Wrongful Death in Aviation Accidents 4 Key Things to Know

June 12, 2023

Daily hundreds of thousands of people fly across the globe.  The worldwide airline industry is known to transport billions of people every year.

A majority of these flights are safe and reach their final destination with almost no issues. However, sometimes a catastrophic accident is inevitable resulting in a deadly and devastating airplane crash or accident.

If you lose a loved one in an aviation accident, you have grounds to file a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death aviation accident attorney can help in investigating the accident to determine the real cause of the crash.

If the investigation shows that the aviation crash occurred because of someone’s negligence, an experienced personal injury attorney can help safeguard your legal rights and collect the evidence required for building a compelling claim for wrongful death damages.

What is a Wrongful death in aviation accidents?

Wrongful death in aviation accidents occurs when a person dies in an airplane accident due to the negligence or wrongful act of another person.

It could be negligence by the pilots, aircraft engineers, aircraft mechanics or ground crew.  Any person or company related to an aviation accident can be considered responsible for negligence or wrongful death.

Moreover, the aircraft manufacturer can be also held responsible for wrongful death in aviation accident if the crash occurred due to a faulty aircraft design or maintenance.

To understand more about wrongful death lawsuits related to aviation crashes, here are four key things to know.

  1. Statute of Limitations – The statute of limitations to file a wrongful death lawsuit in California is up to 2 years post the victim’s death. The victim’s family or kin will lose all rights to recover any monetary damage if the lawsuit is filed later than the time period mentioned in the statute of limitations.

The investigation of a wrongful death case in Aviation accidents is complex and may take several months before determining the actual cause of the accident and the parties responsible.

  1. Proving Negligence – To file a wrongful death lawsuit, it is important to first prove negligence as the cause of an aviation accident or airplane crash. The plaintiff will be required to prove that the defendant acted unreasonably and that their actions caused the accident resulting in the death of the victim. The plaintiff’s lawyers have to prove that the victim’s death was directly caused by the defendant’s negligence.
  2. Responsible Parties – It is very important to identify the responsible parties in an aviation accident. It could be the airplane manufacturer or the owner of the airline, the pilot or the aircraft mechanic. A thorough investigation needs to be done to determine the actual cause of the accident and identify the responsible parties for the accident.

2 government agencies play a significant role in investigating an airplane accident – the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The NTSB is a government investigation agency that looks into mass transportation vehicle accidents like commercial airlines, buses and trains.

NTSB is responsible for determining the “probable cause” of the accident and gives recommendations to improve safety measures to avoid such accidents.

The FAA creates the regulations for operating an air traffic control system. It gets involved in an aviation accident case in case of a violation of its regulations resulting in the accident.

  1. Claiming Damages – In case of a wrongful death in aviation accident, the victim’s spouse, legal guardian, a personal estate representative or the next of kin can file a lawsuit claiming damages against the responsible parties. People who were present in the “danger zone” and suffered emotional trauma due to the accident can also file a lawsuit.

In a wrongful death claim, damages claimed could include lost earning power, pain and suffering, and medical expenses. The victim’s family may also be compensated for the emotional trauma they have suffered due to the accident.

The spouse of the victim can also claim damages for loss of consortium. The next of kin may also claim compensation for losing their loved one, losing prospective inheritance, losing companionship, and for the grief, mental anguish, and emotional distress they experienced.

In some cases, the family may also be awarded punitive damages if the behavior that led to the accident was egregious.

Why Contact Khashan Law Firm

When your loved one is the victim of an aviation accident, understanding the state laws related to wrongful death is very crucial.

You should consider speaking to experienced personal injury lawyers at Khashan Law Firm to discuss your legal rights Our team of knowledgeable and experienced lawyers will help investigate the accident, collect required evidence, and perform legal research to help you win your case.

We will represent you in the investigation and court proceedings to ensure you receive the fair compensation you deserve.