First, the good news: The chances that your plane will crash are about one in 5.4 million, and perhaps even one in 11 million, depending on the report you read. In fact, you are more likely to win an Oscar or become president of the United States than you are to die in a plane crash. You are certainly more likely – about 200 times more likely – to suffer injuries in a motor vehicle accident on a Georgia highway than in a plane crash.

However, if you or a loved one fly frequently, your odds will certainly go up. Even if you have never been on a plane, there is always the chance that just the right thing could go wrong. While technological advances improve the safety of travel, they also present additional risks. For example, you may have heard of laptop batteries recently combusting in cargo areas of planes. While it may be difficult to predict when a plane will go down, some common factors contribute to aviation catastrophes.

Common causes of plane crashes

You can always reduce the chances that you will suffer injuries in flight by complying with seat belt instructions and listening to the pre-flight safety briefing. This may protect you if the plane experiences turbulence or other factors that may make a bumpy ride. It is also important that you obey the airline’s rules for electronic devices and carry-on luggage. However, it may not protect you from the following elements that are common contributors to plane crashes:

  • Weather, especially thunderstorms, can place an aircraft in danger. It is critical that controllers on the ground know when it is unsafe to allow a plan to take off.
  • While radical improvements have reduced the number of mechanical failures a plane may encounter, about 20 percent of crashes result from defective parts.
  • You can never predict when someone will intentionally ground a plane, but this only happens about 8 percent of the time.

Despite computer advancements and automated systems, the most common cause of plane crashes is still human error. More than half of plane crashes result from pilot mistakes, but other people, such as air traffic controllers and mechanics, may also play a part in the failure of a flight.

These points refer mostly to commercial airlines, but there are also many private planes that crash, and the causes may vary. If you suffered injuries or a loved one died in a plane crash, you deserve a thorough investigation into the cause. With the assistance of an attorney, you may be able to find answers to your questions.