A plane accident can happen more frequently than aviators like to admit. You have probably heard that flying is safer than driving. This is true if you only look at fatal crashes involving commercial carriers. Since 2007, commercial airlines have only had two fatal accidents. These accidents only resulted in two fatalities.
But you rarely hear about the many injuries that happen on commercial airplanes. And commercial airline statistics ignore nearly 1,100 general aviation accidents annually on private airplanes and helicopters in the U.S. These accidents kill or injure hundreds of people each year.
When you suffer an injury in a plane accident, you might have an injury claim against those who operated, built, or maintained the airplane. Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis, LLP has extensive experience handling plane accidents and will stand up to billion-dollar aviation companies to protect your right to fair compensation.
To discuss your plane accident with an experienced Maryland plane accident lawyer, contact us today for a free consultation.
Common Causes of A Plane Accident
Almost all plane accidents result from five causes:
Plane Accident Caused By Pilot Mistakes
Pilot mistakes cause about half of the airplane accidents. This differs from vehicle crashes, where driver mistakes cause almost all car accidents.
Pilot mistakes can include errors while:
- Operating the airplane, particularly during take-off and landing
- Preparing and inspecting the airplane before a flight
- Reacting to emergencies that arise during flight
Pilots can make mistakes due to a lack of training, carelessness, or even intoxication.
Plane Accident Caused By Mechanical Breakdowns
Mechanical failures cause about 20% of airplane accidents. Airplanes and airplane parts undergo rigorous maintenance programs because a mechanical breakdown can have catastrophic consequences.
To reduce the risk of an in-flight failure, airplane owners proactively replace mechanical parts on a set schedule before they show signs of failure.
Mechanical breakdowns can happen when a part was defective when it left the manufacturer. They can also occur when an airplane owner fails to follow the maintenance schedule or performs substandard work when repairing or maintaining the airplane.
Environmental conditions can affect the performance of an airplane and its pilot. Almost all adverse conditions can jeopardize flight safety, including:
- Fog or clouds
- Rain, snow, hail, or sleet
In many cases, environmental conditions do not, by themselves, cause plane accidents. Pilots might overestimate their abilities or fly without the proper ratings. Aircraft systems might fail in adverse weather. Ground controllers might make a mistake, routing aircraft into dangerous conditions.
Plane Accudebt Caused By Sabotage
Sabotage, terrorism, hijackings, or other intentional acts of violence are rare, but they do happen. Mechanics, passengers, and even pilots take dangerous actions to deliberately interfere with the airplane’s functions.
Non-Pilot Human Errors
Many people must work together to make an airplane fly. Before the airplane ever reaches its owner, an aircraft designer and manufacturer must create a safe airplane. Software glitches and other defects can cause airplane crashes.
Once the airplane reaches its owner, technicians must inspect, repair, and maintain it. Airport workers must fuel it. And ground controllers must help the pilot follow a safe flight path.
Plane Accident Injuries
Plane accidents, particularly accidents that happen in the air rather than on the ground, are often catastrophic. If your airplane gets into an accident, your likelihood of getting killed or injured is about 39%.
In fact, plane accidents are unique among transportation crashes because your odds of dying in a plane crash are higher than your odds of getting injured in a plane crash. In an average year, general aviation airplane accidents cause 2-5% more fatalities than injuries.
Liability for Plane Accidents
Since so many parties contribute to manufacturing, operating, and maintaining an airplane, your plane accident attorney can often identify at least one party whose negligence contributed to your injuries.
Some parties your plane accident lawyer will investigate include:
If a manufacturer puts a defective product into the stream of commerce, it bears strict liability for any injuries or deaths caused by the product. “Strict liability” means you do not need to prove that the manufacturer knew or should have known about the defect. You merely need to prove the existence of the defect.
An operator bears liability for any negligence that happens while flying the plane. You could sue an operator for negligence in:
- Hiring and training a pilot
- Scheduling flights
- Maintaining or repairing the airplane
- Retaining a pilot after an incident
To prove negligence, you must show that the operator failed to exercise reasonable care to protect passenger and aircrew safety.
Maryland has 33 public airports. These airports employ thousands of ground staff. The ground crew might bear liability for negligently:
- Loading or fueling a plane
- Providing weather reports to aircrew
- Inspecting baggage and passengers for security threats
- Routing planes on a safe flight or ground path
Under the legal doctrine of vicarious liability, an employer usually bears liability for negligence by its employees. If a security guard allows a security threat to slip through and sabotage an airplane, the security guard’s employer will probably be liable.
Schedule a Free Consultation to Discuss Your Plane Accident
An airplane accident will often have catastrophic outcomes. To discuss your airplane accident and the injury compensation you can seek, contact Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis for a free consultation with a Maryland plane accident attorney.