There are many reasons an airplane crash could occur. Sometimes they are preventable. Appropriate inspections, maintenance, fueling and piloting can stop some aircraft accidents from occurring. If you were injured or a loved one was killed in an aircraft accident, a skillful and experienced Ocala injury attorney can evaluate whether the crash was preventable and whether you have a viable claim for damages. At the Dean Law Firm, our experienced lawyers understand how to investigate an aircraft accident and determine who should be held accountable for it.Aircraft Accidents
Aircraft accidents may be caused by pilot mistakes, defective aircraft parts, improper maintenance, failure to conduct the appropriate checks prior to flight, errors during takeoff and landing, pilot fatigue, running out of fuel, technology misuse, and mechanical difficulties. Sometimes there is more than one person or entity at fault, and it’s critical to conduct a comprehensive investigation to determine who should be brought into a possible lawsuit. Often, expert testimony is essential to aircraft accident lawsuits.
Potentially responsible parties following a plane crash could include a pilot, an airline, the owner of a private plane, aircraft designers, air traffic controllers, aircraft mechanics, ground crew, and fixed base operators. A pilot may be held responsible for his or her negligence. Negligence may be shown by proving it’s more likely than not: (1) the pilot owed a duty to use reasonable care, (2) the pilot breached the duty to use reasonable care, (3) causation, and (4) damages. A pilot can be a commercial pilot with years of experience and training. A pilot may also be flying recreationally and sporadically.
When a commercial airline pilot is negligent, it may be possible to hold his or her employer liable under a theory of vicarious liability or negligence. Vicarious liability is applicable where an employee is negligent in the course and scope of employment. However, an airline may be held directly accountable for negligence where it did not use reasonable care in hiring, training or supervising a pilot. This is helpful because in most situations, a commercial airline has substantially more resources and insurance coverage than an individual pilot. When the pilot responsible is a recreational pilot, the option of bringing a commercial airline into the lawsuit isn’t available.Product Liability Lawsuits
Sometimes, an aircraft accident is caused by a mechanical failure. There may be a defectively designed or manufactured part in the plane that causes the mechanical failure that results in a crash. If this is the case, you may have a claim against the manufacturer of the defective part or the designer of the aircraft, or both.
Even when the aircraft is designed and manufactured correctly, it will require regular maintenance and inspections. An aircraft accident may be caused by negligent maintenance. It may be possible to hold accountable those who conducted the inspection or the mechanic who performed repairs on the aircraft. Pilots are also supposed to inspect the aircraft to make sure it is safe for flying, and they may be held accountable if they are negligent in their pre-flight inspection and an injury or death results.Damages
If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed in an aircraft accident, you may be able to sue for compensatory damages. These are damages meant to make you whole. They can include economic losses such as medical bills, replacement services, and out of-pocket costs. They may also include noneconomic losses such as pain and suffering, disfigurement, loss of consortium, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment. If your loved one died in an aircraft accident, you may be able to recover damages in a wrongful death lawsuit.Consult a Skillful Aircraft Accident Attorney in Ocala
If you were injured or a loved one was killed in an aircraft accident in or around Ocala, a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer can help you understand your legal options. Our attorney Michael E. Dean is an experienced pilot and a member of the Lawyer Pilots Bar Association and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association lawyers referral panel. His experience gives him insight into and an understanding of aviation issues that arise in connection with airplane accident claims. Our firm represents injured victims and family members throughout Florida, including in The Villages and Crystal River, as well as throughout Citrus, Sumter, Marion, Lake, Sumter, and Levy Counties. Call us at 352-387-8700 or contact us through our online form.