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What Is Aviation Accident (Plaintiff) Law?

Aviation Accident Legal Issues

Aviation accident law covers any accident involving an aircraft, whether a commercial passenger jet or a small privately-owned plane. Other aircraft, such as helicopters, hang gliders, and even some drones, also fall under aviation accident law. Accidents and injuries can occur in a number of ways, including aircrafts colliding with objects or other planes, takeoff and landing accidents, or in-flight injuries caused by turbulence.

Most aviation accidents and injuries can be litigated under the general legal principles of negligence, product liability, wrongful death, and personal injury. For example, pilots are required to meet certain standards of care when they operate an aircraft (e.g. pre-flight checklists; maintaining appropriate flight characteristics — altitude, speed, right of way; following federal aviation law; etc.). If they fail to meet these standards, they are being negligent in their operations and may be held liable for their negligence in the case of an accident.

While states have their own aviation laws, some flights cross state borders, which means that some accidents may be covered by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules. Additionally, plane crashes are also investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

Aviation accident lawsuits often pose additional problems when it comes to jurisdiction, or determining which court has the proper authority to hear a case. When someone is injured on a cross-country flight, it can be difficult to determine in which state the injury occurred. This is one reason why most aviation accident victims often need an experienced attorney to represent them.

Terms to Know

  • Aviation - Of or relating to any vehicle or transportation that flies in the air
  • Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) - A federal agency that governs aviation safety and issues regulates the airline industry
  • National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) - An independent federal agency that investigates all aviation accidents, as well as severe accidents involving other modes of transportation, including railroads and boats, and significant highway accidents
  • Common Carrier - A business or agency that is available to the public for transportation of persons, goods, or messages
  • Wrongful Death - A death caused by the negligent, willful, or wrongful act or omission of another

Other Considerations When Hiring an Aviation Accident Lawyer

Because aviation accidents often involve multiple jurisdictions, a suit may be best filed in a state other than the one in which you live. Therefore, it is important to find a lawyer who is licensed in other states or has experience with the federal court system. Hiring a lawyer close to the court where your case will be litigated can also cut down costs because your attorney will not have to travel as far.

When considering filing a suit related to any injury, it is extremely important to document all of your injuries, the medical treatments, costs, and lost earnings you have suffered as a result of the accident. Without clear documentation, your lawyer may not be able to properly evaluate your case and may not be able to help you collect the full amount of compensation that you may be owed.

If you have suffered injuries or trauma as a result of an aviation accident, contact an aviation accident attorney immediately to preserve your rights and explore your legal options.

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