Air travel is not always for pleasure. It can also be for business, freight, or essential activities like crop dusting. From big commercial airliners at O’Hare to small charter flights or general aviation for various industries, people in the Chicago area are no strangers to the surrounding skies.

While commercial airline incidents are rare, they do happen. When they do, the risk of serious injury and death is high.

Further, chartered flights and aviation work-for-hire can always result in disastrous consequences. In these situations, especially those involving large airlines, retrieving the compensation needed to pay for the resulting damages is frequently difficult.

Your best bet to receiving the compensation you and your family need is working with a legal team who cares and will fight for you. Our team at The Personal Injury Lawyers ™ in Chicago is ready to help you build your claim and help you seek 100% of the damages you have suffered.

If you were injured in an airplane accident or have lost a loved one, reach out to us today to schedule a free case review with an experienced attorney when you call 312-999-9990 or contact our firm online.

Injured? Call a Chicago Aviation Accident Attorney Immediately

When one boards an airplane, they trust aviation companies with their safety from the moment they take off to when they land and disembark. The safety of the passengers of a plane falls on the pilot, staff, airline, airplane manufacturer, and any other relevant parties.

Working with an aviation accident attorney can help you navigate these waters and ensure you are requesting compensation for all kinds of damage involved in your case.

Cases dealing with huge companies like commercial airliners can be challenging because of their highly equipped risk management departments. When talking to a representative from an airline or chartered plane provider, you may be pressured to accept less than what you should receive.

Legal teams know what to look for when it comes to evidence and know the value of medical injuries — whether they have short or long-term recovery windows. The right attorney will be willing to fight for you, even if it means standing up against big airline companies.

What The Personal Injury Lawyers ™ Promise

Each claim has a value to the kinds of damages that the victim sustained. While we work on your case, our promise includes that you will receive the following:

  • Seasoned legal counsel through all stages of a claim
  • Intimate knowledge of personal injury, liability, and aviation laws
  • Motivated recovery of all available evidence
  • Consultations with your treating physician team and medical experts to determine the extent of your condition and your likely recovery timeframe
  • Interviews with airline personnel, eyewitnesses, third parties, and experts in their field
  • Guidance and timely updates throughout your case
  • References to medical, financial, and emotional support needed during your family’s trying time

Common Damages Recovered After an Airplane Accident

Every aviation accident case is different, but they all tend to involve one or more of the following damages:

  • Medical bills for all reasonable and necessary treatments, including projected future costs
  • Lost wages and benefits, reflecting the total reduction in earnings since the accident
  • Funeral and burial expenses in the event of a fatal aviation accident
  • Compensation for damaged and destroyed property, including the value of luggage and its contents
  • Pain and suffering damages, compensating you for the emotional hardship and physical discomfort experienced by the victim

A Chicago Aviation Accident Attorney Can Determine Who Is Liable for Injuries in an Airplane Accident

Proving liability takes evidence, understanding of the accident, the parties involved, and the kinds of injuries or losses sustained during the event. The reality is that each aviation accident can have one or a different combination of liable parties in each accident.

So, the short answer to “Who is liable?” is that “it depends on your case.”

Many parties are involved when operating a plane — from the pilot to the stewardess to even the person navigating planes in the tower at the airport. All of these parties, while the plane is in operation, are responsible for the safety of their passengers. There are also responsibilities assigned to air traffic controllers, plane manufacturers, and others.

Below are some of the most likely at-fault parties in the wake of an airline incident.

The Pilot

Pilots are usually the first person looked at when there is an accident. The government and airlines are quick to do investigations to prove their negligence that resulted in an accident, especially one that led to the deaths of passengers.

In the U.S., pilots have required a minimum of 40 hours of flight time before they receive their pilot’s license and begin operating a plane. Just like drivers of cars can make a user error that causes an accident, so can a pilot.

The material used in pilot school is made available for review by the general public. It is listed on the Federal Aviation Administration’s website.

Since they are the ones who are operating the plane while in the air, they are held with more scrutiny when it comes to acts of negligence.

For most forms of commercial aviation, the airline itself assumes responsibility for any negligence on the part of the pilot. However, in extreme circumstances, or when the pilot is privately contracted for the flight, the pilot may hold sole or shared responsibility.

The Airline

The doctrine of “respondeat superior” makes airlines responsible for the conduct or negligence of their employees. This encompasses any contributed fault on the part of employee pilots as well as flight attendants and other staff.

In most cases involving an injury or death following an accident on a commercial flight, the airline itself will answer for the resulting damages.

The Airport

Airports provide many important pieces to the puzzle, including the facilities needed for docking and grounds crews responsible for helping direct traffic. They may, accordingly, be considered responsible in part or in full for certain accidents, especially those that happen during or prior to takeoff.

The Federal Aviation Administration

Also known as the FAA, the Federal Aviation Administration is the agency in the federal department responsible for determining rules and regulations that pilots, airlines, manufacturers, and staff must abide by in order to fly a plane legally.

While they are not the ones who are operating a plane while in flight in American airspace, the FAA is still responsible for establishing and enforcing the policies that affect airports, air traffic, airlines, and repair stations.

