What To Do After Airplane Accidents In California
Updated: Apr 26
Why hiring the right personal injury lawyer makes a difference.
An airplane crash may happen in a variety of ways. According to Boeing, most accidents in the early days of aviation were caused by the aircraft itself—poor construction, equipment failure, and so on. Human error, including pilots, air traffic controllers, and engineers, is responsible for 80% of today's airliner accidents.
The number of small plane accidents caused by pilot error, according to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), is about 75%. The following examples, regardless of the size of the aircraft, could result in a crash:
Landing gear failure
Strikes by birds
Radar device failures
Pilot mistake or a failure in pilot training
Error in air traffic control
When Do Fatal Airplane Crashes Happen?
Boeing collects data on major commercial jet incidents and injuries as a pioneer in the aviation industry. According to their most recent results, 49 percent of fatal plane crashes and 44 percent of on-board fatalities happen during a plane's final approach to the runway or landing.
Pilots use 4% of flight time, or less than four minutes, for final approach and landing on a one-and-a-half-hour commercial flight. Significant malfunctions are difficult to correct in such a short time, making landing the most dangerous step of the flight. According to Boeing, 14% of fatal plane crashes happen during takeoff and the initial climb, the next most important flight process.
The situation is slightly different in general aviation. The FAA estimates that flight loss of control caused the largest number of fatal accidents in general aviation between 2009 and 2018. The pilot stalled the plane and was unable to recover, resulting in a crash in the majority of these cases.
A stall happens when the aircraft's location changes, preventing the wings from receiving enough airflow to provide lift and keep the plane going. In reality, landing an airplane is just a controlled stall; a perfect landing happens when the pilot receives a stall warning when the plane's wheels hit the ground. Stalls in flight are often caused by inexperienced pilots who are unable to recover from a stall in mid-flight or by unexpected conditions.
Common Causes of Plane Accidents
In cases of plane crash incidents, The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) play a huge role. Both agencies' personnel will examine the facts to decide who or what caused the accident. The families of the victims, as well as those who recover, deserve answers, regardless of the cause.
NTSB's Findings Related to Aviation Accidents
Security on the Runway. During takeoff and landing, the probability of an airplane accident is especially high. Large aircraft must navigate in a very restricted area on the runway. Poor weather conditions, reduced visibility, and air traffic control errors may result in ground collisions and overshooting or undershooting the runway during takeoffs or landings.
Air Traffic Control. Air traffic controllers play an important role in maintaining the airspace and runways of the United States clear for commercial and non-commercial aircraft. Even though qualified professionals successfully manage millions of flights even under difficult conditions, there are times when a lack of professionalism, incompetence, or even willful misconduct can have disastrous consequences.
The National Transportation Safety Board emphasizes the importance of every air traffic controller and pilot making the best decision possible in every case.
What factors contribute to plane crashes?
An airplane accident can occur in a variety of circumstances. Several of these have been highlighted below. One (or more) of these factors can contribute to an accident:
Negligence and Pilot Mistake. Pilots must use all of their expertise and experience to maintain proper control of their aircraft. Even though many modern aircraft have advanced navigation and safety systems, even the best aircraft would not be able to avoid a crash if the pilot makes a severe error or does not understand how to use these systems. Pilots should not rely exclusively on technology and should be aware of the ways in which these technologies can fail. A single blunder, deliberate act, or instance of negligence may result in a fatal collision.
Negligence of an Air Traffic Controller. An air traffic controller's effects failing to provide pilots with information and commands about airspace, takeoff, and landing may be devastating. Without the correct details, two planes could crash in mid-flight, a pilot could overshoot a landing, or a severe runway accident could occur, injuring several people.
Faulty Equipment/Mechanical Failure. To ensure maximum protection, every component of an aircraft must be in proper working order. If there is a manufacturing or design fault in the equipment, or if it is not properly maintained, it can malfunction. Airline operators or suppliers may be held responsible for accidents caused by malfunctioning equipment.
Weather and Other Unforeseen Circumstances. Some things are beyond the influence of pilots, air traffic controllers, and airline companies. Extreme weather may not only obstruct visibility, but it can also damage an aircraft's sensitive equipment. Bird flocks may also pose a significant danger to aircraft if they crash with the windscreen and smash it or fly into the engine.
Who is Held Responsible for Aviation Accidents?
