In late September, a fiery crash at Bexar County regional airport sent two men to the hospital, after two small planes collided while trying to land. The collision caused one of the planes to flip, while the other caught on fire and “became engulfed.” Thankfully, neither man appeared to have sustained life-threatening injuries – but depending on the nature of the situation, a civil lawsuit might be in the offing, if an injured person believes that the harm they suffered occurred as a result of someone else’s negligence or recklessness. If you have been injured in a plane crash, it is worth consulting an attorney so as to understand your options.
Common Causes and Effects
Civil aviation injuries and fatalities are rare, but statistics show them rising in recent years, including one fatality on a commercial airliner in 2018, where a woman was partially sucked out of a plane in flight. The majority of the injuries and deaths in plane crashes happen on small planes, like the ones trying to land in Bexar County, but the injuries themselves tend to be the same types regardless of the nature of the crash. Burns are some of the most common injuries, whether from direct heat or from other sources like electrical implements; others include broken bones, brain injuries, and spinal injuries.
The causes of aviation accidents can be difficult to pinpoint at times, which is why the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) or the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will investigate after a crash. The most frequently seen causes, especially in small plane crashes, include design defects in the airplane itself (that might give rise to a product liability case), negligent maintenance, commercial crew error, and negligence on the part of the air traffic controller. Alleged negligence from another pilot is actually quite an uncommon cause, simply because the frequency of collisions is relatively rare.
How Many Defendants?
If you have been injured in a plane crash, and decide to file a lawsuit to try and recover for your injuries, the next question should be who exactly to file suit against. Depending on the specific situation, more than one person may be liable for the harm you have suffered – for example, if your accident occurred due to negligent maintenance, you might have a case against both the mechanic and against the company that hired them. In the Bexar County crash, the cause has not yet been determined, but if one of the injured men were to file suit, they would be able to do it against many people – either pilot, for example, or an air controller or even the company that produced the airplane.
Keep in mind, if you do decide to file against multiple defendants, that you can only collect their percentage from them – historically it was sometimes possible to collect the entire amount of a jury award from one defendant, but Texas law no longer permits this type of liability finding. Texas follows the comparative fault doctrine, which means that everyone is liable for their percentage of fault – including the plaintiff. If you, the injured plaintiff, is ruled to have been more than 50 percent liable for your own injuries, state law does not permit you to recover.
Contact a New Braunfels Plane Crash Attorney
While plane crashes are comparatively rare, they can cause serious injury and loss if you are unfortunate enough to experience one. If you need help assessing your options after a small plane crash, the skilled New Braunfels plane crash attorneys at the Bettersworth Law Firm can sit down with you and try to get your questions answered. Call us at 830-443-9193 for a free consultation.