization Act of 1994 (GARA)?
The General Aviation Revitalization Act of 1994 (GARA) is a federal law that Congress enacted in order to protect aircraft manufacturers against liability for many types of aviation accidents. But, while GARA provides broad protections for manufacturers, its protections are not absolute. For example, GARA does not apply to all types of aircraft, and it includes specific exceptions for cases involving fraud, medical emergencies, written warranties, and certain other special factors.
Q: What do airline passengers need to know about the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA)?
If your accident was the result of a failure by air traffic control, you may need to file a claim against the FAA. While citizens can sue government agencies for personal injuries and wrongful death, claims against the government are subject to certain restrictions under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). If you believe that you may have a claim against the FAA (or if you are unsure and need legal advice), it is important that you choose a law firm with specific experience handling claims under the FTCA.
Q: What types of compensation are available to victims of aviation accidents?
The types of compensation available to victims of aviation accidents are generally the same as those available in other types of personal injury and wrongful death claims. In the case of a non-fatal accident, this includes:
- Medical expenses (past and future)
- Lost wages
- Lost future earning capacity
- Pain, suffering, and emotional distress
- Loss of consortium and association
- Punitive damages
Under Florida’s wrongful death statute, the decedent’s personal representative and certain family members can seek financial compensation for their loved one’s medical expenses, their own loss of financial support, and certain other types of losses.
Rue & Ziffra Law Offices | Experienced Florida Aviation Accident Attorneys
Our firm is dedicated to representing aviation accident victims and their families. If you have been injured or lost a loved one in an airplane crash, our aviation accident attorney can make sure you and your family receive the compensation you deserve. To learn more about your rights in a free and confidential consultation, please call (386) 788-7700 or tell us about your case online today.