Pilot Error Plane and Helicopter Accident Lawyers

Plane and Helicopter Accident Lawyers Can Assist Injured Persons With Claims

Airplane and helicopter pilots have a duty to ensure that they safely transport passengers from destination to destination. Pilots possess a legal duty and responsibility to take whatever actions are necessary to protect airline passengers when they encounter dangerous unforeseen circumstances during flights. Pilots also have an obligation to ensure that their aircraft—whether helicopters or airplanes—are airworthy by undertaking a pre-flight check of the machine before taking off.

Studies have shown that most airplane and helicopter crashes are caused by pilot error. Pilots can make errors in judgment, can miscalculate various factors such as altitude, windspeed, or direction, and can make other mistakes that can prove deadly.

When a pilot's negligence or recklessness causes a person’s death in an airplane or helicopter crash, the family of the decedent can seek compensation through a North Carolina wrongful death lawsuit. Similarly, when a pilot’s employer has negligently hired a pilot or has failed to ensure that a pilot followed proper safety protocols, an injured person or the family of a decedent may maintain  a wrongful death lawsuit against the employer, in addition to the pilot.

Pilots Who Fail to Follow FAA Regulations May Face Claims

Commercial airplane and helicopter pilots must adhere to strict regulations set forth by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). These regulations minimize the chances of aviation accidents. While private pilots are not required to meet the same strict standards as other pilots, they are still legally responsible for operating aircraft with reasonable care. The FAA has cataloged aviation accidents which show various pilot errors that have resulted in crashes.

Private and commercial pilots can be held liable when their errors and negligence causes an aviation accident that results in severe injuries or deaths. A pilot’s employer, an aircraft owner, and a maintenance team may face claims of liability for an accident.

Common Pilot Errors Cause Crashes and Lead to Claims

The majority of airplane and helicopter accidents are caused by pilot error. A pilot commits negligence when one makes an error that breaches the duty to exercise reasonable care, or fails to do what other reasonable pilots would have done under the same or similar circumstances. The FAA has pointed to a number of common occurrences that have caused aircraft crashes, all involving pilot error:

  • Failure to appropriately communicate with air traffic controllers;
  • Misunderstanding the directions received from air traffic controllers;
  • Miscalculating location, altitude, or velocity;
  • Making navigational errors, often caused by turbulence or shifting weather;
  • Choosing to fly when the weather is hazardous;
  • Misusing equipment, such as landing gear, safety devices, and flaps;
  • Failure to monitor the fuel levels of the aircraft, making an emergency landing necessary to refuel;
  • Failure to perform the required pre-flight checks to ensure that all airplane or helicopter equipment is working correctly and safely;
  • Flying while distracted;
  • Flying at too low an altitude or too close to dangerous objects such as electrical wires.
Talking With an Experienced Lawyer Is the Key to Understanding Your Legal Options

When pilots fail to follow safety procedures or fail to use reasonable care under the circumstances, they can be held financially accountable for any injuries and deaths that result. If your loved one has passed away in an aircraft crash, the loved one’s heirs at law or beneficiaries under a last will and testament may be entitled to significant damages. An experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to review your case and help you understand what your best legal options are for recovering the compensation you or your loved ones deserve.

The laws governing negligence claims, and legal doctrines concerning the liability of employers for the actions of employees, and those concerning multiple at-fault parties in a complex accident case, can be difficult to understand and navigate. Many legal claims are subject to applicable periods of limitation. The failure to bring a claim within a required time period can forever bar an injured person from winning damages. In North Carolina, the limitations period for a the estate of a decedent who was killed is two years from the date of the loved one’s death, while the limitations period for injury claims brought by persons who survived a crash is three years from the date of the incident.

Contact a North Carolina Pilot Error Lawyer for Help With Claim

Airplane and helicopter crash investigations involve significant complexity and expertise. The sooner you hire an attorney to represent your rights, the better. The legal professionals at Arnold & Smith, PLLC have helped many clients throughout the greater Charlotte area recover compensation after devastating crash incidents. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.

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