Greenville Aviation Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in an aircraft-related accident, have someone reach out to our Greenville aviation accident attorney as soon as possible after the incident. The days following the plane, helicopter, or other air travel accident are critical to recovering the evidence necessary to help prove your case.
By performing a timely and thorough investigation, we are better able to determine the factors contributing to the crash. We will make sure that the at-fault party is held accountable for their negligence or errors and that your financial burden is addressed. Auger & Auger Accident and Injury Lawyers is committed to ensuring that you are compensated in full accordance with your rights.
Shouldn’t Pilots Be Fit To Fly?
When you board an aircraft, you do so with minimal knowledge about the people you are entrusting with your safety. You seldom have contact with the pilots as you board, but you trust they are fit to fly the plane. However, medical requirements were loosened by the FAA in 2017 under the BasicMed rule. For the past year, pilots have been able to fly without an FAA medical certificate providing they have met certain requirements.
Health conditions, both known and unforeseen, can contribute to aerial accidents, but they certainly aren’t the only cause. When pilots or air traffic controllers are thought to have contributed to such an incident, there are common factors to blame:
1. Pilot Workload – The crew is expected to carry out multiple tasks when a plane takes off and lands. A requirement to complete several tasks coupled with being able to hear and follow instructions from air traffic control, confusion can occur.
2. Controller Workload – An air traffic controller is responsible for multiple aircraft at one time. It can be difficult to monitor individual airliners closely. In some cases, the issue may be that air traffic control wasn’t properly staffed and there were too few controllers on duty.
3. Distraction – This may be on the part of the pilot or the air traffic controller.
Because every aviation accident is unique, we know that other factors may come into play prior to an accident. Negligence or error on the part of the pilot may include intoxication, a failure to file an appropriate flight plan, failure to follow Instrument Flight Rules (IFR), or failure to follow Visual Flight Rules (VFR).
Damages Following a Plane Crash or Other Aviation Accident
If you’ve suffered any kind of aviation injury, you may have experienced serious consequences. Common plane crash injuries include broken bones, dislocated joints, head trauma and TBI, back and spinal cord injuries, lacerations, and internal injuries. Many of these are potentially life-threatening, and injured parties may spend weeks or months recovering.
As a result, you could find yourself mired in medical debt, while unable to work because of your injuries. If so, we recommend speaking with a Greenville aviation accident attorney right away. They can help you determine what damages you are entitled to and recommend the best path to pursue compensation. Here are some potential damages they might talk with you about:
● Medical bills. Many people underestimate these. You’ll want to consider your current bills, and future ones if you’re still in treatment. With your permission, your lawyer will also go over your medical records and may speak to your doctor to determine if your condition might be chronic. If so, it’s important to include estimated costs of continued treatment as well.
● Lost earnings and earning potential. Your attorney will probably ask you to document any time you missed at work after your accident. If your injuries led to a disability that prevents you from going back to work at all, or from working at the same pace or job as before, you are entitled to additional compensation for that.
● Permanent disability. Whether or not it affects your job, you have the right to seek damages if you’ve lost a limb or developed another permanent disability after your aviation accident.
● Pain and suffering. Your lawyer may ask you to reflect on how your injuries and pain have affected your life, including any activities you’re no longer able to do, how often you have pain, etc. Both physical and emotional pain and suffering should be noted.
● Loss of a loved one. If someone you love died as the result of an aviation accident, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim for your loss of companionship, consortium, financial support, and other advantages of a long-term relationship.
Plane Crashes Aren’t the Only Cause of Aviation Injuries
It’s helpful to understand that a person may be injured in an aviation accident even if the plane takes off and lands safely. In-flight injuries may occur in multiple ways:
● Falling objects. Overhead luggage compartments are convenient, but if they aren’t closed properly, they could pop open during a flight. As a result, passengers may be injured by falling baggage. Because this is a known issue, airline staff members are supposed to check these compartments before takeoff. If they fail to do so and a passenger is injured, the airline may be negligent. Less commonly, the compartment door itself may be defective, in which case the injured party could have a product liability claim.
● Runaway drink and food carts. When carts aren’t secured, they can easily roll away, injuring passengers. One such case occurred in 2017, when a passenger filed a lawsuit against American Airlines, claiming a beverage cart crashed into him and caused a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Aside from the unsecured cart, the lawsuit, which later settled out of court, also claimed that the airline mishandled the passenger’s injuries. This is the next type of airline accident we’ll discuss.
