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Who is liable in an aviation accident?

Most Dallas residents hear more about automobile accidents then aviation accidents, but aviation accidents are probably more common then most people think. When they happen, an associated question for the victims is: who is liable?

Unfortunately, most people do not escape an airplane crash or other type of aviation accident unscathed. A personal injury lawsuit is often their only way of taking care of the expenses and damages that result from the accident.

Expenses and damages that might be recoverable from a personal injury case can range from medical expenses, lost earnings, pain and suffering, loss of consortium for married couples, emotional distress and punitive damages. Many of these recoverable items can include future compensation for ongoing issues as well.

Deciding who is responsible for the accident is a bit more complex. Your attorney can help you pursue potential liability from different parties in accordance with findings from either the National Transportation Safety Board or the Federal Aviation Administration. These are the two agencies that investigate aviation accidents to determine the cause.

The NTSB is responsible for the investigation of all civil aircraft accidents, which include all types of aircraft, from public airline jets to hang gliders. The FAA is responsible for the safety standards that are set and applied across all aspects of aviation, from pilot standards to manufacturers of aircraft.

So depending on who, or what, is found to be at fault, liability could fall on the owner, operator, manufacturer or common carrier in the case of commercial flights. In some cases, more than one party may be held liable, such as the manufacturer of an aircraft and the owner or operator.

In cases where more than one party is liable, a percentage of the damages’ responsibility may be applied to each party. This is called a “comparative fault.”

More information on personal injury aviation mishaps or tragedies is available under “From Passenger Injury to Mass Aviation Disasters.”

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