Who is Responsible When an Airplane Crashes?

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If you or a loved one is severely or fatally injured in an airplane crash, who is responsible?

Airplane crash survivors can suffer devastating injuries that could have life-long effects. Husbands, wives, children, parents, and siblings of individuals who are fatally injured in aviation accidents suffer overwhelming emotional and financial losses.

Airplane crashes could be caused by the negligence of individuals or companies. They are often caused by the combined careless and negligent acts of more than one person or entity.  If you need a lawyer to determine who is liable and their involvement in an aviation accident, your legal team must know who to investigate when determining fault. To reach this determination, the conduct of numerous individuals and/or companies must be carefully examined.

  • Pilot – Passengers and their families will look first at the pilot’s conduct. The pilot is the ultimate decision maker when conducting the flight. However, as many pilots know, a pilot or family member may have claims based upon inadequate aircraft maintenance, a manufacturing related defect, or faulty information provided by air traffic controllers or weather specialists.
  • Airplane owner – The aircraft owner is responsible for maintaining the airplane. Very often, a pilot or company might lease the airplane they are flying. Therefore, your attorneys need to track down the airplane owner to verify whether all maintenance and necessary repairs were properly performed.
  • Airplane operator – You may wonder what an “airplane operator” is and how is that different from an “airplane owner?” Qualified aviation attorneys understand this difference, and it is an important one. The airplane operator might be a “middleman,” leasing an airplane from an owner, and who hired someone else to pilot the aircraft. Knowing the relationships between these groups can affect their legal responsibilities, and their duties and responsibilities to the passengers and pilot.
  • Airplane or airplane parts manufacturer – Airplane manufacturers often equip the airplane with parts made by other companies. If the airplane, its engine, or component parts are not designed or manufactured properly, they could fail. In addition, the manufacturing process is a meticulous one. A manufacturer’s lack of care in the design and manufacturing process could contribute to causing an accident.
  • Maintenance / repair facilities – Individuals who repair airplanes must follow specific and detailed instructions. Using improper parts, failing to conduct proper inspections, or failing to perform proper maintenance procedures, have caused accidents. A thorough review of the airplane’s maintenance logs could identify maintenance and repair failures that contributed to causing an accident.
  • Federal government – Air traffic controllers direct and “guide” the pilot through national and international airspace. Weather specialists provide information on severe weather that pilots should avoid. The failure of either to properly perform these duties could place a flight and its passengers in danger and subject the government to liability.

These are complex cases, so people injured in airplane accidents need a qualified aviation attorney to protect their legal rights and aggressively pursue a legal claim on their behalf. Our legal team includes an attorney who is a licensed pilot and adjunct professor at a Chicago law school teaching an aviation product liability course.

If you or someone you love has been injured in an aviation accident, call (630) 585-2320 to speak with an experienced Personal Injury attorney. Woodruff Johnson & Evans Law Offices will work to secure justice for you after an aviation accident. To contact us for a free legal consultation on an aviation accident matter fill in our Contact Form.

Click Aviation Injuries for more information
Click Steven Sandler for more information on the blog’s author.

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