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Airplane Accidents

airplane accidentMany passengers understandably experience a great deal of stress and anxiety when it comes to flying in planes. During the operation of an aircraft there are a number of electrical and mechanical systems that can potentially fail and/or malfunction. In addition, the skill of the pilot, the upkeep of the aircraft and weather conditions can all affect flight safety. The slightest error or negligent act can put the plane in danger of a crash and its occupants at risk of suffering serious or fatal injuries. When an airplane accident occurs, it is important that victims and their families receive the legal guidance and support they need in order to better understand their rights and options.

Commercial Versus Private Flights

Plane accidents that typically make headlines tend to involve large commercial aircrafts. These types of accidents can be devastating as they often cause multiple fatalities and catastrophic injuries. In many instances, when a large aircraft crashes, there are no survivors. The majority of plane accidents, however, involve much smaller aircrafts that are privately owned. Private plane accidents present a number of complications with regard to assigning liability. There is rarely a flight data recorder or “black box” on a private flight, which would help provide valuable insight into the possible causes in the event of a crash. Also, there are fewer regulations and certification procedures for private plane owners. The legal options available for the victims may differ based on the type of plane involved.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), U.S. civilian aviation accidents increased to 1,550 in the year 2011 from 1,500 the previous year. The number of aviation accident fatalities increased as well from 473 to 485.

Causes of Plane Accidents

According to recent accident reports, pilot error is the leading cause of fatal plane accidents. Between 2000 and 2010, 30 percent of fatal crashes resulted from general pilot errors, 19 percent involved pilot errors from weather-related issues and 5 percent involved mistakes made by pilots as a result of mechanical issues. Weather was the cause of 8 percent of all fatal crashes during that decade and 24 percent resulted from mechanical failures.

  • Pilot error: A pilot may cause a crash by misreading gauges or data from other equipment, failing to prepare for dangerous weather conditions or failing to recognize mechanical errors.
  • Mechanical failure: Equipment that is defectively designed, assembled or maintained may potentially fail. Improper inspection of the plane or outside factors such as getting hit by a bird can also lead to mechanical issues.
  • Weather conditions: It is necessary to keep planes grounded when the weather conditions are dangerous. Airlines and pilots must avoid powerful storms and heavy winds. Lightning storms are particularly dangerous for aircraft.
  • Sabotage: There were nine fatal plane accidents between 2000 and 2010 involving explosive devices, shoot downs and hijackings.
  • Air traffic control errors: Negligent air traffic controllers may cause serious aviation accidents and runway incursions.

Potential Claims in Aviation Accidents

Depending on the cause of the crash, there are a number of different legal claims that victims or their families could make.

  • Negligence: If the airplane accident was due to pilot error, victims may file a negligence claim. In the case of pilot error, for example, the victim will have to show that the pilot was not reasonably careful and that a competent pilot would have avoided the accident.
  • Product liability: When a plane crash results from a mechanical malfunction, it may be possible to file a product liability claim against the product manufacturer. In order to have a successful claim, the victim will have to prove that a design or manufacturing defect in the aircraft directly resulted in the injuries.
  • Federal tort claims act: In some cases, it is possible to file a claim against the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). In order to have a successful claim under the Federal tort claims act, the victim will have to show that the carelessness of an FAA employee caused the crash.

Assistance for Victims

There are legal resources available that are unique to aviation accidents. Under the Aviation Disaster Family Assistance Act, services that may be available for victims of airplane accidents include counseling services, memorial service arrangements and forensic services. Airlines must provide a free phone number for the families of the victims, the families must be informed of the crash before the list of passengers is released and room and board must be provided near the location of the accident. It is advisable for victims and their families to research their legal rights and options shortly after the accident.

Contacting an Experienced Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been hurt in a New York City airplane accident, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options. With more than four decades of experience, we work tirelessly to help obtain the best possible compensation for injured victims or those who have lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence.

Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury cases in New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.

Other TOLL FREE phone numbers for us are:

1-800-RADIO-LAW, 1-888-WYPADEK, OR 1-800-LAS-LEYES

Please visit us at: http://www.WORK4YOULAW.com

Client Testimonials

Mr.Wilhelm and Mr. Ginsberg really care about representing people who might otherwise not be represented. They come to your home, if you are unable for whatever reason to meet with them in their office. That is a rare thing in this day and age. They do excellent work and try their utmost to achieve a positive outcome.read more
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I have worked as appellate counsel and of counsel to Mr. Wilhelm for 25 years. Mr. Wilhelm's firm always does an extremely thorough job of working up each client's case in order to optimize the chances of maximum recovery. The Wilhelm firm zealously litigates their clients' claims and, if necessary, will take a case to trial and on appeal to ensure that their clients get the best results possible under the law.read more
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I met with an accident and my leg was broken. My friend suggested me to consult Kenneth A. Wilhelm's law firm as my medical bills was more than the coverage limits of the responsible party. Mr. Wilhelm was very friendly and kept me informed about the case progress and the case outcome was exactly what we expected.read more
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Joni Cicerale M.
When my daughter was burned in an accident, my husband and I looked for a good lawyer who specialized in burn cases. My husband found Mr. Kenneth A. Wilhelm, and we called him and met with him. He told us he would do whatever he could for our daughter, and he did! We were very pleased with the work Mr. Wilhelm did for our daughter, and we are glad we chose such an excellent lawyer. We would choose his services again if we had to, and I would recommend his services to my family, friends, or anyone who has need of a lawyer. My daughter is doing well because of him.read more
Stanley G.
My son was born prematurely, and I trusted the doctors and hospital to get him through the first few weeks and out of danger. The doctors made some mistakes in their procedures and my son is now injured for life because of their mistakes. I didn't know what to do. I hired Ken Wilhelm's law office because I heard from someone that Ken Wilhelm is the best. He and his attorneys held the hospital responsible for their errors. We received a very large settlement. It doesn't fix my son's suffering but I feel that my attorneys helped me get what my family deserved for our hardship.read more
Jean S.
I have known Mr. Wilhelm for the past 12 or more years. He represented me for different problems that I had, and he was very successful. I have no problem in recommending him to my friends and neighbors because he is an honest and reliable attorney.
Malcolm N.
I have been a client of Kenneth A. Wilhelm's law firm for many years. I am very pleased with the services that I have received. I have always told my family, friends, and neighbors that if they ever need a lawyer, they should contact Mr. Wilhelm. The employees are not only helpful in assisting your needs, but they are trustworthy and you can be comfortable leaving all matters in their hands. They were very helpful to me and my family when I had my accident, like a second family. Please don't hesitate to call the Wilhelm firm; they will be there for you in your time of need.read more
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*Disclaimer:Some of the verdicts for the cases mentioned on this website were increased or decreased on appeal. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. ATTORNEY ADVERTISING