Airplane crashes are one of the most devastating accidents that happen in the transport industry, because of the magnitude of damage caused. In a good scenario where victims are lucky, they may escape death but will almost certainly sustain serious injuries. In Las Vegas, Nevada, there has been a fair number of airplane accidents, with some of the ones recorded resulting in grim deaths of the passengers aboard. They include the crash of King Air aircraft and the Cessna airplane crash. At the Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm, we understand how catastrophic it may be for victims of airplane accidents, whether for their own personal injury or for the death of a loved one. Our Attorneys are well versed with the procedural law that is used to help you claim your rightful compensation.
Nature of Airplane Accidents
Airplane crashes are not a common occurrence in Las Vegas. However, when they do happen, it is certainly a very stressful and emotional time for anyone affected by the accidents. Normally, there are numerous fatalities involved in these cases, and there is sadly very little that the passengers can do moments before the plane crashes. This is why the airplane crashes are referred to as catastrophic, as the word refers to an occurrence that causes a high level of damage and deaths at a particular time. In addition to the deaths caused by accidents, the damage is massive. This is one of the reasons why it is very hard for airplane crash causes to be established because most of the aircraft will be damaged beyond any significant recollection.
The Federal Aviation Administration often has this difficult task of establishing the exact cause of an accident. Although investigating officers might not have enough to work with, most planes crash and end up exploding because of the combustion of fuel from the tanks that can easily spill out of the tanks after the crash. If the accident happens anywhere near human civilization, the damage is usually unmeasurable, because they may land into buildings with people in them or even in a combination of several streets and residential houses, which may claim a number of lives. Similarly, if the plane crashes in a deserted or wild forest, the trees surrounding the crash site are almost completely destroyed, not to mention the possibility of fire spreading and destroying the vegetation.
Causes of Airplane Accidents
Just like in any other type of accident that may occur, airplane crashes are caused by various circumstances, some of which are easily avoidable, while others are termed acts of God. One of the possible causes of airplane accidents is due to negligence. The aspect of negligence is termed as the lack of action as would be expected of a person, using the test of what a reasonable man would do in such a situation. Because of the broad aspect of negligence, it may be on a pilot’s part, or on the manufacturer’s side. We can further break down this cause into other connected causes that amount to negligence.
A pilot’s error is often a cause of airplane crashes. He or she may enter the wrong coordinates of the navigation, which may lead to a plane veering off to the direction that it was not supposed to go. The error may also be caused by an omission or a failure to contact the control tower in case of misguided navigation, under the assumption that he or she knows what to do next. It is advised to always seek help when a situation seems to be off, to prevent any catastrophic results. On top of that, a pilot may simply pull the wrong lever, press the wrong button, or fail to do so when needed. Despite the fact that man is prone to error, some professions require an extra duty of care, because of the responsibility that is placed on him or her to safely carry a big number of passengers from one destination to another.
The pilot is not always to blame and is actually rarely at fault. One of the biggest reasons why airplanes crash is due to the design problems of the plane parts. The most common part of an airplane that is prone to defectiveness is the engine. It is very common for engines to fail when the plane is in the air, which results in a rapid decrease in altitude. Hence, a disastrous accident follows. The problem with a defective engine is that it often catches fire, which may start even before the plane crashes, which brings about a lot of panic and distress for the passengers aboard the plane. Other defective design problems may also promote a high rate of fuel consumption, which beats the estimated amount of fuel to be used and therefore causes a shortage before a flight trip is completed.
Thirdly, place crashes may be as a result of regulation violations on the pilot or passengers’ end. When it comes to pilots, they are required to follow the instructions given with ultimate precision, failure to which an error may send the entire flight to peril. Sometimes, a pilot will need to make spontaneous changes to the earlier provided instructions. If he or she violates the instructions given, there is sure to be trouble. Passengers may also contribute to the occurrence of an airplane accident by failing to observe the regulations provided in guidebooks. For example, should a passenger smoke inside an aircraft, it becomes very easy for the possibility of fire to escalate to a risk arising from the cigarette itself or from a lighter igniting fire to a flammable plane part. This is a violation of the no-smoking rules that are enforced inside a plane because of the foreseen risks available.
Communication problems are also a common cause of airplane accidents. As already established, a pilot needs to closely follow the instructions given, especially if a new unforeseen circumstance arises mid-air. If there is poor communication connection to the control tower, the situation may become unsalvageable, as the crew at the tower is able to detect some obstacles that the pilot cannot know in time to avoid them. It is a very unfortunate case, as very little can be done to prevent the occurrence of an accident.
