Plane crashes are rare, but they do happen—and sometimes there are survivors. Even if you survive a plane crash, you’re likely to suffer catastrophic injuries and emotional distress, and rack up copious medical bills while you recover. That’s why survivors often ask whether they can file a lawsuit to recover compensation.
Depending on who is responsible for the crash, you may have several avenues for a suit. Crashes can be due to pilot error, but they might also be due to defective equipment, faulty maintenance, fuel problems and issues with federal air traffic controllers. Here are some of the broad causes of action you may be able to pursue.
Everyone makes mistakes, but some of them are more harmful than others. If the plane crash was caused by pilot error, improper maintenance or other human error, there may be a case for negligence. If you pursue a claim of negligence against a specific pilot, for example, you’ll need to prove that a) the pilot had a duty of care to their passengers, b) they breached that duty, c) the crash happened as a result of the breach and d) your injuries were directly caused by the breach of duty. Generally, you won’t have trouble proving the first and second elements—it is well established that pilots owe passengers a duty of care, and it would not be difficult to show your physical, mental and emotional injuries are a result of the crash.
Proving that the pilot breached their duty and that the crash was the result can be more difficult. You’ll need to show that their actions were unreasonable and a competent pilot would have done something different.
Some crashes are caused by faulty equipment, such as a poorly designed aircraft or a defective component. In this situation, you would pursue a product liability claim. Instead of proving negligence, you must prove that the designer or manufacturer’s defect caused the injury.
Suing Under Federal Law
Finally, if the crash was caused by a negligent FAA employee, you’re required to sue under the Federal Tort Claims Act, rather than a negligence lawsuit in state court. Suing the FAA requires you to file an administrative claim with the agency before you can sue under the FTCA. They may settle and admit your claim is valid, or you may have to go to court afterward.
Contact an Accident and Catastrophic Injury Attorney in Ohio
If you or a loved one has been injured in a plane crash, they may have legal recourse. Call me today. During our free case evaluation, we can review your options and make a plan to pursue your compensation. I’ll Make Them Pay!®.