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Airplane Crashes

Unfortunately, crashes involving aircraft typically involve serious injuries or death. As a result, the investigation into the circumstances of these incidences need immediate attention. In most cases, the NTSB will investigate the crash and secure the wreckage. If not, family members should make arrangements to do so. This task is not pleasant, but necessary.

After an investigation, the NTSB will issue a preliminary report of the crash. In some cases, this report may be issued within a week of the crash. A final report follows the preliminary report; however, that report is not processed until the investigation is complete.

Cause of Crashes

There are many potential causes to aircraft crashes. Many media sources report "pilot error" without a significant understanding of the underlying components of this term. In some occasions, pilot error may be only partially responsible for the incident. In other cases, aircraft and engine components may be responsible for the crash. Unless, the airplane is relatively new, the manufacturer of these craft is usually immune from responsibility for the crash.

Immediate Action

Private aircraft ownership throughout the United States takes many forms. Some individuals own a plane outright. Others engage in mutual ownership with others. In some cases, the aircraft are owned by a corporation that shields the individual owners from liability; however, in most cases, these aircraft or the pilots carry per seat insurance coverage that provide protection to passengers and others in the event of component failure or pilot error. There are methods to identify the owners of the plane involved and prevent adverse action being taken against your rights.

Examples of Cases

Attorney Mike Sudekum participated in the appeal of a $2,500,000 judgment against a local power company where a passenger in a helicopter engaged in the rescue of a boater struck unmarked power lines resulting in her death. After a jury verdict, the power company appealled the case to the Missouri Court of Appeals; however, after briefing and argument, the judgment was affirmed.

Information Needed to Investigate Claims

Of the many items of investigation to be completed, at a minimum, the parties need to identify the make and model of the airplane involved. The manufacturer of the engine should also be identified and efforts made to confirm any after market additions and upgrades to the craft. In some cases, the runway and airport layout is a factor in the crash.

If you or your family has been involved in an airplane crash, you may contact product liability attorney Mike Sudekum for a discussion of your options.