Los Angeles Aviation Accident Lawyer
Although airplane crashes are rare, they’re often devastating when they happen. If you’re a plane crash survivor or if you’ve lost someone in an aviation accident, you may be able to take legal action and file a lawsuit against whoever is responsible for the crash.
The aftermath of an airplane crash can be overwhelming. The site of the accident may not be anywhere close to home. You may have trouble reaching airline representatives for answers. Multiple federal agencies may be involved in an investigation. And you’re likely to face more complications if the crash happened across international borders.
Common types of aviation accidents include:
- Domestic commercial airline crashes
- International commercial flight crashes
- Private or charter plane accidents
- Midair collisions and crashes
- Airport runway crashes or incidents
- Aircraft colliding with buildings or structures
- Sightseeing helicopter tour crashes
- Military aircraft or drone crashes
- Inflight turbulence injuries
You or your loved one may have been hurt in the air or even on the ground in an aircraft incident. Injured bystanders may have a legal claim against the airline just as much as passengers. If you find yourself in this terrible situation, your best option is to find an experienced and aggressive aviation accident lawyer to advocate for you on your behalf.
Whether your case involves a commercial airline, a chartered flight, a private plane, a helicopter, or even a drone crash, attorney Gabriel Sepulveda-Sanchez and his team can help you get the compensation you deserve for all that you’ve suffered. Contact us now to get started.
Common Causes of Plane Accidents
Modern airplanes are built to be highly safe and engineered to withstand much greater forces than they’re exposed to on a usual basis. This is why statistically, mile by mile, it’s safer to fly on a plane than drive a car. But human error or negligence can cause things to go wrong in the air – even sometimes on the ground – putting lives at risk with extremely high stakes.
Aircraft accidents usually require detailed investigations to narrow down the cause of the crash. Sometimes, multiple elements may have contributed to the incident. Because this is such a complex area, it’s important to find a lawyer who understands these cases.
The most common causes of aviation accidents involve:
- Human error – Even the most reliable fail-safes and redundancies can be undone by human error. While a lot of flying is automated today, pilots and crew members make a variety of decisions and judgment calls, sometimes under pressure. Unfortunately, some mistakes and errors have greater consequences than others.
- Pilot misconduct – Pilots and crew must comply with strict conduct policies to ensure the safety of air operations. But the long hours and the stress of the job can lead pilots and air traffic controllers to use drugs or alcohol to cope. Airlines have a responsibility to make sure that their employees remain committed to the proper standards of conduct.
- Improper or poor training – You may recall issues with Boeing’s 737 Max airplanes that caused multiple crashes a few years ago, killing hundreds of people. Investigators found that inadequate training played a major role in those crashes, leaving the pilots unaware of critical warnings that could have saved the flights.
- Crew or corporate negligence – Negligence often plays a major part in air crashes. Anyone who operates an aircraft has a duty of safety to passengers and any bystanders. This includes airplane crew as well as corporate higher-ups who make decisions about employment, fleet maintenance, and aircraft upkeep. Examples of negligence could include: delaying necessary repairs to save money, making pilots work overtime against the law, or just failing to operate the aircraft in a reasonable way – such as a pilot who acts in a way that’s contrary to their training or industry knowledge.
- Improper maintenance – Planes, helicopters, and other aircraft are sophisticated pieces of machinery that must be maintained properly to function. Pushing off essential maintenance or performing maintenance improperly can lead to serious technical problems and crashes. Improper maintenance can be a problem when third-party repair companies don’t operate up to the necessary standards.
- Design or manufacturing defects – An aircraft may be designed or manufactured with a defect or flaw that makes it dangerous when it otherwise would not be. For example, the Boeing 737 Max jets were also found to have a defect or “fatal flaw” that played a role in the crashes. This is why quality checks are so important. Even the safest products can become hazardous when they’re created with defects.
- Runway problems – Not all aircraft-related accidents happen up in the air. Some of them happen on the ground, during taxi, take off, or landing. These incidents may happen because of poor communication or even bad weather. Close to the runway, pilots have less time to take action, the planes are much closer together, and slow speeds make aircraft harder to maneuver in an emergency. A collision, runway excursion (where the plane overshoots the runway), or runway confusion could be catastrophic.
- Visual flight rules (VFR) – Many people assume that aircraft accidents happen most often in bad weather. But most incidents happen in broad daylight. Smaller planes and helicopters made for private use are the most at risk when they fly in heavily populated areas and rely simply on visuals to stay away from other aircraft. Because these smaller aircraft don’t have the help of air traffic control – and because there are usually no set routes – popular tourist spots end up with a lot of collisions and accidents.
Some causes are more common than others. Compared to commercial flights, charter planes are 9 times more likely and private aircraft are 33 times more likely to crash.
Once you understand the cause of an aviation accident, you can establish who should be held responsible for the crash. This is an important step in getting the justice you deserve.
