Flying High: How to Handle an Aviation Accident

Dennis Sullivan

When you think of transportation accidents, you probably think about car crashes. But what happens when you’re in an aviation accident? They’re more common than you might think.

Keep reading to find out how to handle an accident in the sky and when it’s time to hire an attorney.

Legal Rights After an Aviation Accident

If a person is killed or injured in an aviation accident, there might be a lawsuit to recover any money damages from those who are responsible for causing the accident.

Parties that may be responsible for these financial damages could include the manufacturer of the aircraft and or it’s key parts, the pilots, airport operators. airline(s) involved, aircraft owner, aircraft maintenance provider. This could also include the government for negligence of weather services and air traffic controllers. The facts of the specific aviation case could influence the investigation. 

It really depends on the circumstances of the accident, but the injured party may have the right to bring a lawsuit and or recover any damages for who was injured. This could be also the spouse, legal guardian, next of kin or representative of the estate of the person injured. This also included anyone in the “zone of danger” meaning why they might have not been physically injured, they could be dealing with an emotional injury such as post-traumatic stress disorder. 

If this describes you, the next step is to get a qualified aviation attorney who can advise you based on the circumstances. This attorney will know who has the right to bring up this lawsuit and recover and monetary damages from the parties responsible. 

In the United States, for example, when a person is injured in an accident of aviation, in most cases the injured victim can bring a claim with their spouse and possibly children, depending on their age, to get compensation for their injuries, as well as for lost wages, pain and suffering, medical expenses, as well as other emotional damages. 

If there is a wrongful death in an airplane accident, most states give money to the decedent’s children and spouse, if they are entitled to sue for damages. Usually, if there is no spouse, either a child or guardian of the child can sue.  Some states allow the parents to sue.

It’s important to note that the damages for a wrongful death case can vary a lot in the states. Some jurisdictions can only give recovery of financial loss, while others recognize that there needs to be compensation for noneconomical losses. There is a growing trend that recognizes the noneconomic losses of wrongful death cases.

Monetary Compensation for Aviation Accident Victims

Again this varies state by state, as each state has its own laws. These laws dictate financial compensations and damages for those harmed in an airplane crash. Typically the injured person can get compensated for the past and future medical expenses as well as any suffering, pain and future loss of earnings. 

Usually, in a wrongful death case, the descendants’ estate can be paid for the loss of the decedent’s future earnings, funeral expenses, medical expenses, pain, and suffering. The descendants next of kin can also be paid for the loss of their loved one. 

Again, because different states recognize different types of damages while other states have laws that can limit the amount of possible recovered money damages. You need an aviation attorney to help explain the different types of damages that can be recovered in your case. 

How Much Money Will I Get for My Lawsuit?

Usually, if the defendants are found liable then you will be entitled to a judgment that fully compensates you for any of your financial losses. Any other elements of harm and jurisdictions can differ based on what you are entitled to. If you suffer a personal injury, then the defendant is responsible for compensating your medical care. 

The defendant is also responsible for your past a future loss of earning and compensation for your pain and suffering. Your spouse may also get compensated for their loss. 

If you loved one died, then the recovery usually begins with the number of economic services and support that you lost. In most cases the additional amounts like the loss of possible inheritance, pain, and suffering, loss of companionship, mental anguish, and any emotional distress. 

If what causes the accident was egregious, in some cases you might also get awarded for punitive damages. However, some jurisdictions don’t allow this. 

How Quickly After an airplane Accident Can I Hire an Aviation Attorney?

Don’t feel pressured by the company to make a quick decision about pursuing a claim for your compensation. When it comes to injuries suffered during the incident or mourning the loss of a loved one, your health takes precedence over following what the campany suggests at this difficult time.  Before you agree to anything, talk to an experienced aviation lawyer.

However, do keep in mind that each country, state, province or other subdivision can impose its own deadline for lawsuits. This deadline is known as the statute of limitations. There are some international flights that are governed by the Montreal Convention which is an international treaty which gives its own deadline of two years from the date of the accident. 

Since it can be hard to decide when that deadline applies, you should seek advice from an aviation lawyer as soon as possible.

Lawsuits that are against governments are a possibility because of entities that provide air traffic control and weather services to pilots and operate airports. So this negligence can have a role in some accidents. 

Look Into Your Aviation Lawsuit Today 

If you or someone you love was involved in an aviation accident, now is the time to talk to an aviation attorney. Don’t wait, you might be entitled to more than you even know. Aviation accidents are more common than you think, it’s important that you know your right if you are a victim.

For more legal advice and insight, contact us today

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