Safer than railroads and faster than automobiles, airplanes cut down our travel time and provide the luxuries and comforts that other means of travel simply cannot. Travel today is not so much unlike it was in the early 1900s when air travel became the way to get from one coast to another more quickly than ever before. Aside from the convenience that remains the same, we’re still offered food and beverage in-flight, and safety precautions are still announced over the speakers.
However, that's where the extent of convenience ends and where all important safety measures must begin.
What are airline carriers doing to further protect travelers?
When it comes to airplane safety and in turn, liability, the airline (“common carrier”) is not the only party that may be held liable in the event of a serious accident such as engine failure or in the worst-case scenario, a plane crash.
When tragedies occur, the NTSB, FAA, and other federal agencies must look beyond the obvious. This is something that trained investigators due after every plane accident, because they know that the liability may be found in the smallest details. These details, the ones passengers don’t often think about as they board the plane, are the things the federal agencies responsible for airplane safety dedicate their entire careers to.
Today, standards have become stricter for aircraft construction and maintenance. Everything is held to a standard of care: from the screws that hold the plane together all the way down to the flight attendant serving beverages and reciting the safety information before takeoff, regulations have been put in place that may make busy travelers impatient, but are there for a reason. From TSA to ticketing agents, the extra time put into passenger safety by those employed to do so is worth it if it can prevent airline passengers from coming to harm. Everyone must be hands-on when it comes to passenger safety, and no detail is left without thorough investigation in the event of a tragedy such as a plane crash or emergency landing that causes harm or fatalities to passengers.
Who becomes responsible for catastrophic injuries after a plane accident?
As a common carrier, an airline must be hyper-aware of every aspect of aviation for which they are responsible. Aspects of aviation that fall under the responsibility of the airline include, but are not limited to: operation, maintenance, loading, boarding, and inspection of the aircraft. This is not an exhaustive list by any means, and there are many other responsibilities an airline must take responsibility for when transporting passengers and staff.
Below we've outlined who may be liable in the event of a plane accident that results in catastrophic injuries or worse, loss of life:
- The manufacturer: who built the aircraft? When were those employees last trained and were their certifications up to date? At this level, negligence may be found in a manufacturer who did not hire employees that met FAA standards, but was careless in their background checking policies and/or the certification of those they employed.
- The aircraft retailer: the “seller” of the aircraft may be held liable if it’s found that they knowingly sold an aircraft with problems or that malfunctioned during the testing phase of production.
- Aircraft mechanics: if the mechanic hired to fix a known problem failed to perform their duties to the standard required of them by federal law, they may be found negligent and therefore be held liable for their careless (and possibly reckless) actions.
Who's entitled to compensation after a plane accident?
The right to compensation in the event of a plane accident depends upon factors specific to the victim's claim, or a claim brought by surviving family members. It's best to confer with a lawyer who fully understands plane accidents and the legality surrounding airline law for a clear cut answer as to what, or how much, victims are entitled to after suffering injuries or loss of life in a plane accident.
However, in our digital age, a concussion or broken bone on a flight can mean liability issues publicly visible all over the internet, should video footage provide enough evidence that the standard of care onboard the aircraft wasn't upheld and is determined to be the cause of those injuries.
In tragic circumstances that involve fatalities, such as when plane crashes occur, last moments recorded via cell phone are sometimes recovered from the crash site. It's in these unthinkable instances, families may be able to hear what occurred in the moments before the crash, and this can provide a better outlook when it becomes to pursuing litigation against the airline on behalf of their lost loved one. What was occurring? Was the pilot or flight crew determined to be intoxicated navigating the plane? These questions, in front of an experience plane accident lawyer, are better able to be answered in our digital age than ever before.
What should victims do, legally, after a plane accident?
After a plane accident, it's important for the victim, or in the case of a tragic wrongful death, their family, to retain a Board Certified lawyer with years of plane-specific accident experience right away. Shaked Law Firm's Plane Accident Lawyers have decades of successful airline litigation experience as well as experience with the complexities of dealing with the FAA, NTSB, and most of all the catastrophic extent of injuries that can be caused as a result of a plane accident.
Vacations planned months ago, reuniting with family members we don’t see often, and traveling for work conferences all require boarding a plane to get where we need to go quickly and safety. Air travel for any reason has proven to be the safest and most efficient, cost effective form of travel available today for families, individuals, and professionals alike. So what happens when this safe mode of transportation causes a passenger to become injured while they’re aboard the aircraft? This article will answer several important questions related to plane accidents and the injuries that can result.Read More