Liability in airplane crashes can be difficult to assess. The National Transportation Safety Board investigates both aviation incidents. Commercially-used multi-engine planes are required to have Cockpit voice recorders (CVR) and flight data recorders, whether they are transporting passengers or freight (FDR). These recorders, also known as "small black boxes," offer useful insight into what happened leading up to a crash, but they don't necessarily disclose how or why a crash occurred. When a small plane crashes, the NTSB has only the clues left in the wreckage and any survivors' testimony to ascertain the cause.
The responsible parties in airplane accidents differ depending on the type of plane and the flight's intent. The following people may be identified in a lawsuit:
The pilot-in-command (PIC). Since he makes the final decisions about the aircraft, including its suitability for flight and whether or not to fly in certain types of weather, all parties concerned will look to the pilot-in-command of an aircraft for blame. On the other hand, pilot error is rarely the sole cause of an accident, especially in large plane crashes.
The airline or the owner. In small planes, the pilot and owner may be the same person or a pilot may lease a plane from another owner, while larger planes and jets are usually owned by a charter company or airline. In either case, the FAA wants the aircraft owner to keep the plane "airworthy," which means adhering to FAA maintenance and inspection requirements. Failure to do so could lead to mechanical problems and a plane crash.
Operator with a fixed location (FBO). An FBO is a corporation that has been given permission to operate and provide services by an airport. Fuel, hangar space, airplane tie-down, parking, airplane rental, maintenance, and flight instruction are all common services provided by FBOs.
Manufacturer of aircraft or aircraft parts. If a faulty component or poor aircraft design causes an airplane crash, manufacturers can be held responsible for damages resulting from the injury or death of someone involved in the crash.
Maintenance crew on airplanes. Individuals and businesses who inspect and repair airplanes must also follow strict FAA maintenance procedures. Failure to perform their duties properly will lead to a plane crash. This knowledge is often discovered after a careful analysis of an aircraft's maintenance logs.
S. the nation Air traffic control (ATC) professionals who work for the government. A court can hold the government liable in a lawsuit if an ATC error or failure causes an airplane accident.
Accidents with Catastrophic Results
Catastrophic accidents are those that have a long-term impact on the victim's life. They are often life-threatening or life-altering injuries that necessitate comprehensive medical intervention, rehabilitative therapy, medical equipment, nursing care, or personal assistance long after the accident or incident that caused them occurred.
These injuries often result in permanent disability, impacting not only the victim's life but also the lives of family members who now rely on them for treatment and help. Without sufficient compensation, the victim and his or her family can face insurmountable physical, emotional, and financial hardships. Such accidents can easily put a person's finances in jeopardy.
An individual who has sustained a serious injury may face a life of dependence on others, a loss of employability, and a devastating reduction in their quality of life. It's even more heartbreaking for victims and their families because all of this happens as a result of someone else's negligence or misconduct and should have been avoided.
That is why personal injury legislation was enacted so that claimants could obtain compensation through the injury claims process and civil action over such avoidable injuries. A victim's potential medical treatment and needs will be financially unlikely without the monetary benefits offered by settlements and verdicts against those liable for their injuries.
What are Catastrophic Injuries?
Significant burn injuries, brain and head injuries, spinal cord injuries, amputations, organ damage, and vision loss are examples of catastrophic injuries. These types of injuries often result in permanent disability, such as when a limb is amputated, blindness occurs, or paralysis occurs.
Victims will never be able to recover from their losses, and many will be unable to work in the future to support themselves and their families, let alone pay for their medical bills. Future procedures, as well as an intensive outpatient or rehabilitative treatment that may last months, years, or even a lifetime, may be needed in the case of serious burns, brain injuries, or spinal cord injuries.
In certain cases, such as brain injury, the injured person can never regain full consciousness or mental capacity. Changes in personality, memory loss, emotional disabilities, learning problems, and other unpleasant outcomes are possible.
In the aftermath of such accidents, the burden on patients and their families can be enormous. Even if the prognosis for recovery is favorable, the process of getting there can be time-consuming, demanding, and difficult for both the patient and his or her family. To produce results, a team approach involving medical professionals, physical therapists, psychologists, and others may be required.
A serious accident is one that leaves you crippled for the rest of your life. Our legal team has experience representing victims of a wide range of serious incidents, including:
Injury resulting in amputation
Brain and Head Injuries
Broken or fractured bones
Spinal Cord Injuries
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)
Joints and Ligament Injuries
Who is to Blame for a Plane Crash?
The definition of negligent conduct arises from the belief that people have an obligation to behave with due caution in order to avoid harming others or causing property harm.
Negligence is generally synonymous with actions, but it may also include omissions in certain situations.
