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Aviation Accidents

Maine Personal Injury AttorneysAviation Accidents

Air travel continues to be a popular form of transportation for both residents and visitors in Maine. Like any commonly used form of transportation, unforeseen circumstances and the risks inherent in air travel can cause severe injuries or death. Aviation accidents are commonly associated with commercial airline flights, but helicopters, small propeller planes, hot air balloons, and airport runways can all be involved in aviation accidents. Many factors, such as bad weather, cell phone use, poorly maintained premises, and faulty products can contribute to aviation accidents. If you have been injured while using air travel – whether during a flight or while the aircraft is still on the ground – contact the experienced Maine aviation accident lawyers at Briggs & Wholey. Our experienced staff and attorneys are dedicated to finding all avenues of legal relief so that you are compensated for your injuries.

Facts About Aviation Accidents

Though air travel is generally known as one of the safer modes of transportation, it is not without the risk of injury, property damage, and even death. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration are the federal agencies that monitor air travel and investigate the causes of aviation accidents. The NTSB has tracked passenger injuries, injury rates, and fatalities between 1993 to 2012. These statistics include data for large passenger aircraft (commercial airline flights), smaller planes (like air taxis or medical service planes), and general aviation. Between 1993 and 2012, fatalities and serious injuries among passengers on large air carriers have fluctuated between zero and 483. However, even in years with no major accidents, injury and damage have occurred in relation to airplanes.

Causes of Aviation Accidents

Aviation accidents can arise from a wide variety of circumstances. Some of the noted problems that lead to accidents and injury include:

  • Aircraft Design Flaws: Parts of the plane involved in your accident may have been poorly created. If the bad design caused an accident resulting in injury or death, the manufacturer of the part or aircraft at issue can potentially be held responsible under a products liability theory of recovery.

  • External Circumstances: Both natural and man-made factors can cause pilot distraction or upset an aircraft’s flight. For example, lasers pointed from land can cause eye injury and disorient the pilot. Birds and turbulence can also lead to mechanical malfunctions or instability within the cabin that can then cause minor to severe injuries like concussions or broken bones. An experienced attorney can investigate and evaluate your case to help you determine whether you have a claim for damages if you have been injured under these circumstances.

  • Failure to Properly Fuel or Maintain the Aircraft: Planes must be serviced frequently to ensure safe flight. If the maintenance workers did not properly inspect, repair, or fuel a plane prior to takeoff, their negligence, or failure to exercise reasonable care, can result in aviation accidents and provide the basis for a personal injury lawsuit.

  • Faulty Equipment: Pilots rely on instruments to maintain proper altitude and flight speed. Failure of aircraft equipment can cause confusion that leads to accidents, and can be a basis for a products liability suit on the part of any injured victims.

  • Violation of FAA and NTSB regulations - Failure to follow rules and guidelines set by federal regulatory agencies can lead to accidents as well as penalties for the offending parties. Overworked air traffic controllers and exhausted crew members can cause inattention to details that are vital in a safe flight.
What Legal Rights Do Aviation Accident Victims Have?

If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a plane crash or aviation accident, it is important to know your legal rights. You can potentially pursue a civil suit for monetary damages from those responsible for the accident. Parties that may be liable for your injuries or a family member’s death include pilots, the owner of the aircraft, the airlines involved, the air craft manufacturer, the manufacturer of key airline parts, the federal government, and the airport authority.

For example, under principles of negligence, airlines are obligated to exercise reasonable care in relation to passengers and crew members. If they fail to meet this standard, they can be held responsible for costs related to any resulting injury or wrongful death, including lost wages, medical bills, future medical expenses, and loss of relationship. Likewise, if an aircraft or airplane part had a faulty design that led to the injury or death-causing accident, the injured, or their family member, guardian, or estate administrator may pursue damages from the manufacturer in a products liability action.

Helping You Recover Damages After an Aviation Accident

If you have been injured while onboard, embarking, or disembarking from an aircraft, contact an experienced Maine personal injury attorney at Briggs & Wholey. Alison Wholey Briggs has nearly 30 years of combined experience negotiating and litigating personal injury lawsuits across the state of Maine. We pursue all legal remedies through thorough investigation and aggressive representation. Quick action is very important in all negligence and product liability suits, so contact our office as soon as possible. To receive a free, confidential consultation, contact us online, or call our office at (888) 596-1099 today.

Donald Briggs C. Donald Briggs, III Feb. 7, 1954 - Sept. 7, 2014 Your dedication and hard work continue...