How Can You Hold Manufacturers Liable for an Aviation Accident?
New York City, NY top attorney, handles airline injuries & death, MTA, bus accidents, wrongful death, construction, medical malpractice, and doctor’s error cases. Attorney Jonathan C. Reiter consistently delivers results.
Commercial aviation accidents are not as common as they used to be, but when they do occur, they are often devastating.
That’s why determining fault in these types of accidents is so important because it can help prevent another catastrophe, and it provides victims with compensation and a sense that justice has been served.
And yet the question of who is ultimately responsible in these events can be a difficult one to answer. But under specific circumstances, the manufacturer of the airplane and/or an airplane component can be held liable if that component was faulty or did not perform as intended.
This type of liability is known as product liability, and it can apply to aviation accidents if the conditions are right.
Fault in Aviation Accidents
The challenge in identifying who is at fault in aviation accidents is that several parties are candidates for liability, including:
- Pilots – Did a pilot make an error or use poor judgment that directly led to the commercial plane accidents? Did a pilot suffer from bad judgment due to taking drugs or drinking alcohol, or because of poor training?
- Air traffic control – The air traffic control system is designed to guide pilots during takeoff, cruising, and landing. However, air traffic controllers can communicate incorrect information that can cause pilots to make the wrong decisions, thereby causing an accident. Fatigue can also play a part in causing an air traffic controller to communicate the wrong directions, or to fail to monitor two planes that are flying in the same airspace too closely.
- Airline – An airline could be at fault if the plane crashed because it was overloaded with luggage, or if there was a mechanical problem that wasn’t fixed prior to the plane taking off. It is an airline’s responsibility to monitor and track all processes that could cause an accident to occur.
- Manufacturer – If a component on the plane failed, such as an engine or a wing, the manufacturer could be held liable for not making a product that worked as it was designed to do.
Aviation Product Liability
Product liability is a claim against a manufacturer for putting a defective product into the marketplace. An aviation product liability claim is a claim against a manufacturer for selling a defective aircraft component.
The product liability law requires manufacturers to make products that are designed and manufactured to meet the basic expectations of a buyer and the ultimate user, and which are not defective.
For example, passengers have the right to expect the manufacturer of an airplane engine to make an engine that doesn’t fail in mid-flight. They also have a right to expect that the airplane is structurally sound and that the various systems aboard the plane work properly and are not hazardous.
An aviation product liability suit could target the manufacturer or the party that assembled or installed the component.
Common types of defects include:
- Design defects – Defects in the design of the aircraft or component
- Manufacturing defects – Defects that happened during manufacturing
- Marketing defects – Marketing flaws like incomplete instructions or lack of warning of hazards
In aviation product liability, the concept of ‘strict liability’ is often used in these claims. Strict liability means that victims don’t have to show that the manufacturer was negligent, they simply have to show that the product or component was defective.
Strict liability gets rid of the negligence standard that is necessary for most of these claims and boils everything down to whether or not the aircraft and/or some component of the aircraft that failed was defective.
Manhattan Aviation Accidents Attorney
Victims of plane crashes have the right to seek compensation for their injuries and losses, and a Manhattan aviation accidents attorney can provide the representation necessary to protect their rights. These are challenging and complex cases that require a thorough knowledge of the law.
Prior results cannot and do not guarantee or predict a similar outcome with respect to any future case. Recoveries always depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case, the injuries suffered, damages incurred, and the responsibility of those involved.