Duty of Care. Those in charge are required to take appropriate steps to prevent harm to others. They are supposed to anticipate future issues and take appropriate action to prevent accidents. This does necessitate concentrating all of one's attention on airline operations rather than on other events or distractions. They must also be mindful of the possible harm that their lack of attention (negligent behavior) can cause and take precautions to prevent harm.
Breach of Duty. When someone in charge fails to pay full attention to their duties, air traffic, weather conditions, and any other factors that could lead to a breach of duty to take due care during a flight, this is known as a breach of duty. This may also involve a failure to take preventative steps (or an omission to do so) in order to avoid possible incidents.
In personal injury cases and litigation, negligence is a major factor. If another person or individual is incompetent or guilty of negligence, the negligent parties may be held legally liable for the needless injuries sustained by others. In an accident claim or complaint brought forward by the injured party, they or their insurance provider may be held responsible for monetary compensation for the damages associated with such injuries.
Negligence is typically described as a lack of caution, inaction, or failure to act in a manner that any other reasonable person would take in similar circumstances.
Comparative Neglect in California
According to the comparative negligence doctrine, several parties can be liable for the same accident. Rather than assigning 100 percent blame to either the defendant or the plaintiff, the two parties could share fault, and the plaintiff would still receive a lower compensatory award. A plaintiff in a contributory negligence state would receive no compensation if he or she was even 1% at fault for the accident.
However, in states where comparative negligence applies, such as California, a plaintiff may be 99 percent at fault and still receive a portion of the compensatory award.
Because of California's pure comparative negligence doctrine, a plaintiff's share of liability is not limited. Instead, some states use adjusted comparative negligence rules, which restrict a victim's recovery to 49 percent to 51 percent liability. Even if you think you might have played a role in your accident or injuries, you can get a referral to our Personal Injury Attorneys.
However, it is possible that your settlement or conviction will be reduced by a sum equal to your proportion of the blame. If you are given a $100,000 verdict but are found to be 10% at fault, the courts will reduce the compensation by 10% ($10,000). Having a Personal Injury Lawyer handle your case will help you reduce your comparative fault and increase your financial recovery.
What is the California Personal Injury Statute of Limitations?
As a California accident survivor, you do not have an infinite period of time to file a personal injury lawsuit. You must file the necessary paperwork by the state's deadline if you have a case in Los Angeles or anywhere else in California. The statute of limitations is the legal term for this deadline. Most personal injury cases in California have a two-year statute of limitations. If you don't file your lawsuit within two years of the injury, the courts will deny you financial compensation.
However, there are several exceptions to the law.
If the complainant is a minor who has been injured, such as your child, the family has two years from the date of the child's 18th birthday to file a personal injury lawsuit, even if the accident occurred more than two years ago.
There is also an exemption for most claims concerning a criminal tort. A civil suit after death, for example, could grant the plaintiff two years from the date of the criminal case's settlement against the same defendant to file.
How Can You Prove Negligence in an Aviation Accident?
To prove negligence in a personal injury lawsuit, you must demonstrate that the negligent party owes you a duty of care, that he or she breached the duty, that the violation caused the injuries, and that you suffered economic or non-economic damages as a result of the injuries, such as medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, mental trauma, and other costs.
Both of these elements must be captured and addressed in your insurance claim or in your case against the negligent party in court.
How Much Damages Can I Claim for an Aviation Accident Injury Case?
Insurance companies and civil courts in California can award compensation to accident victims depending on the facts of each case. A Personal Injury Lawyer will evaluate your case and tell you if we think you have a case. If this is the case, we will be able to assist you in proving your case and obtaining only compensation for your economic and noneconomic losses.
Pain and Suffering
Punitive or exemplary damages
Wages/Salaries/Commissions that have been lost
Via hard work, tailored litigation tactics, and aggressive case negotiations, our Personal Injury Attorneys have produced excellent outcomes for previous clients. We have the right to negotiate with insurance providers and, if necessary, submit personal injury cases to court anywhere in California. The seriousness of your losses will determine the future value of your personal injury lawsuit.
California Wrongful Death Claims and Survivor Actions
When a loved one dies as a result of another party's negligence, California is unique among other states in that it offers two legal options: wrongful death lawsuits and survivor actions. The types of damages that can be recovered and who can bring the case vary with each form of legal action.
Claiming Wrongful Death
In California, wrongful death is described as a legal claim that arises when someone dies as a result of the negligence of another person (or group of people). If a wrongful death lawsuit is successful, the family will be entitled to recover damages such as burial and funeral expenses, as well as hold the responsible party accountable.
