Airline Accident Lawsuits
By Mike Stetzer
Airline accidents are relatively rare. The odds of being involved in an airline accident with at least one fatality on one of the top 25 airlines are about one in 5.4 million.
Plane accidents, however, do occur. And when they do, they often result in serious injuries or death. After an accident, injured passengers or the families of people who passed away may be able to file a lawsuit for compensation.
Possible causes of airplane accidents that may lead to an airline lawsuit include pilot error, faulty equipment, or mistakes by air traffic controllers or other planes.
When considering filing a lawsuit after a plane crash, victims and their families often have two questions on their minds: Can I sue? And, if so, who can I file a claim against?
Who Can You Sue if You've Been Injured in a Plane Crash?
If you have lost a loved one in an airplane accident, or you have been injured in an air-related incident, you may be wondering who you can sue.
The people against whom you may file a lawsuit vary case by case, but listed below are some possible targets for an airline accident lawsuit:
- Pilots. If the crash was due to pilot error, the pilot may be liable for legal damages, especially if he or she does not work for a major carrier and operates independently.
- Airline companies. Even if a crash wasn’t directly a company’s fault, they may still be held responsible for negligence. Possible theories in a negligence case might focus on an airline’s failure to properly train pilots or creation of corporate rules that threatened passenger safety, such as flying with too little fuel.
- Manufacturers. Airplanes are incredibly complex machines. If one faulty part leads to an accident, the aircraft’s builder may be liable.
- The government. If the crash was caused by negligent air traffic controllers or flawed weather services, the government may be legally responsible, as well.
Who Can File an Airline Accident Lawsuit?
People who might be eligible to seek a settlement by filing an airplane accident lawsuit may include:
- Injured passengers
- Spouse of an injured passenger
- Close family members of a deceased passenger
- Persons in the "zone of danger" of the accident
In addition, some circumstances may allow the representative of a deceased person’s estate to file an airline accident claim. The laws governing airplane accident claims vary widely by state. As a result, many people seek further information from local attorneys.
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