A contributing cause to the poor nature of communication between pilots, and the control tower raises another rampant cause of crashes, which is bad weather. Despite preparations made prior to flights in determining weather patterns, it may still end up being unpredictable and turn for the worse when a flight is on course. Airplanes are also made with a protective material that is meant to withstand harsh conditions of weather. Despite all these preventive measures, some conditions are very severe and bring about catastrophic accidents. The most severe kind of weather mostly comes in severe storms that may be coupled with heavy hailstones that may damage parts of the plane.
Runways may also have defects and is actually a major reason why airplane crashes occur in the first place. Statistics show that most airplane accidents happen either when a plane is about to take off or land. The defects are brought about by negligence on the part of the runway crew, which may fail to properly schedule the landing of planes. This means that the planes parked nearby are not cleared on time, and an incoming plane that wishes to land may be forced to take extreme measures to avert entry into the runway, and may easily result in an accident.
Personal Injuries Caused by Airplane Accidents
Unfortunately, most airplane crashes result in the deaths of the passengers, with minimal survival guaranteed. However lucky, those who survive may be, they also suffer their own share of trauma and personal injury. There is no doubt that accidents result in very severe and life-altering injuries, which result in serious medical conditions. These are often the better side of the coin, with the alternative being the death of accident victims. Despite the upper hand in dodging death, a victim is often left with scars, some of which they will carry for life.
The fracturing of bones as a result of the high impact of the crash is one of the injuries that you may sustain from an airplane crash. Victims often suffer from leg bone fractures, particularly on the femur, which supports the better part of your leg and hip joints. Moreover, arm fractures can also be sustained by a victim, as he or she tries to shield the rest of the body from debris or hard impact as the crash is about to happen.
Casualties may also suffer from a traumatic brain injury that is caused by an injury on the head. The skull, which is the protective bone structure of the brain, is likely to be fractured, which in return opens up the brain matter to severe damage. The effects of traumatic brain injury are hard on the victims, bringing complicated conditions such as the loss of cognitive function as well as temporary or permanent amnesia. The people close to the affected victim often find it very difficult to accept the state of their loved one, who is likely to remain in a vegetative state for quite a period of time. Patients in this condition are not able to do anything for themselves, and even eating and breathing may require the help of tubes and breathing machines. Sometimes there is the hope of improvement and recovery, but it may take a long time, and even so, there is no guarantee that the accident victim will be back to his or her normal state.
In addition to the list of injuries is burn scars. It is important to remember that a lot of plane accidents result in fires on the aircraft, during, or after crashing. The victims of such a case of an accident often suffer severe burns, because they may not be in a position to escape the fire due to a number of reasons. One of them maybe because they are covered by heavy debris from the crash, and are trapped under the heavy metallic parts as the fire spreads. For patients of burn scars, the procedure of skin grafting may be available to you, if there is still a significant size of your skin that has not sustained the burn injuries. However, it is a very delicate and sensitive injury, as the burn wounds can easily contract infections if not properly cleaned and covered.
Spine injury is also very common as a result of an airplane crash, which is caused by the heavy impact of the plane as it hits the ground surface or wherever else it may crash into. The spine injury may not be serious, but in severe cases, paralysis resulting from the injury may occur. The state of paralyzation is definitely quite life-changing for a person who was used to carrying out his or her daily routine normally, by using all his body parts to manipulate and control objects. Because of the dramatic change of life events on a victim, it is in every way their right to claim compensation from the relevant and responsible persons that may be held liable for the airplane accident.
Who Is Liable For Airplane Accidents?
More often than not, airplane accidents happen due to the negligence of bodies or persons that ought to have ensured all systems were well in place before the authorization of a flight.
The owner of an aircraft will almost always find himself or herself in some form of liability, as ultimately, the property belongs to him or her. The law of Tort dictates that a person is liable for damage caused by any property that he has bought and is rightfully registered under the owner if it can be proved that he or she did not practice a duty of care towards it. In this case, then liability may fall on the owner either directly or indirectly. Direct liability may be placed on an owner if he/she expressly neglects the duty to oversee and follow up on the maintenance of the aircraft. Indirect liability affects the owner, whereby the people working for him may be found negligent, and the owner may, therefore, need to be answerable as to why there was tolerance of negligence in operations.
The plane manufacturers also certainly hold some liability in most, if not all cases, of airplane accidents. They are responsible for fitting the plane with certified equipment that is of good quality, to enable it to run smoothly. Should any manufacturing defect be detected and registered as the primary cause of an accident, the manufacturers will be answerable. The liability also extends to the maintenance suppliers, who may be from the manufacturer company or a different company altogether. These suppliers may find themselves even more answerable than the manufacturers because they have a more recurrent duty to supply the aircraft with new parts for maintenance and replacement. Theirs is a strict liability since the goods delivered end up being proven to be defective, and nobody else can be blamed for the issue except them. The problem mainly has to do with the defective design of the plane parts, which is sometimes caused by selfish reasons such as buying cheaper low-quality raw materials, in an effort to bag the remaining allocated cash.
