Who is Responsible When an Airplane Crashes?

Posted on behalf of Phillips Law Group on Aug 15, 2014 in Personal Injury

Commercial airline disasters are always headline news. Though they may command worldwide attention, commercial plane crashes are exceedingly rare.

While large plane crashes are the most newsworthy, smaller, private planes are far more dangerous. In 2013, there were 1,199 crashes involving private airplanes and helicopters, which killed 347 people and injured 571 others.

When a plane crashes, who is responsible? Who will be left to compensate the families of those injured or killed? The answer: it depends.

Commercial Airline Disasters

When a commercial airliner goes down, families will almost always be able to recover compensation from the airline and its insurance carrier. This will mostly like be the case whether the crash was due to pilot error, a malfunction in the plane itself, or an act of God, such as lightning in a storm.

Even when the airline would not normally be responsible for an accident, such as when the plane is shot down by terrorists or suffers some other unforeseen event, it usually makes better business sense for an airline to settle claims based on the accident rather than fight them in court.

Private Airplane and Helicopter Crashes

Legal responsibility for a private airplane or helicopter crash is normally more complicated than it is for a commercial accident. Unlike large airlines, who have a business interest in settling cases quickly and without litigation, the liability for small craft accidents can be much more contentious.

First, most airplane accidents are caused by pilot error. Negligence on the part of the pilot can mean that the pilot is personally responsible for any injuries or damages caused. Most pilots protect themselves financially by purchasing insurance, much like drivers with auto insurance. Damages caused by the pilots negligence are usually taken out of this insurance.

Next, the plane or helicopters owner may be responsible for damages, if the person or company failed to maintain the plane, or negligently hired a pilot who caused an accident. Like pilots, many companies and plane owners will also purchase insurance, especially if their aircrafts are rented out to the public.

Finally, the planes manufacturer or the aircrafts maintenance crew may be responsible if there were manufacturing or repair issues which caused the accident.

Contact Phillips Law Group Today

In a large scale commercial airplane accident, the National Transportation Safety Board will conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of an accident. With smaller aircraft however, their investigation is much less complete, and many victims or their families are left to investigate the causes of an accident themselves.

Hiring a personal injury firm with experience in aviation accidents, like the Phillips Law Group, will ensure that you find out the actual cause of a plane crash and can seek compensation against all responsible parties.

If you or someone you love has been injured in an aviation accident, call (800) 706-3000 to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney today. Phillips Law Group will work to secure justice for you after an aviation accident.

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