aIRPLANE ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS
Plane crashes and aviation accidents in Virginia are rarer than car, truck, bus or motorcycle crashes. However, by their very nature, they often result in a considerable loss of life.
Fortunately, crashes involving commercial airliners occur very infrequently. When they do take place, they can result in a massive loss of life. Crashes of light planes and helicopters happen periodically in Virginia. Microlights and hot air balloon crashes have also resulted in fatalities.
We associate aviation accidents with crashes but other things can go wrong in the air. Passengers can be injured by turbulence and high profile lawsuits have been brought against flight attendants. Passengers may be hurt by falling luggage or slip and fall accidents at airports.
Aviation lawsuits involve complicated legal and factual challenges and numerous parties may be liable for an injury or death including a pilot, an airline, flight crew, air traffic controllers, airport management, a handling company or a private charter company. Your attorney must be able to establish the cause of the accident, pinpoint negligence and cause, and determine what laws are applicable after an air crash.
How Many People Are Killed in Aviation Accidents in the United States?
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, there were 1,290 aviation accidents in 2014, leading to 444 deaths in the United States. None of these deaths were linked to regulated air carriers. The vast amount of accidents and injuries occur in general aviation which includes private and recreational airplanes.
Notable Plane Crashes and Aviation Accidents in Virginia
- April 2015 – three people were killed when a 1975 Mooney M20F crashed in foggy weather close to Norfolk Airport in Norfolk Botanical Garden.
- August 2016 – six people were killed when a light plane caught fire as it was attempting to land at Shannon Airport in Fredericksburg.
- August 2017 – a helicopter with two Virginia State Police troopers on board crashed as they policed the white nationalists’ rally in Charlottesville. Both of the troopers were killed.
- April 2018 – A Cessna 525, N525P, was destroyed after it crashed into a mountain in Albemarle County, northwest of Crozet. The pilot died in the crash.
- July 2018 – a helicopter crashed into a townhouse in Williamsburg. The crash and subsequent fire killed an elderly woman living in the home and the pilot.
Incidents that led to a loss of life in 2018 outside Virginia included the deaths of nine members of the Puerto Rico National Guard when a Lockheed C-130 crashed on the island and the death of a female passenger on South Western Airlines. An engine failure caused engine parts to shatter a window. The woman was sucked out. Although fellow passengers pulled her back in, she suffered fatal brain damage in the incident.
Causes of Plane Crashes and Aviation Accidents in Virginia
The Federal Aviation Administration lists a number of causes of air accidents including.
- Engine failure
- Hazardous cargo
- Pilot error
- Running out of fuel
- Bad weather
- Bird strikes
- Structural failure
Lawsuits Against Airlines and Other Operators
Lawsuits against airlines are often high profile in nature. In 2017, Kentucky physician Dr. David Dao suffered a broken nose and a concussion and lost two front teeth when he was dragged off a United Airlines flight. The incident went viral when it was recorded on video. Dao later received an undisclosed settlement from United.
A year later, the former police officer who dragged Dao off the flight, sued United and the City of Chicago, claiming he was not adequately trained to deal with such an incident.
Operators are often to blame for aviation accidents. In some cases, charter aircraft operators were found to be flying aging and defective planes. Some aircraft operators failed to adequately maintain light planes and helicopters, leading to mechanical issues and crashes. In rare cases, pilots took passengers up in the air after consuming alcohol or under the influence of drugs.
In other cases, skydiving accidents resulted in terrible injuries or deaths and hot air balloons have crashes on power lines when the operator should not have taken flights in bad weather.
Contact an Experienced Virginia Aviation Attorney
If you have suffered injuries in an aviation incident or lost a loved one in a plane crash it’s important to have an experienced Virginia trial lawyer on your side. Please contact The Smith Law Center today at (757) 244-7000.
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