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A number of legal issues arise from the crash, especially with regard to possible aviation accident and wrongful death suits, which may prove difficult to decipher until investigators yield more clues regarding the crash itself. Investigators have noted that no mayday call was made, however, initial reports do note that the pilots of the plane had mentioned over the radio some icing occurring on the aircraft’s exterior.
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There are thousands of aviation accidents in the United States every year. Recent statistical reports by the National Safety Transportation Board show that there were 1,631 general aviation accidents during 2007. This figure includes both personal aircraft and commercial airliners. These accidents resulted in 491 fatalities. The number of accidents increased from 2006 when there were 1,518 reported general aviation accidents. However, the number of fatalities caused by these accidents decreased since 2006 when there were 703 deaths associated with the aviation accidents.
The maintenance of aviation facilities and the operation of aircraft are governed by aviation law. Statutes have been enacted at both the state and federal levels of government to help regulate air traffic.
Since it has the constitutional authority to regulate commerce both between states and from overseas, Congress can enact laws dealing with air navigation. Several federal laws have been enacted in this manner. The 1926 Air Commerce Act provides for the registration and the certification of aircraft operating in interstate or foreign commerce as well as other aviation related regulations.
Parties that are potentially liable for an accident vary depending upon the cause of the accident. Those who own or operate the aircraft are certainly often responsible. Other times, manufacturers or mechanics may be liable. Recently, a company that leased an aircraft to a pilot lacking in experience was found to be liable for the incident. An experienced aviation attorney is crucial in identifying and determining all possible claims.
Yes. Under the Federal Tort Claims Act, the US government was sued for the negligence of an air traffic controller which led to an aviation disaster.