Air travel is one of the safest modes of transportation today and accounts for less than 1% of auto accidents per annum. Nonetheless, aviation accidents are the most dangerous in nature and the collateral damage from such accidents can be immense. Additionally, there is the fact that the chances for survival of a victim are very low. Attorney David McNeal, who is a Texas Personal Injury Attorney helps us understand that if an aircraft crash victim somehow escapes death, he/she is most likely to suffer fatal physical & mental injuries or some form of permanent disability.
Provisions for a Lawsuit
If an individual is injured or killed in an aviation accident, he/she or their family have the right to file a lawsuit to obtain compensation for losses. The people eligible to receive reimbursement include the victim, his/her spouse, children, parents/legal guardian, or the next of kin. There will likely be different reasons why an incident might occur, but typically, it will be due to one of the following reasons or situations:
- Human error by a pilot
- Glitches in air traffic control
- Mechanical flaws in aircraft (due to lack of maintenance or repair)
- Defective design
- Faulty restoration/renovation
- Impaired/damaged runway
The victim or the immediate family members can demand reparation for inevitable burdens such as medical bills, loss of income/support, funeral expenses, and other non-economic or punitive damages. While some jurisdictions only take into account financial losses, some try to make up for emotional traumas that may have been suffered. The steps to take when it concerns wrongful death cases as a result of an aviation accident varies from state to state, so only a qualified aviation accident attorney can give you a fairly accurate idea of what you can potentially expect to get out of a lawsuit. In some cases, monetary compensation is limited, whereas it is possible to attain total expenditure coverage as well.
Filing the Lawsuit
Getting over the tragedy caused by an aviation accident takes time, so you should first focus on sufficiently recovering from any personal injuries before worrying about financial issues and legal procedures. The survivor and any family they may have must first care for their health and concentrate on recovery, while the family of the deceased shall take their time to mourn. Every country and state imposes its own standard deadlines for filing a lawsuit; in case of aviation accidents, the average time frame is up to two years from the date of the incident. Airlines may, of course, take a stance of refusing your claims after the time limit is over.
If the aviation accident was caused by poor/faulty weather & air traffic control, then the airline is considered ‘not guilty’. Normally, the government is in charge of these control services, and their negligence is what caused the misfortune. You can file a lawsuit against the government and receive compensation, but the time limit to take action is narrow; you may have to initiate the legal process within six months or a year at max.
One should expect extensive investigation after the occurrence of an aviation accident, which is undertaken by NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) and FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). These entities play a huge role in determining the true cause or culprit of the accident. They also provide recommendations for preventing similar incidents in the future.
Reaching a Settlement
Airlines will usually have various types and forms of aviation insurance like public liability, passenger liability, in-flight insurance and more. This notwithstanding, it is safe to say that they more often than not are usually more concerned about their interests and bottom line, over and above anything else. The victim and his/her family are, by and large, unaware of their rights, so they may readily agree to avoid litigation. Although this route seems simpler or convenient, discussing a settlement directly with the airline and its insurers is a mistake. Honestly speaking, this never works out well and the negotiation may entirely deprive you of any reimbursement.
Commercial and private airplane crashes are complex, thus the expertise of an experienced aviation lawyer is vital to winning the case. If you are thinking that legal assistance is expensive or you cannot afford it, then you are wrong. San Jose Personal Injury Attorneys reassure that upfront payment is not a requirement when dealing with an aircraft crash or serious personal injuries caused by other auto accidents. Your lawyer’s financial interest is aligned with the success of your lawsuit. Their payment is a small fraction of your monetary compensation, so if the case fails, they cannot recover a single penny.
Your aviation accident lawyer is obliged to enable maximum advantage and help you gain the benefits you deserve. He/she will also take care of numerous legal requisites that come between the filing of a lawsuit and reaching the final verdict. Reaching a settlement in court is a lengthy process and the case may take up to two years; just leave it to your legal representative and exercise patience. Your lawyer will speak with you from time to time and ask questions, but the more challenging tasks will stay off your shoulders.
The Montreal convention has fixed quotas for covering damages in aviation accidents. If a person was severely injured or encountered death, he/she or the family is eligible to retrieve a compensation of 128,821 SDRs (Special Drawing Rights), which amounts to $178,081 at current rates. If the victim or their family demands higher financial rewards, then the airline obtains the right to contest the claim.