Airplane Accidents

Most aviation accidents are not accidents at all. Instead, the fault trail usually leads straight to an individual person or place, such as a pilot, mechanic, assembly line, or product design session. When careless individuals or a defective product injure innocent victims, these individuals need money to put their lives back together. They also deserve compensation for their needless pain and suffering.

At Coogan Gallagher, we stand up for the rights of airplane accident victims. We can quickly evaluate your case and determine the best way to obtain compensation. Once we develop a plan of action, we tenaciously stick to it. Contact us today to request a free consultation.

Chicago, IL Airplane Accident Attorney

What Causes Airplane Accidents?

Commercial aviation pilots are some of the most highly-trained and highly-experienced transportation professionals in the world. Yet pilot error causes most aviation crashes, be they small aircraft that only hold a few passengers or large jumbo jets. Ironically, that vast experience indirectly contributes to many of these crashes. Some common critical pilot mistakes include:

  • VFR Into IMC: This designation, which stands for Verified Flight Rule into Instrument Meteorological Conditions, appears on many aviation accident reports. It simply means flying into bad weather without using instruments. Many pilots are simply overconfident—but that overconfidence can get them and their passengers into serious trouble.
  • CFIT: Controlled Flight Into Terrain essentially means flying an airplane into the ground. Many times, CFIT crashes are related to VFR into IMC. Other times, darkness causes disorientation.
  • Poor Communication: When communicating with the tower, many pilots only hear the things they want to hear. Or, they simply do not communicate with the tower at all, at least on a regular basis. Alternatively, there may be a misunderstanding between the pilot and tower, and the pilot may not ask for clarification.
  • Mechanical Error. Mechanical error could be the pilot’s fault or the mechanic’s fault. Mechanics often make mistakes when working on planes, and pilots often do not perform safety inspections, so there is no safety net.
  • Defective Part. Aircraft are extremely sophisticated machines. There is no such thing as an unimportant or minor part. For instance, in 1985, a rubber seal which cost less than $1 failed on the space shuttle Challenger, causing a devastating explosion. If an aircraft part is defective, the product manufacturer may be strictly liable for damages.

Who is Responsible for Damages?

In negligence (lack of ordinary care) claims, the airport or other company that employed the negligent actor is usually responsible for damages. The rule of respondeat superior (“let the master answer”) applies if the tortfeasor (negligent actor) was an employee who was working in the scope of employment. Illinois law defines both these elements in broad, victim-friendly terms. For example, independent contractors and even unpaid volunteers are “employees” in this context.

In terms of defective products, either the product manufacturer or a subsequent contractor or retailer could be responsible for damages. In either case, jurors often award significant punitive damages in these claims.

Work with a Dedicated Attorney

Airplane crashes often cause serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Chicago, IL, contact Coogan Gallagher today.

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