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Who Is Responsible for Airplane Accidents?

Individuals who survived an aviation accident can recover damages for their physical bodily injury, pain and suffering, loss of wages and medical bills, both past and future. In the event of a death, the relatives can recover damages for funeral expenses, the loss of support and others. For aviation accidents, punitive damages are barred under the Warsaw Convention. In most aviation accidents the responsible parties can include the pilot, the owner, the insurer, the manufacturer, the airline or air traffic controllers.

Aviation accidents can be the result of several factors, the most common being linked to flying errors, faulty design, maintenance failures, and lapses in communication.

If an individual survives an aviation accident, the damages he or she can recover include pain and suffering, loss of wages, and medical bills, both past and future.

In the event of an accident involving death, the relatives can recover damages for funeral expenses, the loss of support the victim would have provided, and others. Punitive damages are barred under the Warsaw Convention.

In a case involving private crashes, the responsible parties can include:

  • the pilot, if the crash occurred due to his error
  • the owner of the airplane
  • the insurer
  • the manufacturer.

In the case of commercial flights, the responsible parties can include air traffic controllers, the airline, and the manufacturer of the airplane.

Damage Limitations for Aviation Accidents

The Warsaw Convention and the Montreal Agreement signed by a number of airlines created strict damage limitations:

  • Absolute liability but limited damage payments by airlines.
  • $75,000 limitation applies only to international flights against airlines (applies only to liability of the airline on international flights “that had a point of departure or a stop in the United States.”) — product liability and other theories of liability are excluded.
  • The absolute liability and damage limitations apply only to cases against the airline and not to manufacturers or suppliers of the aircraft.
  • The $75,000 limitation for strictly domestic flights does not result in either "absolute liability" of the airline or the $75,000 damage limitation.
  • Some airlines have agreed to a proposed Transportation Department regulation allowing them to waive the $75,000 damage limit.
  • If the plaintiff can prove willful misconduct, the $75,000 limitation does not apply.
  • Injury or death caused by a carrier's "willful misconduct" is not subject to the Convention’s limitation on damages.
  • Plaintiffs are entitled to no recovery for purely emotional distress without an accompanying physical injury.
  • Further limitations for damages for crashes "on the high seas" and no recovery for the emotional distress of the decedent or the loss of society, comfort, care of the survivors.

If you or a family member have been involved in an aviation accident, the time to get help is right now. Contact the top-rated law firm The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary today in order to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with our Miami aviation accident lawyer.

Even though investigations for these types of accidents can take longer than for other cases due to their complexity, we are able to offer the necessary assistance and support for anyone who wishes to use our services. We closely collaborate with accident investigators or other aviation experts to establish proper liability and increase your chances of winning in court.

For questions and free legal advice to help individuals please call us

Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided on this site is not formal legal advice, also the site does not allow you to form an attorney-client relationship.