Although airplane travel is relatively safe, accidents do happen. After a plane crash in which you are hurt, or you lose a loved one, you should retain your own investigator to determine who was at fault. Potentially responsible parties include pilots, airlines, airplane or parts manufacturers, and air traffic controllers. In some cases, an aviation accident does not involve a plane but instead skydiving or helicopters. What is common to all of them is the possibility of serious injury or loss of life.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will investigate the causes of both commercial and noncommercial aircraft accidents. The opinions provided by the NTSB are not admissible in court, however, so your attorney will still need to conduct an investigation into the cause of the accident. Some possible causes of an accident include improper maintenance pilot error or defective aircraft design.
If the cause of an aviation accident is negligence, you may be able to pursue compensation by establishing the defendant’s duty of care, a breach of duty, actual and proximate causation, and actual damages. It is important to retain an attorney who understands all the applicable air transportation laws. For example, the FAA has regulations that govern commercial operators' certification and actions in operating air carriers.
There is also an aeronautics code that governs aircraft, airports, airmen, and air instruction in Michigan. For example, under Section 259.80, someone cannot operate an aircraft that does not meet the airworthiness requirements of the United States or a foreign country, and someone cannot knowingly allow an aircraft to be operated that violates the operating limitations provided by the United States or a foreign country. However, an aircraft can obtain a waiver from the appropriate federal authority. In some cases, a violation of an air transportation law can provide a standard for a breach of duty.
Defective design or defective manufacturing may be to blame for an aviation accident. A particular part or component may not have been designed appropriately or may have been manufactured incorrectly. In many cases, it is necessary to retain experts to prove the defect in the component was the cause of the accident. Some potentially responsible parties in a product liability case include the manufacturer of the airplane, the manufacturer of component parts, or the party that sold the airplane to an airline or another owner.
If you or a loved one has suffered injury or death as a result of an accident involving an aircraft, contact the experienced aviation accident attorneys at Neumann Law Group for a free consultation.