Aviation Accident Lawyer in Midland
While many people tend to think of accidents involving airplanes as crashes that do not involve any survivors, the truth is that aviation accidents can include a much broader range of possible injury claims involving several other kinds of incidents. When you suffer harm in any kind of aviation accident, you are going to want to make sure you hire a Midland aviation accident lawyer.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) states that there were no fatal accidents involving Part 121 air carriers in 2020, and seven of the last ten years saw no airline passenger fatalities, but aviation deaths took place during general aviation operations and involved 332 people dying. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reports that in addition to the 332 fatalities, there were also 187 serious injuries in 1,085 total accidents and 205 fatal accidents.
Governmental Roles in Aviation Accidents
The NTSB and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are both federal agencies, although the NTSB has no affiliation with the FAA. The NTSB will conduct independent investigations into civil aviation accidents in the United States.
The National Transportation Safety Board “Go Team” commences investigations of major accidents at accident scenes and assembles the technical expertise necessary to solve complex transportation safety problems. The Go Team’s immediate supervisor is the Investigator-in-Charge (IIC), but every investigator is responsible for operations relating to the history of the accident flight and crewmembers’ duties, documentation of airplane wreckage and accident scenes, including:
- calculation of a flight’s pre-impact course and latitude
- examination of engines and engine accessories
- studying components of a plane’s hydraulic, electrical, pneumatic, and associated systems
- air traffic services reconstruction
- weather data
- study of human performance
- documentation of all impact forces and injuries, evacuation, community emergency planning, and all crash-fire-rescue efforts
Title 49 U.S. Code § 40113 gives the FAA Administrator the authority to conduct investigations concerning aviation safety, and Title 51 U.S.C § 50917 provides the FAA with the authority to investigate commercial space launch mishaps. The FAA conducts investigations to determine involvement in any one of the nine FAA areas of responsibility, which include:
- performance of FAA facilities or functions
- performance of non-FAA owned and operated air traffic control (ATC) facilities or navigational aids
- airworthiness of FAA-certificated aircraft
- competency of FAA-certificated airmen
- air agencies
- commercial operators or air carriers
- adequacy of Federal Aviation Regulations
- airport certification safety standards or operations
- security standards or operations and/or hazardous materials
- airman medical qualifications
- violations of Federal Aviation Regulations
International flight accidents will be more complicated than domestic flights because the sites of crashes impact where people are able to file suit. If a person has to file a lawsuit in another country other than the United States, their financial compensation may be subject to certain limitations (also known as “damage caps”).
The Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air is better known as the Montreal Convention, adopted by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a specialized agency of the United Nations. The Convention establishes a limit of 113,100 special drawing rights (SDR), which is equivalent to about $170,000 in United States dollars.
International flight accidents can prevent people from filing claims in the United States, and American victims may have to file certain actions in foreign courts. It is critical to have an experienced attorney when attempting to recover compensation for an international aviation accident.
Types of Aviation Accident Injuries
Common carrier liability is a frequent issue in most aviation accident claims. Common carriers have a duty to protect their passengers from injuries either by their employees, other passengers, or any third parties.
Most common carriers may be liable for failure to maintain equipment, their employee negligence, defective equipment, and failure to comply with certain safety procedures or regulations. One particular exception to liability for common carriers concerns “acts of God,” or events beyond the control of a common carrier.
Liability can be very complicated in aviation accident cases because multiple parties might be involved in the maintenance and performance of aircraft. In addition to the carriers themselves, maintenance companies, manufacturers, and other third parties can also be liable in certain cases.
Some of the most frequent kinds of aviation accident claims are commercial airline accidents, but people might also suffer injuries in helicopter accidents, general aviation accidents, and private or charter airline accidents. Other types of incidents might include air medical services (such as Life Flight or air ambulance) accidents, regional carrier accidents, and international airline accidents.
Carriers can also be liable for terrorist-related incidents. Keep in mind that airplanes are just one type of common carrier, as other conveyances classified as common carriers include buses, taxis, limousines, and railroads.
Airline accidents are not just about plane crashes. People may suffer injuries in many other incidents, including slip and fall accidents, assaults, or being struck by objects. Aviation accidents have the potential to cause a wide range of possible injuries. Some people can suffer deep lacerations requiring stitches.
Other common kinds of injuries can include contusions that may cause swelling and pain while limiting the joint range of motion near an injury. Sprains and strains are also common, and a sprain is an injury to the bands of tissue connecting bones together, while a strain is an injury to a muscle or to the band of tissue attaching a muscle to a bone.
Other kinds of injuries in aviation accidents may include, but are not limited to:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Closed head injuries
- Fractures or broken bones
- Herniated discs
- Road rash
- Spinal cord injuries
- Joint damage
- Permanent nerve injuries
- Back injuries
- Leg injuries and knee injuries
- Neck injuries
- Arm injuries
- Internal injuries
- Burn injuries
The worst possible outcome of an aviation accident is obviously death. The family members of a person killed in an aviation accident often have the right to file a wrongful death claim.
Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 71.004 establishes that surviving spouses, children, and parents of a deceased person are the only parties who can benefit from wrongful death claims. This means that siblings cannot file wrongful death claims.
Executors or administrators of estates may be able to bring action when surviving spouses, children, and parents do not begin a case within three months of death. However, surviving spouses, children, and parents cannot object to the executors or administrators bringing claims.
Damages in Aviation Accident Cases
Under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 41.001, the phrase compensatory damages are related to both economic and non-economic damages. The Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code defines economic damages as being compensatory damages compensating people for actual economic or pecuniary losses, while noneconomic damages are the damages that compensate people for their intangible losses.
One of the most common kinds of economic damage can be lost wages because many people will experience some kind of time away from work because of their injuries. In some cases, injured parties may be completely unable to return to their normal lines of work and have to accept other lower-paying jobs.
Economic damages can also include:
- Medical Bills
- Property Damage
- Rehabilitation Expenses
- The cost of Physical Therapy
- Costs of Long-Term Care
Noneconomic damages are tougher to quantify even though the harm involved is very real. For example, one common noneconomic damage is emotional distress, which a victim could very well be dealing with after their accident.
The same holds true for mental anguish because the trauma of an accident can be something a victim is constantly revisiting many months after their ordeal. Other types of noneconomic damages might include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- The leak of companionship and society
- Injury to reputation
- The leak of enjoyment of life
- Physical Limitations
Compensatory damages do not include exemplary damages, also known as punitive damages. Punitive or exemplary damages are only awarded in cases involving egregious misconduct, intending to be penalties or punishments for behavior that a court wants to clarify is unacceptable. Punitive or exemplary damages serve to inform the public that such conduct is intolerable. Your attorney can advise whether these damages apply in your case.
Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Consultation with a Midland Aviation Accident Lawyer
Did you sustain severe injuries or was your loved one killed in an aviation accident in the greater Midland area? Cesar Ornelas Injury Law can help you navigate the very complex personal injury process and work to ensure that you are able to recover as much compensation as possible.
Our firm knows how to investigate these types of incidents and secure all of the evidence that will be necessary to prove your injury claims, so you can be confident that you will have an authoritative voice if your case has to go to any court of law in Texas. You may call (855) 930-1149 or (210) 957-2103 or contact us online to set up a free consultation so we can really dig into the details of your case and help explain all of the legal options that will be available to you.