Plane Crashes, Injuries and Deaths

“Statistically speaking, flying is the safest way to travel.”

- Superman, as played by Christopher Reeve

Terrorist threats aside, flying on commercial airliners is extraordinarily safe these days. In fact, your chances of being in a commercial airplane accident are approximately 1 in 7 million. This means that you could theoretically fly on a roundtrip from Washington, D.C. to New York everyday for 8500 years, and probably manage to avoid being in a commercial plane accident.

And even if you are aboard a commercial plane that crashes, improved flight crew training and safety standards are making the survivability of commercial airline crashes much more likely today. For example, in the August 2nd, 2005 fiery crash of a French Airbus A340 alongside a highway in Toronto, all 309 passengers and crew survived. As the age of the Jumbo Airbus approaches, planes that will carry as many as 840 passengers have been built with a focus on improving the chances of passengers living through worst-case scenarios.

But for those of us who choose to fly in smaller, single or twin engine planes, it turns out that Superman was only half right. These planes are involved in many more accidents per year. The recent accident involving New York Yankee Cory Lidell was another reminder that small planes carry serious risks.

In 2004, The NTSB investigated 1178 small-plane accidents that resulted in 440 fatalities. That’s an average of 98 accidents a month, with 36 deaths a month. The cause for the majority of these accidents fell under the category of “human error,” which means either pilot error or a mistake made by the mechanics or air traffic controllers.

You have legal avenues to pursue if you survive a plane crash or if a loved one has died in one. You are legally able to file an aviation accident legal claim if it can be shown that the cause of the accidents was for one of the following reasons, each of which falls under the category of negligence:

  • Pilot error – The most common reason for small plane accidents.
  • Improper loading – This is what caused the crash of the Cessna 402B that was carrying the pop singer Aaliyah in September, 2001.
  • Engine failures in all phases of flight
  • In-flight icing
  • In-flight instrument failures
  • Denial of insurance coverage in aviation cases
  • Mid-air collisions
  • Flight instructor error
  • Negligent maintenance
  • Air traffic control errors
  • Defective onboard computers or software
  • Fuel tank explosions
  • Poorly maintained equipment

You are eligible to file an airplane injury claim EVEN IF THE OWNER OR OPERATOR OF THE CRAFT MADE YOU OR YOUR LOVED ONE SIGN A WAIVER BEFORE BOARDING. A waiver does not excuse negligence on the part of the owner or operator, and you should not let a representative from an insurance company tell you so. A waiver won’t cover failure on the part of the operator to follow FAA regulations, or the mechanic that didn’t do his job properly, or if the plane itself was faulty, or if the air traffic controller was negligent.

Due to several National and International agreements, the liability for a passenger carrier is $75,000 per passenger. THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOUR OPTIONS ARE LIMITED. If negligence can be proved, then your compensation could be considerably more. If you are contacted by representatives from an insurance company, DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES ACCEPT THEIR OFFER WITHOUT OBTAINING LEGAL ADVICE. They are in the business of getting their clients out of trouble with the least amount of damage to their bottom line, and will be offering you a fraction of what you deserve.

If you have been injured or if you have lost a loved one in a commercial, private or chartered plane accident, the attorneys of Lewis & Tompkins have experience and knowledge of Federal and State guidelines to ensure that you can get justice for yourself or for your loved ones. Contact our offices today for assistance with your plane accident injury claim.

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