A wrongful death case differs from a case for suicide or murder. It isn't even a legal proceeding. Instead, it's a civil case brought in the state of California. Its aim is to keep a defendant civilly rather than criminally liable for someone's death.
The family may have the right to file a wrongful death case regardless of whether the at-fault party committed a crime. If the defendant is facing a criminal trial, the family of a victim of an intentional crime, such as murder, will be able to file a civil wrongful death suit. Your family will be entitled to sue for wrongful death based on an accident tort, such as carelessness.
In a wrongful death case in California, who would receive damages?
If you want to seek compensation for a loved one who died as a result of someone else's negligence, you should understand the basics of a wrongful death lawsuit. In California, only a few survivors are permitted to file a lawsuit.
Are you one of the people mentioned below?
The spouse or registered domestic partner of the deceased could file a complaint if he or she was married at the time of death.
If the deceased's children are still living, they will be able to bring a case against the estate. When a child passes away, the child's heirs (grandchildren) will file a lawsuit.
If the decedent was married but had no children, his or her parents could file a lawsuit.
Siblings or other dependents of the deceased can file a lawsuit if the deceased's spouse, children, or parents are no longer alive.
A case may be brought by the parents of a minor child who has died.
The decedent's siblings may also file a lawsuit if the decedent's parents have died.
In most cases where the decedent did not draft a will, those who might be entitled to inherit property and those who were financial dependents of the decedent may have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Survivors are entitled to monetary compensation for their injuries, which may include the following:
Medications and healthcare costs
Potential/future income, as well as personal service, advice, or training, are valued in the decedent's estate.
Companionship, warmth, culture, sympathy, solace, and moral guidance were all lost in the meantime.
Punitive damages are only payable in "survival suits," which enable the estate of the deceased to recover economic losses suffered as a result of the accident that ultimately caused their death, even though the deceased only lived for a short time after the incident that killed them.
It is important to seek legal representation from a wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible. Many factors can influence the outcome of your case, and all personal injury lawsuits are subject to strict statutes of limitations.
What is the statute of limitations in a wrongful death case?
In most cases, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of death. Other factors, such as the origins and nature of the action that resulted in death, the circumstances of the plaintiff(s) and defendant(s), and other factors such as the following, all play a role:
Medical malpractice cases are subject to a one-year statute of limitations.
If a case is made against a California government agency, a government tort action must be filed first. There is a 180-day expiration period on these claims.
Do You Need A California Personal Injury Attorneys?
In almost any wrongful death case, potential claimants can consult with an attorney. In terms of who is eligible to file a case and who is entitled to a recovery, the law in this area is complex, and it is usually best left to a wrongful death lawyer to find out. Furthermore, even though the deceased was killed by someone with a low insurance policy limit, legal advice should be pursued since an investigation might discover other potential claimants that are more capable of paying damages.
Damages Recoverable in a Wrongful Death Case in California
In a wrongful death situation, certain types of financial losses and penalties, emotional pressures, and psychological consequences are all recoverable. Injuries from the past, present, and future are all included in these damages.
In California, punitive damages are not recoverable in wrongful death cases. They are recoverable in "survival acts," which enable a decedent's estate to recover economic losses incurred as a result of the incident that caused death. The trick is to show that the decedent survived the initial crash, although for a short period, before succumbing to his or her injuries.
Survival proceedings may be combined with wrongful death actions to inherit/acquire the decedent's assets. Any money awarded will go to the heirs of the estate.
Determining the worth of damages (and doing so correctly) is critical in a wrongful death case. This is accomplished primarily by calculating the monetary value of losses, which includes the following:
Expenses for care and medical treatment, as well as funeral costs
The decedent's future financial contributions, personal care, nurturing, guidance, motivation, instruction, services, and inheritance are all gone.
Specific "intangible thing" can be lost, like joy, companionship, comfort, community, friendship, peace, and moral support.
When deciding and litigating the amount of money received in a wrongful death case, several factors are taken into account. Expert witnesses (economists, psychologists, and medical professionals, for example) would be needed to assess the case's absolute, equal, and true value. Life expectancy, age, earning ability, education, health, intelligence, character, parental responsibilities, spending and saving habits, and the circumstances of survivors/beneficiaries can all be factors to consider.
In the cases of stay-at-home moms and dads and unemployed individuals at the time of death, the jury can measure the losses by:
Loss of contributions to household and family
Loss of comfort
Loss of love
Loss of community
Loss of companionship
Loss of affection
Loss of peace
Loss of moral support
Financial compensation will help you live with your injuries, pay for your bills, and save for a more prosperous future. You can only decide the true value of your case through honest, dedicated counsel and representation.