● Medical emergencies. Airline staff is trained in first aid, and all planes should have a first aid kid on hand for injuries or illnesses, no matter how they happen. If a passenger is seriously hurt or ill to the point where airline staff can’t treat the issue, the pilot should notify air traffic control and make a plan to divert the flight if it can be done safely. If you had a medical emergency that wasn’t appropriately handled by the flight crew, the airline may have been negligent.
● Tripping and falling. This most commonly occurs when passengers are boarding or disembarking the plane, but sometimes unsecured items in aisles or carpet irregularities may also cause a fall. If the airline failed to address an obvious hazard that led to your injury, they may have been negligent.
● Turbulence. These rough air currents sometimes make your flight a bumpy ride, and if you’re not wearing a seatbelt, you could be injured. Generally, the pilot will turn on the seatbelt sign and advise passengers to buckle up as soon as turbulence appears. Sometimes these episodes may occur for expected reasons, like jet streams or weather conditions, but in other cases, turbulence may be unpredictable. However, if you were injured during a period of sustained turbulence and the pilot made no effort to advise passengers to wear seatbelts, they may have been negligent.
● Altercations with other passengers. Airlines take security seriously, but sometimes a dangerous or unstable passenger may get past the screening process. If you were attacked by another passenger, the airline may have been negligent in their security measures or in taking action to stop the attack once it started.
How to Proceed with an Aviation Accident Case
Your first step should be to call a Greenville aviation lawyer who offers free consultations. They will inquire about the details of your accident and help you determine the next steps for your case. It’s likely your attorney will start by determining who might be at fault for the crash.
Who Is Liable After a Plane Crash or Accident?
Depending on the situation, this may seem obvious but could actually be more complex. Often your attorney will spend some time learning more about the accident and working out who appears to be liable, or most liable. They will likely review reports made available by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and sometimes the FBI (if a violent or intentional act of sabotage is suspected). It may be several weeks or months before these reports are available, but contacting a lawyer right away will ensure that your investigative team starts gathering evidence as soon as possible.
In a few cases, there may be more than one liable party. For example, the pilot could have made an error that caused the crash, but a faulty seatbelt may have worsened your injuries. In this case, you might have a case against the airline and the seatbelt producer.
Filing a Claim for Negligence
Your attorney may recommend filing a lawsuit based on negligence if they find sufficient evidence that a person or entity acted negligently and these actions led to the plane crash or accident that harmed you. In most cases, we will not sue an individual but rather the company they worked for at the time. Where the negligent party was a pilot, flight attendant, or other airline staff member, we will usually file a claim against the airline. In a few less common situations, you might have a claim against another passenger who injured you.
The FAA and the Federal Tort Claims Act
With air traffic control errors, we typically seek damages from the FAA, which oversees all air traffic in the country. These are filed under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) requirements, which are extensive because such cases involve the federal government. This may be a lengthy process, but if you have a strong claim against the FAA, we will fight for you to get the compensation you deserve.
Product Liability Claims
Injury cases due to defective products, like an airplane part or a seatbelt, are usually taken up with the manufacturer as product liability claims. We will examine the defective product if possible (if it’s recovered after the crash), analyze data on other incidents involving that part, interview experts on the design and function of the component, and work to establish that the part caused the crash.
Workers’ Compensation Claims
If you’re an airline employee such as a flight attendant who was injured in a plane crash or during a flight, you have a right to seek workers’ compensation to cover your medical bills and some of your lost income. In this situation, you will not need to prove negligence, or that anyone was at fault. You will need to show that your injuries occurred while you were working, and that they were not the result of intentional behavior or horseplay. The airline’s insurance company may fight your claim, but your lawyer will help you refute their reasoning for not paying.
Auger & Auger Greenville Aviation Accident Lawyers
Fear of flying is more common than you may think. Though the odds of dying in a plane crash are 1 in 11 million — accidents do happen. And sometimes, a person’s fear is more about not being in control, fear of heights, or claustrophobia. When you and your loved one virtually put your life in the hands of a pilot and crew, you have every right to trust that you will reach your destination unharmed. Should the remote possibility occur, you are entitled to compensation under South Carolina personal injury law. That said, you are going up against huge corporate insurance carriers, and you shouldn’t go it alone.
Auger & Auger’s Greenville aviation accident lawyers represent the victims, seeking the maximum amount of compensation allowable under current law. We know that you are under a great deal of stress and the costs of medical care can be astronomical. You should not be forced to decide between hiring a lawyer, paying a medical bill, or putting food on the table. Call our office today to schedule your consultation and learn more about our zero-fee guarantee. We have worked tirelessly to build a strong and trustworthy reputation within the local community. Let us put our good name to work for you!
Call (864) 991-3532 today for your free consultation, with no fees due until recovery!