• JC Serrano

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.


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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

  • poor weather

  • Radar device failures

  • Inadequate fuel

  • Engine failure

  • Electrical problems

  • Inadequate maintenance

  • Distractions

  • Incorrect loading

  • Fires on-board

  • 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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

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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:

  1. Injury resulting in amputation

  2. Brain and Head Injuries

  3. Broken or fractured bones

  4. Spinal Cord Injuries

  5. Accidental Burns

  6. Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)

  7. Lacerations/Wounds

  8. Neck Injuries

  9. Joints and Ligament Injuries

  10. Paralyzation

  11. Quadriplegia

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.


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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.