Most people in New York and elsewhere would agree that flying is one of the safest modes of transportation. Even after the drastic reduction in air travel over the past couple of years, highly trained pilots and strict federal regulations are accommodating the sudden rise in air traffic as more Americans head to the skies this summer.
When airline accidents do occur, however, they usually result in catastrophic injury and death, and they can be newsworthy decades after they occurred. Brooklyn residents recently commemorated the 61st anniversary of the Park Slope airline crash last December, a tragic collision of two planes that killed all 128 passengers plus six bystanders as one of the planes plummeted to the intersection of Seventh Avenue and Sterling Place.
Most common causes of aviation accidents
Although we hear less about small aircraft accidents such as private planes, helicopters, or gliders, these are relatively common. Incidents involving major carriers and general aviation accidents are often due to:
- Pilot error
- Faulty equipment
- Design flaws or structural problems
- Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) violations
- Negligence on the part of the pilot, flight service employees or air traffic controllers
The FAA sets standards of safety and enforces civil and criminal penalties for violations by pilots, flight operators and aircraft manufacturers. Another federal entity, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), conducts investigations on aircraft accidents to determine causes and remedies.
Pursuing a claim after a plane crash
When determining the value and strength of your case, determining the cause and the extent of the injuries or loss will help in evaluating your personal injury claim. Because of the seriousness of the damages in an airline accident, a wrongful death claim may be an appropriate action for the family of a deceased loved one.
Aviation litigation encompasses legal theories of liability in state, federal and international law, and defendants may appear in courts in several jurisdictions. Liability claims will most likely focus on the negligence of the owner or operator of the aircraft, the pilot, traffic controllers, or other flight employees, and product liability claims will target manufacturers or maintenance suppliers. Third-party claims across several jurisdictions create high levels of complexity in these cases.