Call Us Now For A Personalized Case Evaluation (337) 240-6697

The Law Office of Tony Morrow

Aviation Accidents


What Is The Right To Compensation For Plane Crash Victims?

A plane crash is a nightmare come to life. Everyone knows that there’s a risk of crashing when they board a plane, but no one ever thinks it will happen to them. Unfortunately, it does happen, and if it happens to you or a loved one, it can be absolutely devastating. Plane crashes can cause untold trauma, damage, injury, and even death. They can leave legacies of harm spanning down through generations.

One thing that very few people consider when it comes to plane crashes is what happens next. Eventually, once the initial shock has passed, the matter of liability must be addressed. What happened to cause the plane crash? Who is at fault, and who should be held accountable? If fault can be determined, what rights do victims and their survivors have when it comes to claiming damages?

To begin with, plane crash victims and their survivors do often have recourse and the ability to seek damages. They have the right to bring lawsuits against the responsible parties to claim those damages.

Who Can Be Held Liable For A Plane Crash?

Liability in plane crashes is sometimes complex, and sometimes rather simple. Depending on the type of crash, liability may fall on one or several parties. Common parties found responsible for plane crashes include:

  • Pilots
  • Aircraft owners
  • Airlines
  • Airport owners or operators
  • Aircraft manufacturers
  • Aircraft maintenance providers
  • The US government (if negligence is found on the part of governmentally employed air traffic controllers or weather service providers)
  • Further parties, depending on the circumstances of the crash.

How Is Liability Established For Plane Crashes In California?

In California, there are two main ways to establish liability for a plane crash: negligence and strict product liability. These are sought after a thorough investigation of the crash is conducted by agencies like the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and the NTSB (National Transportation and Safety Board).

  • Negligence can be established if one or more parties did not do their due and reasonable diligence and perform all necessary parts of their job in order to ensure safety. There are various metrics to test for this in each different situation, as it pertains to each different individual and each different job. 
    When it comes to commercial airlines, an additional standard called a “duty of care” is tested, which is more stringent. It applies to airlines as “common carriers” (i.e., any mode of transportation offered as a service to the public). The bar for negligence is much lower for commercial airline accidents than it is for private aircraft accidents.
  • Strict Product Liability refers to cases where an accident was caused by an equipment or mechanical failure. These failures can have several causes, including design defects (when a product doesn’t perform as expected when used as designed), manufacturing defects (when a product was manufactured improperly), and marketing defects (when a product doesn’t have appropriate warnings or instructions).

Who Can Claim Damages For A Plane Crash?

The laws on who can claim which damages for a plane crash vary widely by state. In California, a few different types of people can seek damages. In addition to the injured person themselves, damages may be sought by:

  • Spouses
  • Children (or guardians of children) if there are no spouses
  • Parents (if there are no spouses or children)
  • Next-of-kin (if there are no parents)
  • Legal guardians
  • Personal representatives of the estate (if the person was killed)
  • People in the “zone of danger”, which means people who experienced substantial physical or emotional harm from their proximity to the crash.

What Kind Of Damages Can Be Sought By Plane Crash Victims Or Their Survivors?

There are several types of damages you can seek for a plane crash. They exact type of damages available depends on the severity and the unique circumstances of the crash and the ensuing damage it did to the life of the victim and/or their loved ones. These damages can be economic (ie, financial losses), or non-economic (ie, loss of quality of life). These damages may include:

  • Medical expenses related to the crash (past, present, and future)
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of future income
  • Loss of enjoyment of life, and diminished capacity
  • Permanent disability (if applicable)
  • Funeral costs (if applicable0
  • Loss of companionship of a loved one
  • Pain and suffering

In certain cases, the court may even award punitive damages. These are damages awarded as punishment to the defendant, and are usually only awarded against large corporate defendants (like large airlines), though they can be awarded against individuals or smaller companies if they displayed particularly malicious or intentional behavior.

How Do I Seek Damages For A Plane Crash?

If you or a loved one was injured or killed in a plane crash, you are not alone. Los Angeles plane crash attorney Tony Morrow is here to help. Attorney Morrow knows how devastating the fallout from a plane crash can be, and knows how to pursue justice for plane crash victims and their survivors. Call (337) 240-6697 for a free, personalized consultation today.

Whether it be general or commercial aviation accidents, The Law Offices of Tony Morrow can help. Experienced aircraft lawyers understand that some of the most challenging litigation problems come up in cases involving small planes. Tony is a multi-engine and single-engine ATP (airline transport pilot, one can receive from highest rating from SAA ) and understands aviation.

Although travel by airplane is generally a safe method of transportation, sometimes accidents happen. Often, aviation accidents can end in catastrophic injuries, or death. It is essential to know those airplane accidents are not always large commercial airlines crashing. More often, airplane crashes occur in small private jets.

Many factors may be behind airplane crashes. The FAA lists several main causes, including:

  • Pilot loss of control
  • Controlled flight into terrain
  • System failure
  • Flying at too low an altitude
  • Low fuel
  • Mid-air collisions
  • High winds and thunderstorms
  • Pilot error
  • Airline error

Reports show that a significant percentage of accidents, in both commercial and small planes, occur during the final approach and landing. In both categories of airline accidents, injured passengers may have strong claims against every responsible party. Because of the intricacy and complexity of aviation accidents, many parties may be liable. This can include the airline company, manufacturer, and even the airport. The Law Offices of Tony Morrow can assist you through the process of recovering. After an airplane incident, whether on a commercial or small airplane, your injuries may be quite servee . Many catastrophic injuries caused by airplane accidents can also have enduring consequences. These injuries may require lifelong medical attention. As well as physical injuries, airplane accidents can lead to great emotional distress. For all your injuries and even potential injuries, an attorney experienced in aviation accidents can help you recover all you deserve. If you or a loved one was injured in an aviation accident, contact The Law Offices of Tony Morrow for individualized personal representation.