Who Is Liable for a Commercial Aviation Accident?

When an airliner has an accident, it can be a widely spread news story. While commercial aviation accidents aren’t common, they are generally severe when they do occur. If you or a loved one was injured in a plane accident, you may be wondering who can be held accountable for the injuries you have sustained. The liability of commercial aviation accidents can be complex, but there are several possible liable parties in most accidents.

The Causes of Airline Accidents

Flying is far safer than other modes of transportation, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be dangerous when something goes wrong. There are many things that can cause an aviation accident, with the most common causes being pilot error and manufacturing defects. Weather is another significant factor, especially since it can increase the odds of a mistake or stress the plane.

Holding Airlines Responsible

In many plane accident, it is the airline which is liable. Because airlines are considered common carriers, they owe an exceptional duty of care to their passengers. This means that airlines and their personnel must go above and beyond when it comes to preventing accidents and avoiding mistakes. When human error is the cause of an aviation accident, it is likely that the airline company will be legally responsible for any passenger injuries, deaths, or property damage. Human error may include:

  • Pilot or crew mistakes and misjudgments
  • Miscalculating fuel, weight, or weather conditions
  • Failing to file or filing an inaccurate flight plan
  • Unsecured baggage or failing to load baggage in a balanced manner

Even small mistakes can lead to fatal consequences, which is why it is even more critical for all airline staff to take extra precautions to keep passengers safe.

Defective Design & Manufacturing

Rolls Royce engines were recently in the news, thanks to a unique design flaw that would allow the engine to be deprived of fuel, even with a full tank. This flaw could cause the engine to fail and bring the plane down, even though it was perfectly manufactured according to the design. When designers or manufacturers make mistakes, it can lead to failures at critical times. If you were injured in an accident due to a defective plane, it is likely that the liable party would be the manufacturer or designer, depending on the nature of the failure.

There are two types of defective product cases:

  • Defective manufacturing: The plan or components are manufactured with a flaw, and don’t meet the design plans. This can be a simple mistake installing a single component, or it can be more complex, such as the component being manufactured incorrectly.
  • Defective design: List the Rolls Royce engines mentioned above, this case occurs when the manufacturing process was perfect, but the design plans were flawed.

When a plane accident occurs due to a defect, the liable party will be determined by what precisely caused the defect. The airline will likely investigate the cause of any defects thoroughly to ensure that they are not wrongfully held liable for any accidents.

Commercial aviation accidents can be challenging to investigate, which is why it can be valuable to have our experienced Denver personal injury attorney on your side. We will fight for your rights and best interests. At The Gilbert Law Group, P.C., our caring and knowledgeable legal team is prepared to help you understand your options. Schedule a free consultation to learn more.

Contact our firm to discuss your case! Call (888) 711-5947.


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