What Is The Airline Liable For In The Event Of A Crash Landing?


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Question:

My husband was on a flight from Ft. Lauderdale to Los Angeles when the plane crashed on a routine stopover in Dallas.  It was determined that the cause of the crash was attributed to pilot error combined with extreme weather conditions known as microburst and wind shear.  He didn’t survive.  What recourse do I have and what is the airline liable for?

 

Answer:

In the United States, two federal agencies regulate air travel and also investigate every commercial and general aviation accident, which may include an airplane crash landing.  The first one of these agencies is called the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the second is the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).  The NTSB is in charge in investigation the accident and recommending safety standards to prevent future accidents.  The FAA sets legal standards for pilot conduct, flight operations, and aircraft manufacturers.  In enforces FAA regulations through civil and even criminal penalties.

The circumstances of aviation accidents vary from personal injury and/or death to legal theories of product negligence and/or product liability.  The airline and its insurance company may be held responsible for the errors of its pilots in operating the aircraft.  Damages arising from a wrongful death fall into four categories.  They include economic loss, non-economic loss, survival damages and punitive damages.  When a passenger on a domestic commercial flight is killed in a crash, it is possible for his or her next of kin to bring a “survival” action to recover monetary damages for the pain and suffering and mental anguish he or she experienced after the accident, but before the decedent died.  Aviation litigation is extremely complex and a professional attorney who specializes in this field can best handle bringing a wrongful death suit.

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