When you work with a lawyer throughout this process, you have an advocate in your corner at all times – looking out for the best interests of you and your family. It can be easy to feel lost in this process, but your attorney can keep you informed and updated with the investigation. Your lawyer is your best chance at being heard and not getting lost in the shuffle.
Who Is Responsible in a Plane Crash?
Putting responsibility where it belongs is a critical part of any aviation accident case. But nobody wants to take responsibility for causing severe injuries or hundreds of deaths. The guilty parties may try to fight you every step of the way. This is where a lawyer comes in.
Under the law, whoever is responsible for an aircraft accident or plane crash could be made to compensate victims or their survivors for all that they’ve suffered and lost.
The following parties could be on the hook for paying you damages in an air crash lawsuit:
- Plane operators or owners, whether it’s a small company or a major airline
- Pilots or other aircrew who act negligently or make mistakes on the job
- Air traffic controllers or other personnel on the ground who work for airports
- Third-party companies responsible for maintenance and repairs on planes
- Aircraft manufacturers who create defective products or parts
From your point of view, it doesn’t necessarily matter who’s at fault. The only thing that matters is that you were injured or you lost a loved one because of someone else’s actions. Your attorney should be able to investigate who’s responsible on your behalf.
The legal team at Sepulveda Sanchez Law Firm has the expertise and determination to fight for you even in light of complicated laws and bullying tactics by the defense. You can rest assured we’ll get to the bottom of your case with dogged dedication to the pursuit of justice.
Can You Sue After a Plane Crash?
The only way to know for sure if you have a legal claim to sue after a plane crash is to talk to an aviation lawyer about your case. When you call us at Sepulveda Sanchez Law, we go over all the facts and details of the incident with you and then make our assessment.
It’s important to get in touch with a lawyer as soon as possible because of what is called the statute of limitations. This law limits the amount of time you have to file a legal claim. In many aviation cases, the statute of limitations is 2 years – but it could be as short as 6 months. If you miss the statute of limitations deadline, you could lose your chance to file a legal claim forever.
Filing a lawsuit after an aviation crash may feel intimidating, but an experienced lawyer can help you level the playing field against major corporations and airlines.
What About International Plane Crashes?
International flights get even more complicated because every country has different laws and different safety standards. Some countries are signatories of the Montreal Convention, which sets standards and rules for passengers and luggage across international borders – but others are not. Some country laws may limit the amount of compensation you can get in a lawsuit.
At Sepulveda Sanchez Law, we can help – whether your aviation accident happened just over the U.S. border or across the globe. Our legal team can help you successfully navigate international laws while seeking justice for the losses you’ve suffered.
For example, even if you can’t bring a legal claim against an international airline, you may be able to sue manufacturers, contractors, or other third parties who may be at fault.
How Are Air Crash Victims and Families Compensated?
If you or a loved one suffered an injury on an international flight with a country that’s in the Montreal Convention, the amount of compensation you get will be limited per passenger according to international law. Currently, the maximum amount is in the low six figures.
However, there is no limit to the compensation you may get in a U.S. aviation accident. Aviation lawsuits in the United States put the average value of a life lost at $5.2 million.
The amount of compensation you get may vary by state and could cover:
- Economic damages such as property damage, medical expenses, and “direct financial losses” such as lost income. You can recover economic damages if you become unable to work because of an injury caused by an aviation crash or if your household loses a major source of income because you lost a loved one in a crash.
- Non-economic damages, such as pain, suffering, and emotional distress could apply to the victims themselves or even their surviving family members.
- Punitive damages punish bad actors for bad behavior. You may get punitive damages if the airline or aircraft operator acted in a way that was unethical or reckless.
Plane crash survivor settlements can total anywhere from hundreds of thousands of dollars to millions of dollars. Your case may go to trial or you may settle out of court. The stronger your case, the more likely an airline will be to give you a settlement offer.
How Can An Aviation Accident Attorney Help?
You have rights – whether you’re a passenger on an international flight, a commuter on a single-engine jet, or a tourist on a chartered aircraft. If you’ve been involved in an aviation accident, you’ll need help protecting your rights in a court of law.
A good aviation lawyer can help you:
- Stay updated on the investigation into the accident,
- Stand up to major airlines and large corporations,
- Navigate state, federal, and international laws,
- Find the best way forward for your case,
- Put responsibility and blame where it belongs,
- Hold the responsible people accountable for the crash,
- Take your case to trial or negotiate a settlement, and
- Get compensation for your pain and suffering.
The stronger your case, the better your chances are of success. At Sepulveda Sanchez Law, we’re passionate about making sure our clients get the compensation they deserve. When it comes to aviation law, we can help you untangle even the most complicated cases.
Contact us now to speak to an aviation lawyer about your case as soon as possible.