What are common reasons for fatal plane crashes?

If you lost a close family member in a plane crash, contact a wrongful death attorney today for a free and confidential case review. The New Jersey injury lawyers at Davis & Brusca may be able to help your family get a measure of closure by seeking a settlement from those responsible for the accident.

Thanks to Aviation safety regulations and safety improvements in modern aircraft, the total number of annual plane crashes in the U.S. is relatively low compared to the number of flights that encounter no problems.  In short, compared to other means of travel, air travel in the modern age is very safe.  Unfortunately, when things go wrong, the results are frequently fatal.  And, all too often, when a plane crash occurs it is later found to have been caused by an avoidable error.  When the negligence of a manufacturer or operator causes needless harm or death, an attorney experienced in handling complex personal injury or wrongful death actions can hold those bad actors accountable by aggressively seeking justice.  

Aviation accidents do not need to be fatal for a victim to be entitled to financial compensation.  A jet can land and swerve off the runway before coming to a complete stop, causing serious harm to passengers.  Partial engine failure, equipment malfunction, serious turbulance and even midair collisions between privately owned and operated small planes can be survived, but may still cause serious harm. However, as the New Jersey wrongful death lawyers at Davis & Brusca know all too well, there are a wide range of scenarios in which the end was not so positive. 

While each aviation incident is unique, the following is a list of common causes of plane crashes and who may be held liable for the resulting fatalities and related injuries:

  • Runway incursion: This is an incident in which a vehicle, person or an aircraft is on a runway when a plane is attempting to taking off or landing on that same runway. If the control tower or ground control mistakenly authorized the other plane, equipment or person to be there, then the governing body may be liable for the resulting injuries. Prompt action must be taken in any such claim, as advanced notice of a potential claim is likely required before a claim can be filed.  Deadlines vary by jurisdiction and my be very short.  Where applicable, failure to file a “tort claims notice” withing the deadline period can cause the right to pursue a claim to be lost.   If you suspect a government actor is or may be responsible, in whole or in part, you should seek the advice and assistance of an aviation lawyer right away.
  • Midair collision: Your wrongful death attorney must determine which plane was where it was authorized to be and which plane was not. Also, pilots are expected to turn right to avoid an oncoming aircraft. Patterned response to such events help to insure the success of avoidance measures.  The collision may have occurred because one of the pilots did not make the correct avoidance maneuver.  The at-fault pilot or their “Estate” (the fictitious legal entity which assumes the rights and liabilities of a person when they die) may be a necessary defendant.  If the pilot was operating a commercial flight, your wrongful death attorney may recommend suing their employer as well.
  • Faulty aircraft part:  While we all necessarily trust the integrity of planes and other aircraft, there is a history of defective aircraft parts or systems triggering serious crashes and other aircraft failures. Your wrongful death attorney may determine that the manufacturer was aware or should have been aware that their product was faulty and was at risk for causing serious injuries or death should it experience a catastrophic failure.
  • Pilot error:  Given the advancements in automation of aircraft systems, pilot error is among the most frequently cited explanations for aircraft crashes. Cockpit voice recorder tapes and communication transmissions between the crew and a control tower are vital evidence in these cases, and may reveal this as the cause of the crash. In such instances, your wrongful death attorney may determine that you must name the airline as a defendant for improperly training the flight crew, or other similar reasons.

If you lost a loved one in a fatal plane crash, contact Davis & Brusca, the wrongful death lawyer New Jersey trusts to learn what legal options your family has in the wake of your tragic loss.  Our lawyers are available to consult on matters in all 50 states and can coordinate with local attorneys where necessary.  Time is limited, so call today.

Contact Davis & Brusca for insight into personal injuries and fatal plane crashes.