Monetary Damages in Wrongful Death Claims
It is important to consult with an experienced California wrongful death lawyer before agreeing to something with an insurance company. And your own insurance firm is unlikely to be totally frank and transparent with you. Insurance companies prefer to retain as much of their profits as possible. Their interests are in direct opposition to your requirements and goals.
Under California law, personal injury cases must be filed within a certain time span, known as the statute of limitations. You will have to file a wrongful death claim from the date of death. The complaint will be fully blocked if it is not filed by that date.
While money (however much it is) will replace the loss of a loved one, filing a wrongful death lawsuit will assist you in holding the party responsible for their death accountable. Simultaneously, it can aid in reducing the financial burden that can follow wrongful death. To better address this, you should consider hiring a wrongful death lawyer with experience.
There are two forms of damages available in wrongful death claims, all of which are meant to compensate victims for their injuries. Families are compensated for the financial and emotional support they would have got if their loved one had survived by adding economic and noneconomic losses.
Here are some examples of economic losses:
The loss of any insurance or other benefits that the survivors may have expected from the deceased during their lifetime.
the lack of financial support that the decedent would have offered during their lifetime to the family
Expenses associated with funerals and burials
The fair market value of the decedent's household facilities
Noneconomic losses include the following:
Compensation for the lack of protection suffered by the decedents
Loss of friendship (for any family member)
Loss of Moral Support
Loss of Sexual pleasure or loss of sexual relations
There is no fixed amount that can be paid for damages in a wrongful death case. Instead, a court considers considerations such as the decedent's life expectancy at the time of the accident, the number of survivors financially dependent on the deceased, and the deceased's future earning ability.
Families will only take this legal route after the death of a loved one who did not die instantly after an accident. A survival cause of action may also be initiated only by the estate's personal representative or the deceased's successor-in-interest.
Survival acts enable the estate representative or heir to act on behalf of the deceased; under California law, the estate may recover damages that would have been due to the deceased if he or she had survived the accident.
This includes the compensatory damages previously mentioned, such as medical costs and missed income. In a survival action, the estate will also sue for punitive damages, but it cannot recover damages for pain, distress, or disfigurement.
If a family member has died in a plane crash, you can speak with an Personal Injury Lawyer who has handled wrongful death cases. Your Personal Injury Lawyer will help you determine which form of claim is better for your case.
What's the Difference Between a Wrongful Death Lawsuit and a Survival Action Lawsuit?
A. Wrongful Death
Wrongful death cases are common in California. You would be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit if a loved one died as a result of someone else's negligence or misconduct.
Plaintiffs in wrongful death lawsuits are compensated for the loss of affection, treatment, guidance, motivation, assistance, security, companionship, consortium, and societal loss. They'll be able to get money back for funeral and burial costs.
You Can't Sue for: wrongful death lawsuits do not offer compensation for plaintiffs' grief, sorrow, pain, and misery, nor do they result in punitive damages being paid.
Who is eligible to sue: The decedent's heirs are entitled to compensation in a wrongful death case. The court will assess the degree of dependency for the surviving spouse or domestic partner, parents, and children under the age of 18. In certain cases, there may be a legal conflict between dependent grandchildren and adult children. Adult children may not receive anything while the partner receives something in some cases.
Since the reward is offered to the remaining family members, the payout is tax-free.
B. Survival Actions
You would be entitled to file survival actions if the decedent did not die immediately as a result of his or her injury.
In a survival action case, the decedent's estate is compensated for medical expenses and lost income that the person would have gained if he or she had lived. Additional compensation may be available in the form of punitive or exemplary damages, as well as fines intended to discourage wrongdoers.
You Can't Sue for: Burial and funeral expenses are not covered. California law also excludes damages for the decedent's pain, distress, or disfigurement prior to death.
Who is eligible to sue: The estate's personal representative or successor-in-interest will file a lawsuit on behalf of the decedent. A probate estate must be created before compensation is allocated to the different parties. Non-family members (such as churches, hospitals, or other specific individuals) may receive proceeds from a survival action if the decedent's will states it. The damages of the survival action are distributed according to the laws of intestacy if there is no will.
Since the decedent is compensated, survival actions are subject to federal and state tax. If the deceased had any outstanding loans, such as credit cards, medical bills, or other debts, the heirs would pay these creditors before receiving their inheritance.
Personal Injury Lawyer for Aviation Crashes in Los Angeles
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