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Airline Accidents FAQ

Who is legally responsible for an airline accident?

It varies depending on the cause of the accident. The owner and operator of the aircraft may be liable. Also, manufacturers or maintenance suppliers may be liable in certain circumstances.


What is the NTSB?

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged with investigating every civil aviation accident in the United States. Its authority also includes trains and other vehicular accidents. The NTSB issues safety recommendations aimed at preventing future accidents. The NTSB maintains the governments database on civil aviation accidents and conducts special studies of transportation safety issues of national significance. The NTSB also provides investigators to serve as U.S. representatives in aviation accidents overseas involving the United States. U.S. involvement includes a U.S. registered aircraft, major components of U.S. manufacturers or where requested by foreign governments.


What is the FAA?

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is an agency of the U.S. government with primary responsibility for the safety of civil aviation. It is separate from, and independent of, the NTSB.


What role does the FBI play in the investigation of an aviation accident?

The FBIs role is to investigate the possibility of sabotage or some other criminal act that may have contributed to an accident. Though the FBI is consulted in many aviation disasters, they take over jurisdiction only in rare cases where criminal acts form the reason for the accident.


What agencies are involved in the investigation of aviation accidents?

Most accident investigations are a joint undertaking. The NTSB has the statutory responsibility, but, in fact, most of the accident investigations related to general aviation are conducted by FAA Aviation Safety Inspectors without NTSB direct involvement. The FAAs own accident investigators and other FAA employees participate in all accident investigations led by NTSB investigators. In addition to the NTSB, FAA and FBI, accident investigation may involve foreign or local authorities or the departments of Justice, State and/or Defense. Agencies such as the American Red Cross, Department of Health and Human Services and Federal Emergency Management Agency may also be involved in providing services to victims and their families. Depending on the circumstances of any given crash, other agencies may also be involved.


What is a "black box"?

The term black box actually refers to two black boxes - the flight data and cockpit voice recorders. These instruments record a wide variety of information, such as speed and altitude or the voice communication within the cockpit. The black boxes are also equipped with beacons that aid rescuers in locating them.


Can the government be held responsible for an aviation accident?

Under the Federal Tort Claims Act, the United States has been sued for the negligence of an air traffic controller that led to an aviation disaster.

Lozner & Mastropietro is dedicated to representing victims of airline accidents. If your family members death was caused by an airline accident or you simply need more information, please contact us at 1-718-615-0044 or click Tell Us About Your Case.

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