Flying has become an essential part of modern life. Whether for business, pleasure, or visiting loved ones, air travel is a common mode of transportation nowadays. But, like any means of transportation, it comes with its risks. Although flying is very safe, when an aviation accident occurs, it is almost always catastrophic. If you or a loved one are injured in an aviation accident, it is crucial to know your rights and legal options.
If you’re in Los Angeles and seeking justice for an aviation accident, an aviation accident lawyer from The Dominguez Firm can be your greatest ally. Call us today for a free consultation at (800)818-1818. We have successfully helped those injured or who have lost loved ones in aviation accidents, let us help you too!
Who is Usually Responsible for an Aviation Accident?
Airplane and helicopter accidents are very complex due to their magnitude and can involve various factors, making it challenging to pinpoint those responsible. Liability in aviation accidents typically depends on the specific circumstances and the contributing factors. Here are some common parties that may share liability in airplane accidents:
Pilot Error: In many cases, pilot error is a significant factor in aviation accidents. This can include mistakes in navigation, misjudgments, or lapses in judgment. Pilots are responsible for the safe operation of the aircraft.
Aircraft Manufacturer: If a defect in the plane’s design or manufacturing is identified as the cause of the accident, the manufacturer may be held liable. This could include issues with the aircraft’s structure, engines, or critical systems. The crashes of two Boeing 737 MAX airplanes in 2018 and 2019 were the most recent examples of aircraft manufacturer defects having catastrophic consequences.
Maintenance Crew: Negligence during aircraft maintenance can lead to accidents. Errors in routine maintenance or repairs can have catastrophic consequences.
Weather Conditions: Adverse weather conditions can contribute to airplane accidents. While airlines cannot control the weather, they are responsible for making decisions about when and where to fly in such conditions.
Air Traffic Control Errors: Mistakes or miscommunications by air traffic controllers can lead to accidents. Air traffic controllers are responsible for guiding aircraft safely in the airspace.
Terrorism or Sabotage: In rare cases, deliberate acts of terrorism or sabotage can result in airplane accidents. Responsibility may extend to those who commit these acts, as well as security personnel and agencies responsible for security procedures.
Third Parties: Depending on the specific circumstances, other third parties, such as equipment manufacturers, maintenance contractors, or even other passengers, may also share liability.
Determining liability in an airplane accident involves a thorough investigation, which often includes:
- Examining evidence including black box data
- Witness accounts
- Expert testimonies
- Maintenance records
- Air traffic control records
The process is intricate due to the technical and highly regulated nature of aviation, making it essential to have legal expertise and guidance when pursuing a claim for compensation.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an airplane accident, consulting an experienced personal injury attorney who specializes in aviation accidents is crucial. They can help you navigate the complexities of liability and work to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries and related losses.
Why are Aviation Accident Lawsuits Complex?
Aviation accident lawsuits are known for their complexity due to several factors:
Aviation Rules and Regulations: Aviation regulations and procedures are highly technical, making it challenging for the average person to understand.
Multiple Jurisdictions: Air travel often crosses state or international borders, leading to complex jurisdictional issues.
Multiple Parties: As mentioned earlier, various parties may share liability in an aviation accident, complicating legal proceedings.
Evidence Gathering: Collecting evidence in aviation accident cases can be challenging, as it may involve accessing black box data, expert testimonies, and more.
International Law: If the accident occurred outside the U.S., international aviation laws and treaties come into play, adding another layer of complexity.
Due to these complexities, investigations of aviation accidents can take time. It’s essential to have a knowledgeable aviation accident lawyer by your side to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
What Not to Do After an Airplane Accident
Immediately following an airplane accident, emotions run high, and victims are traumatized. Here’s what you should avoid:
Making Statements: Avoid making any statements to insurance companies or other parties. Instead, hire a personal injury attorney experienced in the handling of aviation accident lawsuits right away.
Settling Too Quickly: Rushing into a settlement without a full understanding of your losses and the amount of money you’ll need to put your life back together again can lead to inadequate compensation. Having an experienced aviation accident attorney by your side will go a long way toward making sure you receive the compensation you need and deserve.
Not Documenting Everything: Ensure you document everything – from the scene of the accident to your injuries and medical treatments.
Not Seek Legal Help: Don’t underestimate the importance of legal representation or think you can effectively negotiate with the airline on your own. A Los Angeles aviation accident lawyer can protect your rights and interests.
I Lost a Loved One in an Aviation Accident. What Are My Rights?
If you lost a loved one in an aviation accident, you may be wondering what your rights are. If you are their legal next-of-kin, you have the right to:
- Information: You have the right to be informed about the accident and the investigation. This includes the right to know the names of the other passengers and crew members, the cause of the accident, and any other relevant information.
- Support: You have the right to receive support from the airline, the government, and other organizations. This may include financial assistance, counseling, and other services.
- Compensation: You may have the right to compensation for your losses, including funeral expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.
Speak with an experienced aviation accident attorney immediately. They can review the facts of your case and advise you on your legal options.
Here are some of the common types of damages that surviving family members may be able to recover in an aviation accident wrongful death lawsuit:
- Funeral expenses
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium (companionship and support)
- Punitive damages (in certain cases)
In addition to these economic and non-economic damages, surviving family members may also be able to recover certain statutory benefits, such as the death benefit under the Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA). DOHSA is a federal law that provides compensation to the families of people who die in maritime or aviation accidents on the high seas.
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit for an Aviation Accident?
In California, the general statute of limitations for aviation accident lawsuits is two years from the date of the accident. However, there are some exceptions to the two-year statute of limitations. For example, if you were a minor at the time of the accident, you have more time to file your lawsuit. Yet even those who fall under these exceptions shouldn’t wait to file their aviation accident lawsuits.
If you are unsure whether you have a valid claim or how much time you have to file a lawsuit, speak with an experienced aviation accident attorney. They can advise you on your legal options based on the facts of your case.
Here are some tips when filing an aviation accident lawsuit:
- Act quickly. The sooner you contact an attorney, the sooner they can begin investigating your case and gathering evidence.
- Have your medical records. When you meet with an attorney, be prepared to provide as much information as possible about your injuries, and damages.
- Be patient. Aviation accident lawsuits can be complex and time-consuming. Be patient with your attorney and trust that they are working in your best interests.
Contact The Dominguez Firm Today
If you were injured or lost a loved one in an aviation accident, contact The Dominguez Firm today to discuss your rights and options. We have the resources to handle your aviation accident claim from beginning to end. Not every personal injury law firm can make the same statement.
Our experienced aviation accident attorneys can help you navigate the legal process and pursue justice for you or our loved one. Call The Dominguez Firm today for a free consultation at (800)818-1818.
My experience was good. They made sure to kept me in the loop and made sure to let me know what was going on the whole time. My mom has used other attorneys and this experience was beyond better. I would definitely recommend them!
— Ashley Magana
The attorneys were always available and answered my questions. I would recommend them to anyone. Zoe is the best!
— Janet Salazar
My experience with The Dominguez Firm and the attorneys was really good. They were very informative and always returned my calls.
— Jocelyn Gonzalez