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Just like any other product that is sold on store shelves, airplanes are held to a standard of reasonable safety. If an airplane crash occurs, there is potential for a products liability case. The main issue in most aviation liability cases is whether the pilot was negligent or whether the manufacturer is to blame because the airplane itself was defective.
If an airplane is used in its intended manner, but an accident results anyway due to either pilot error or manufacturer negligence, and you are injured, you may be entitled to receive compensation. Aviation liability laws can be difficult to interpret; there, we encourage you to contact and experienced personal injury lawyer, like those at The Cochran Firm, with offices nationwide, immediately following an airplane accident.
In order for a case involving airplane or aviation liability to be successful, a plaintiff must prove that the airplane was defective. An airplane may be defective in more than one way, including:
- Design Defect
- Manufacturing Defect
- Failure to Warn Defect
Types of Defects
A design defect is one in which the whole model of the airplane is defective, the basic design is where the defect lies, and it affects more than just the one plane you happen to be on. A manufacturing defect occurs when the finished airplane is substandard compared to how it was supposed to be built. A failure to warn defect is a bit different. Manufacturers can rarely build products that have zero risk even when used in their intended fashion. However, if a manufacturer is aware of risks that are not patently obvious, and it fails to disclose them, then a failure to warn defect exists.
If both the manufacturer and the pilot are found to have some fault, you may be entitled to receive compensation from either. Most pilot insurance policies have a maximum payout of $100,000.00 per seat when pilot error causes an accident, but the sudden death of a spouse due to an airplane accident that should not have occurred can cost upwards of $1 million. Even if it is proven that the pilot was 90% at fault, and the manufacturer only 10%, some states have joint and several liability laws, which allow you to receive any compensation that exceeds the amount the pilots insurance policy will payout from the manufacturer, even though the pilot was mostly at fault.
Even if a manufacturer builds a plane in accordance with Federal Aviation Administration laws, it can still be held liable. State laws usually have a higher standard that require planes to be built safely enough for their intended use, but also to be built in order to sustain misuse that is reasonably foreseeable.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in an airplane accident and would like to learn more about your legal rights, please contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at The Cochran Firm, with offices across the country, today for your free consultation.
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