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Statistically, air is one of the safest modes of travel. But when a crash does occur, it outcome is often horrific. Many plane crashes claim the lives of all onboard. Like other common carriers, airlines and aircraft companies have a great deal of legal responsibility to ensure they take all reasonable steps to keep their passengers safe. If they fail to uphold their duties and a crash occurs, surviving passengers or their next of kin can usually hold the companies liable for their losses.

Can I sue after an airplane accident?

You can most likely sue companies for damages after an airplane accident. Carriers including commercial airlines, charter companies, and private planes and helicopters owe their passengers a duty of care. If the company or its employees are negligent and cause an accident, victims (and family members of deceased passengers) can sue the carrier to recover damages.

Despite the fact that airline companies must abide by strict protocols regarding operation, design, inspection, maintenance, and staffing, preventable accidents still occur. There are numerous ways carelessness, mistakes, or negligence by an airline or its staff can lead to a crash.

  • Lack of adequate maintenance
  • Overlooking disrepair during inspections
  • Shoddy hiring practices and poorly-screened pilots
  • Flying in poor weather conditions
  • Mishandling the landing

In most cases, victims will specifically hold the airline or charter company accountable for their harms, meaning the airline is usually the defendant in suits. This is different when suing for injuries on a private plane. In most cases, you will recover from the owner or the pilot himself.

In some situations, such as when the crash is caused by a defect with the plane, its design, or its components, the airline might not be the only liable party. Because planes comprise hundreds of parts, there might be more than one defendant named in the suit, including parts manufacturers.

Your attorney can advise you about liability for your particular case.

What types of damages are compensable in an airplane crash claim?

If you suffered injuries in a plane crash or sustained other types of injuries on a plane (e.g., falling luggage, severe turbulence-related falls, etc.), you can usually recover most of your injury-related damages, such as for the following.

  • Medical bills (both current and future)
  • Lost wages (both current and future)
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional damages and mental anguish

If you lost your loved one in an airplane accident and want to pursue a wrongful death suit, you can recover damages for your loved one’s loss of financial support that she would have provided had she lived; funeral expenses; and loss of love, counsel, consortium, and comfort.

Do I need an attorney to help me with my case?

Bringing a claim or lawsuit after an airplane accident requires in-depth knowledge of aviation laws, as well as of personal injury and wrongful death rules. If you recently lost your loved one in an airplane accident or suffered injuries in a crash, make sure you discuss your case with an attorney as soon as possible.

Use Primerus’s Find a Lawyer feature to search for an aviation accident lawyer in your area.