Perhaps one of the most terrifying things to imagine is being on an airplane as it crashes. Hollywood has made numerous blockbusters about the events leading up to the disaster, the fear of the passengers, the heroism of the crew and the aftermath. In real life, it is not always such a happy ending. Accidents involving aircraft often result in serious or fatal injuries.

If you have suffered injuries or lost a loved one in an aviation accident, you are probably one of many who are seeking answers to your questions about the flight, the pilot and the fitness of the aircraft. Perhaps more than understanding the cause of the accident that changed your life, you want to know who will take responsibility.

Who is liable for your suffering?

The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the accident and make recommendations about how to prevent similar accidents in the future. The Federal Aviation Administration will do its own investigation to determine what caused the crash and whether the airline should pay monetary penalties or someone should face criminal charges. After their examinations of the aircraft, the FAA and NTSB may find any of the following factors caused the crash:

  • A defect in the equipment
  • Problems with the design or structure of the aircraft
  • Negligence on the part of those entrusted to maintain and service the aircraft
  • Violations of FAA safety regulations
  • Negligence on the part of air traffic controllers
  • Fault on the part of any other person or agency whose actions led to the accident

The most common subject of investigation following an airplane crash is the pilot. If it is found that the pilot was in some way unfit to fly or negligent while operating the plane, he may carry the burden of responsibility for the accident that caused your injuries or the death of your loved one. However, since federal regulations are in play during an aircraft mishap, having a Georgia attorney to guide you through the complex process of claiming just compensation is a wise idea.

Filing a claim for damages

If you choose to file a personal injury claim, you should know that it can be a complicated undertaking. You will be dealing with laws on the state and federal level, and potentially international law, depending on the circumstances of the accident.

A successful personal injury claim following a plane crash may result in an award of damages for your medical care, your lost wages, pain and suffering, and any emotional anguish the accident caused you. In cases where investigators find gross negligence or misconduct, you may also win punitive damages, which courts award when they want to send a strong message to deter future acts of negligence.