The crew at the control tower will often also find themselves liable for acts of negligence, leading to airplane crashes. Their most important duty is to keep track of the airplane as it flies through the designated coordinates and sift through numerous probabilities of what could go wrong them]n advise the pilot against choosing those possible options. It, therefore, comes as a huge blow when the team makes rookie errors that can easily be avoided, which end up endangering the lives of hundreds of passengers on board, including the pilots’ lives. The air traffic controllers may make their mistake by simply failing to promptly communicate with the pilots on board about a sudden change of course of action, which denies them those crucial seconds that could be the difference between life and death.
Liability is also not restricted to the pilots and the airline companies they work for. It is expected that the companies will hire only those pilots who are highly qualified and have passed and satisfied specific conditions that make them fit to fly an aircraft. Victims of accidents are thus bound to sue for any damages caused by the negligence or incompetence of a pilot and the commercial airline companies as well for hosting the pilots. Despite the possibility of this happening, you should remember that a pilot is most likely to also be a victim of the airplane accident, and his survival and well being is just as jeopardized as yours is. However, the airline company will have vicarious liability for the pilot’s act, which means you can still sue for damages even if the pilot is unable to make any defense himself or herself, as death may have already occurred.
What Can I Seek Compensation After an Airplane Accident?
The period after an airplane accident has occurred may be one of the worst in your life, and it is our job to help you recover as much as you can from the accident. Your attorney should be able to give you possible lines of the claim that will help you get the justice and compensation you deserve.
As a victim who has been forced to undergo numerous medical treatment procedures, you can claim recovery for medical expenses spent on yours or your loved one’s treatment. Medical fees are sure to be extremely pricey, especially because of the severe and complicated injuries that are often sustained after an accident, like burns or traumatic brain injury. These conditions usually require you to remain in the hospital for observation for a long time, which causes accumulation of the expenses. You do not deserve to suffer twice as you seek for avenues through which you can get financial aid. Your Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm lawyers will handle your claims in court, as you take your time to recover and go back to leading your life.
As we have established that most injuries may be life-altering to victims, there is bound to be a change in life routine as well, meaning that you may not be able to resume work. The liable parties should pay damages for the loss of ability to work, as well as the loss of future earning potential that is imposed on you upon the accident. It is only fair that you get this compensation, as you have no fault in the causation of an accident, and are on the suffering end. Moreover, the change of life, as you know, is sure to bring about emotional distress, for which victims can sue.
Ultimately, we may have to act on behalf of a deceased person’s family and sue for his or her death. The claims will involve the distress and loss of earning income discussed, as well as catering for the funeral expenses. You should keep in mind that the laws in Nevada have a 2-year time frame, which is the time allowed to bring forth any claims you could have. Bringing forth a suit later may frustrate your efforts, as the courts may not allow it to proceed.
Recommended Ways to Avoid Airplane Accidents
As much as you may not be the direct cause of the accident, it is your duty to ensure that you are safe at all times. Though some of these events are entirely beyond your control, here is what you can do to prevent the risk of being involved in an airplane accident:
- While flying, try to keep your seatbelt on at all times and avoid roaming around if you can help it, because disaster strikes instantaneously. It is better to be in a secure position at all times to enhance your safety. However, feel free to stretch, as it is understandable that it could get tedious to sit for long hours without any movement.
- Secondly, we urge you to pay attention to the pre-flight instructions that are given, along with reading the safety guidelines. You may never know if you will need to apply them, and it is, therefore, safer to have the knowledge of what to do in case of an emergency.
- Thirdly, limit alcohol consumption while on a flight. A glass of champagne may be nice, but if one turns into too many, you will not be in the right state of mind, which is key in cases of emergencies. Alcohol also hits harder on a flight, because of the pressure in relation to altitude.
If you are in a position to use a large commercial airline, we recommend that you do so, as they receive constant tracking and supervision, as opposed to aircraft like helicopters which may operate solo after obtaining permission to fly. Bigger planes are also built with more durable materials that help withstand harsh weather. We also recommend that you take a non-stop flight if possible since statistics show that most accidents actually occur during the take-off and landing of an aircraft.
Find a Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
Facing the adverse effects of airplane accidents can be a very distressing process that you do not have to go through alone. We would be glad to guide you through your compensation journey, and ensure that you are rightfully remedied for the ordeal you may have been through. If you require any legal advice or services from the Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm, contact us today at 702-996-1224.