Injured in a Privately-Owned Airplane?
Call Our Nationally Recognized Private Plane Accident Lawyers
Accident rates for the commercial airline industry are, fortunately, at an all-time low. However, accident rates for the general aviation industry (private planes) have remained relatively consistent. While many assume that privately-owned planes are safer than commercial flights, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reports that 64% of general aviation accidents involve personal flights in fixed-wing airplanes. The likelihood of suffering a serious personal injury or being fatally injured in a privately-owned plane is higher than other modes of aviation transportation. If you or a loved one were seriously injured in a plane crash, then you should retain the services of an attorney with aviation litigation experience.
At Colson Hicks Eidson, our attorneys are knowledgeable about aviation laws and have decades of courtroom experience. It is important to have legal representation that can examine all aspects of your case and conduct a thorough examination of the accident scene. Our attorneys know what to look for and will identify the parties responsible for your accident. We have successfully tried product liability claims linked to airplane accidents. Our private plane accident lawyers have the ability to create a successful legal strategy and provide results in the form of a financial settlement or awarded damages.
Who May Be Liable for a Private Plane Crash?
While the causes of private plane crashes can vary, the most frequently cited causes are pilot error, faulty equipment and a violation of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations. The NTSB investigates every aviation accident in the United States. They are responsible for publishing accident reports and identifying ways to improve aviation safety. By determining the causes of a plane crash, your attorney can identify who is potentially liable for your injuries. Liable parties for a private plane crash include:
- Aircraft owner/operator. There is a high standard of care that aircraft owners and operators must uphold. If negligence can be proven, then the owner could be held liable for damages suffered by injured passengers. If the owner was not piloting the plane, then he or she could be held liable under a legal theory called “vicarious liability.”
- Aircraft manufacturer. If you can prove that your injuries resulted from a defect in the aircraft, then the manufacturer of the aircraft can be held liable. However, it is important to know that the General Aviation Revitalization Act of 1994 (GARA) helps shield manufacturers of aircraft carrying less than twenty passengers from liability for most crashes where aircraft parts are eighteen years or older at the time of the accident. Not all plane crashes are covered under this legislation though, so you should always have a private plane accident lawyer investigate the matter.
- Both the aircraft owner/operator and manufacturer. In certain cases, both the aircraft owner/operator and manufacturer can be held liable for a private plane crash. When this happens, comparative fault is used to decide how much liability to assign to each defendant. With civil lawsuits after a plane accident, most states use comparative fault to determine liability between two or more parties.
Can I File a Wrongful Death Claim If I Lost a Loved One in a Private Plane Crash?
Although a passenger can file a personal injury claim after an airplane accident, there are instances where fatalities occur and families are devastated. In these circumstances, a close relative may wonder about his or her legal options. In order to file a wrongful death claim after a private plane crash, you must be the child, spouse or parent of the deceased. You can also file a wrongful death claim if you are a blood relative or adoptive sibling, providing that you can show the court proof of your financial dependence on the deceased.
When deciding to file a wrongful death claim, there are important details to consider that could impact the success of your case. For example, there is a two-year statute of limitations placed on filing a wrongful death claim in Florida. Each state has its own statute of limitations, however. This is significant for private plane crash victims, due to the backlog of aviation investigations at the NTSB. Often times, it can take the NTSB several years to finish an accident investigation, resulting in you missing out on key information about your case. If you want to file a wrongful death claim after a private plane crash, then you must consult with an aviation attorney who has experience working within the system and can get you the best information possible.
Questions? Call Our National Private Plane Accident Lawyers Now
Even though the accident rate for private planes is small, they still make up a significant majority of general aviation accidents. The laws governing private plane crashes vary from laws governing commercial flights. Our private plane accident lawyers will explain the differences between private and commercial aviation law and provide you with excellent legal services.
If you or a loved one were injured or fatally wounded after a private airplane accident, then you should contact Colson Hicks Eidson today at (305) 476-7400 and schedule a meeting. You can also contact us online and tell us about your case. We will review the merits of your case and respond to any inquiries you may have.