Few accidents cause more wreckage, destruction, and heartache than airplane crashes. If you or someone you know has been injured in an airplane accident you may be entitled to compensation. Airplane accident lawsuits are incredibly complex and require specialized legal knowledge and insight. The best thing you can do after an airplane accident is to contact an experienced Los Angeles airplane accident attorney.
At Citywide Law Group, our attorneys have the experience, skills, and passion that are necessary to not only file a successful personal injury claim but to maximize the compensation you receive. We have more than 17 years of legal experience and have handled all types of complex personal injury claims, including those for airplane accident-related injuries. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation and learn more. We will review your case, explain your rights as a victim, and answer the questions you have.
About Airplane Accidents in California
Airplane accidents may seem relatively uncommon. However, statistics show that there are an average of 3.5 airplane accidents every day. According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) there were 1,282 airplane accidents in the United States in 2015. 238 of these accidents were fatal, and caused the deaths of 406 people. More than 13 percent of these accidents occurred in California.
Causes of Airplane Accidents
Why do airplanes crash or malfunction? There are a variety of factors that can contribute to and/or cause an aviation accident. Commonly cited causes of airplane crashes and aviation accidents include:
- Pilot error (including navigation errors, missing the runway, excessive landing speeds, and flying into dangerous conditions);
- Weather (including turbulence, poor visibility, heavy rain, and severe winds);
- Mechanical issues (including engine and equipment failure, design flaws, and maintenance errors);
- Sabotage (including terrorist acts and hi-jacking); and
- Miscellaneous issues (including birds, fuel contamination, overloading, and ground crew error).
Airplane Accident Injuries
Airplanes are incredibly large and heavy pieces of equipment. If you are involved in an airplane crash you are at an increased risk of suffering a catastrophic injury. You can file a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for airplane accident injuries including:
- Broken bones and fractures;
- Traumatic brain injuries;
- Spinal cord injuries;
- Paralysis; and
- Wrongful death.
Liability for Airplane Accidents
Who can you hold responsible for your airplane accident-related injuries? Who can you name as a defendant in a wrongful death lawsuit for the death of your loved one? Airplane accidents are incredibly complex, and determining who is at-fault can be a very difficult.
This is, in part, due to the fact that so many different people, companies, and government entities could potentially be responsible for causing the crash. Aviation would not be successful if it were not for the contributions of hundreds of people.
In California, anyone (person, company, government) whose negligence or wrongful conduct contributes to an airplane accident can be held financially responsible for your injuries. Potentially liable parties following an aviation accident include:
- The airplane’s pilot;
- The airline (e.g., Delta, JetBlue, American, Virgin);
- The companies responsible for designing, manufacturing, and selling the airplane;
- Airport ground crew;
- Airplane maintenance crews;
- Pilots navigating other airplanes; and
- Other passengers.
Recovering Damages in Airplane Accident Lawsuit
Airplane accidents can cause victims to suffer serious physical, emotional, and psychological injuries. Filing a personal injury lawsuit can help you to recover damages to compensate for these (and other) harms.
In California, personal injury damages are split into two categories: economic and non-economic. Punitive damages are generally not available unless you can show that the at-fault party acted maliciously.
Suffering an airplane accident injury will force you to deal with unexpected and burdensome costs. Economic damages can be awarded in an airplane accident lawsuit to help compensate for the financial losses you have suffered (and are likely to suffer) because of the crash. Commonly awarded economic damages include:
- Medical expenses (e.g., hospitalization, surgery, medication, rehabilitation);
- Medical devices (e.g., wheelchairs, prosthetics, monitors);
- Medically-necessary home alterations (e.g., wheelchair ramps, handicap accessible bathrooms);
- Nursing care;
- Lost wages (present and projected future); and
- Reduced earning capacity.
You may also suffer injuries that do not necessarily have a direct financial impact on your life. However, just because these injuries are difficult to value in terms of money doesn’t mean they are any less painful. Non-economic damages can be awarded to compensate you for subjective and hard-to-value injuries. Commonly awarded non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress;
- Loss of enjoyment of life;
- Disfigurement; and
- Loss of consortium.
Statute of Limitations for Airplane Accident Cases
California airplane accident victims must file a claim for damages within two years of the date of their accident. If you do not file a claim within this timeframe, as established by the statute of limitations, you will not be able to recover the money you may desperately need. This is why it is so important to speak with a personal injury lawyer as soon as you can after a crash.
There are limited exceptions to the two-year statute of limitations. The statute of limitations can be tolled (paused) when certain circumstances exist. These circumstances would make it difficult (or impossible) for a victim to recover money the need in the set time frame. The statute of limitations can be tolled when:
- The victim is under the age of 18;
- The defendant is incarcerated or cannot be found; and
- There is a reasonable delay in the discovery of an accident-related injury.
It is important to note that if you want to recover damages from a government agency or employee you must file a special administrative claim within six months of your accident.
What Should I Do After an Airplane Accident?
The steps you take after any type of accident are incredibly important. This is especially true if you are involved in an airplane accident. Keeping the following suggestions in mind will help to preserve evidence, link your injuries to the crash, and ultimately increase the chances of maximizing the compensation you receive.
- Get medical help! If you are not automatically transported to a hospital after a crash seek medical attention on your own. Airplane accidents can cause serious internal injuries that, if left untreated, could be life-threatening.
- Don’t talk to insurance companies. Insurance companies may be quick to offer you an early settlement. While this money may be very attractive it is important to resist the urge to accept it. These offers will not cover the full extent of your accident-related damages.
- Document your injuries and thoughts. Take photographs of your injuries and write about your experience. The more details your attorney has to work with, the stronger your personal injury claim will be.
- Call an attorney. As an airplane accident victim you may be entitled to compensation. Hiring an experienced Los Angeles airplane accident attorney will increase your chances of success. Letting an attorney handle your case will also give you the time you need to focus on your own personal recovery.
Speak with our Personal Injury Lawyers Today
Have you been injured in a Los Angeles airplane accident, or lost a loved one unexpectedly in a crash? You may be entitled to monetary compensation for your harm. Contact a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer at Citywide Law Group to learn about the benefits of filing a personal injury lawsuit. We offer our legal services on a contingency fee basis, which means that we don’t get paid unless we win. This allows you to focus your time and resources on your own recovery and not worry about attorney’s fees and the legal process.
We handle your personal injury claim while you get better. The decisions you make immediately following an airplane accident will affect your future, so do not hesitate to call us today.