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Who Is Liable After a Plane Crash?

Image of a plane engine

Though air travel is one of the safest modes of transportation, airplane crashes happen each year. Passengers are often killed or left with severe injuries, and property on the ground is often damaged beyond repair. When it comes to dealing with the fallout, it can be difficult to tell who’s liable.

The Most Common Causes of Plane Crashes

Airplane crashes are rare, but most of them share a few factors. Human error accounts for nearly half of these accidents. Mechanical issues and inclement weather cause about 20% and 10%, respectively, of crashes. Finally, poor runway maintenance, mistakes by air traffic control, and issues with the staff on the ground are the other most common causes. Figuring out which of these led to an accident is a vital step in determining who’s liable.

Possible Responsible Parties After an Accident

When a mistake by the pilot or flight crew is to blame, the airline is typically responsible for any damages. Affected parties, such as passengers or property owners whose homes were damaged, can file suits against the airline or pilot. If a mechanical error or lack of maintenance caused the crash, affected parties can file lawsuits against the airline, the plane’s manufacturer, or the plane’s owner (for non-commercial flights). A federal agency manages the air traffic control system, so victims should file a claim against the government if air traffic controllers cause an accident.

Receiving Compensation After an Aviation Accident

If an airline is responsible for a plane crash, they often contact affected parties and offer them a settlement. However, victims can file a claim if they don’t think the settlement is satisfactory. Similarly, if a government agency or an airplane manufacturer is at fault, people can hire a personal injury attorney to represent them and sue for compensation.

Plane crashes are serious, potentially traumatic events. If you or a loved one has been injured in an aviation accident, the lawyers at Leav & Steinberg LLP can file a claim to help you get the compensation your family deserves. Our staff has decades of experience in the Tri-State area, and we have offices in Manhattan and the Bronx. To schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys, call 212-766-5222 today.