The FAA is also responsible for negotiating and working with similar international agencies to establish and apply rules and regulations when planes participate in international flights.

The Owner of the Plane

It might be surprising, but most airplanes with logos for large airlines are not exactly owned by those airlines but are actually rented from the person or company who owns the plane. Whether it is a small jet or a much larger commercial airliner, like a Boeing 777, the owner of that plane carries certain responsibilities once it is rented out.

Commercial airplanes fall under the same category as a bus or taxis, which means that they are common carriers and must ensure the safety of their passengers while in use. When an accident happens, the owner has failed to meet this rule and is liable for any injuries or deaths sustained while the airplane was mid-flight.

All aircraft entering the U.S. airspace must be registered with the FAA. In order for these planes to receive approval to enter the airspace, they must be operated by a licensed pilot during operation at any given time.

The Plane Repair Facility

Just like car drivers are responsible for ensuring that all maintenance is complete before driving, so are airlines. Most of the time, they hire an aircraft maintenance contractor — a third-party company that works and addresses any issues with the operation of a plane. These companies are the ones who repair engines, wheels, lights, and internal mechanisms used to operate the aircraft safely.

However, accidents and mistakes sometimes happen. They may forget to tighten a few bolts or misalign an important part crucial to the plane’s operation. Unfortunately, these kinds of accidents lead to larger problems that can cause issues while the plan is mid-flight.

The FAA is responsible for enforcing rules and regulations for these repair facilities. Their policy requires that repair facilities frequently report any of the kinds of repairs completed for their clients at their shops.

In cases where it is determined that a faulty repair caused an accident, the plane repair facility can be held responsible for injuries and deaths sustained in an aviation accident.

Airline Accidents Happen More Often Than People Think

Facing injuries when using airline services can be confusing and terrifying. Aviation accidents can involve hundreds of passengers who are severely injured or even killed on impact.

Accidents of this nature can leave their families scrambling to find answers and assistance to obtain compensation for their losses and the loss of their loved ones.

When riding on an airplane, the thought of facing a perilous situation, injury, or even death is not what the typical person thinks of as they board their flight. However, accidents happen, and sometimes they can go unreported, as most reported cases involve large airlines rather than smaller ones.

The Covid-19 pandemic hit the airline industry rather hard. Where airports were hectic, and airplanes had every seat filled, now came a different reality that left some planes half empty.

However, while air travel did not stall, there was a significant decrease in use, which impacted heavily the statistics of accidents using this mode of transportation. As a result, over the last decade, non-crash-related accidents were reduced to 30 incidents and below, with most including no fatalities from their passengers or crew.

Causes of Aviation Accidents

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, three main issues cause the majority of airplane accidents: bad weather, an aircraft malfunction or failure, or the negligence of the parties responsible for passenger safety (usually the pilot).

Bad weather is a huge contributor to plane crashes. While teams work hard to check on forecasts, and pilots of both large commercial airlines and small jets do what they can to avoid storms, sometimes that is not exactly possible.

As a result, planes can go down, and crashes happen.

Unexpectedly, the smaller the plane, the more chances there are of survival. This is because since the plane is smaller, it can coast and glide easier and requires shorter distances to slow down and land. Larger planes weigh more and tend to fly at faster speeds. Unfortunately, this makes it more challenging to stick a landing in cases of an emergency.

While not as common as the main three, these issues also tend to cause aviation accidents:

  • Controlled flight into terrain like mountains or open fields
  • Fuel-related issues and leaks
  • Loss of control while midflight
  • Low-altitude operations
  • Midair collisions with another object or plane
  • System Component Failure (powerplant and non-powerplant) and other mechanical issues
  • Unintended flight into instrument meteorological conditions (IMC)

Beware of the Statute of Limitations for Aviation Accidents

Each state imposes different restrictions on how long a victim can wait to file a lawsuit in the court system. In Illinois, a victim is allowed to file a lawsuit no more than two years after the event the caused injury occurs — including most aviation accidents.

If you are involved in an injury where you can potentially file a personal injury case, it is best to call an aviation accident attorney as soon as possible to begin the process of filing a claim. Two years may sound like a long time, but when you are attending medical appointments, surgeries, physical therapy, and recovering, the time can go by quickly.

Courts know about statutes of limitations If a case is submitted to the court system past that date. It will be immediately dismissed because of the limit placed on the state law.

Call a Chicago Aviation Accident Law Firm Who Will Fight for You

Facing injuries and even the death of a loved one while using air travel is not just devastating news to family and friends. It can quickly become an overwhelming and difficult process to receive compensation when requesting from large companies.

Do not let airlines pressure you into accepting less compensation than your case is entitled to. Whether you are facing injury yourself or the loss of someone due to airline negligence, you deserve qualified representation and receive fair compensation for your case.

If you are ready to speak to an experienced Chicago airline accident lawyer who can assist you and answer your questions, give us a call today at 312-999-9990 or submit our online form to set up your initial consultation.

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The Personal Injury Lawyers ™
77 W. Wacker Drive
Chicago, IL 60601