What Are My Rights After I am Involved in an Airplane Crash? 

 January 10, 2014

By  LMW Attorneys

Airplane accidents are frightful experiences. Though we have a greater likelihood of being involved in a car crash, the altitude and speed of aircraft make their accidents seem of greater impact. Consequently, many Floridians try not to think much about accidents involving aircraft. Though doing so may help them sleep better at night, they also remain unaware of what to do after an accident.

The fear of crashing should not impede people from understanding their rights. Survivors can take recourse against those responsible for the incident. Contacting a New Port Richey, Florida personal injury lawyer can be the first step in the process.

Civil Suit

Accident victims have a right to sue for civil damages. Negligence will likely be the claim in a personal injury lawsuit. Negligence means that the accused did, or failed to do, something that a reasonable person in their position should have done. The plaintiff filing the lawsuit will then have to prove that the accident caused the injuries.

The defendants may include many persons associated with the flight. Pilots, flight attendants and air traffic controllers are the most visible. In addition, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) can be liable if, for example, the plaintiff finds that the government regulations or training methods were at fault. Also, if the aircraft or some component was faulty, causing the crash, the aircraft or component manufacturer may be responsible.

Compensatory Damages

If the court finds the defendants liable, the victim then has a right to compensatory damages. This award differs from the punitive damages the court assess to punish the guilty party. Compensatory damages can be quite large and usually the jury decides on the amount. Plaintiffs have a right to recompense for pain and suffering resulting from the incident. Closely related are emotional and psychological injuries. Many victims request damage awards for a loss of income caused by missing days at work during recuperation. Medicals bills are a common form of compensatory damages, as well.

New Port Richey, Florida residents who have suffered some form of loss in an accident involving aircraft should contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. The attorney can begin collecting information about the situation to ascertain whom to sue and what to demand as compensatory damages.

Craig Laporte, managing partner of Laporte, Mulligan & Werner-Watkins, P.A. has first-hand experience in aviation litigation. He has handled airplane crash cases, and is himself an experienced commercial pilot in airplanes, seaplanes and helicopters.

Airplane/airline accidents are complicated cases and require experience attorneys to ferret out all of the possible defendants, and the cause of the crash.