Aviation Accident Attorney in South Carolina
Airplane travel has become much safer over the past 30 years, but accidents happen much more frequently than people imagine. Although jumbo jet accidents make the evening news, accidents involving smaller aircraft and charter planes typically do not. Still, victims and their family members face a challenging legal landscape in their journey to receive compensation following these collisions, many of which cause devastating injuries.
We Can Help Anyone Injured on an Airplane
Aircraft vary considerably in size, with some holding thousands of people while others are only large enough for 2. We can help you if you were injured on:
Domestic or international commercial flights
Types of Accidents
Passengers are hurt in a variety of accidents:
Crash landings. These are the most dramatic accidents; victims can suffer horrible injuries when the plane crashes, including fractures, back injuries, whiplash, and chest injuries.
Turbulence. This is a more common accident than a crash landing. In fact, dozens of people are injured each month due to turbulence, which can send unbuckled passengers flying throughout the cabin. Many people suffer head injuries, lacerations, bruises, and fractures when an airplane hits a patch of turbulence.
Fires. A fire is a terrifying event on an airplane. It can quickly consume the aircraft. Many victims suffer smoke inhalation, burns, and injuries when fleeing a fire.
What Causes Aviation Accidents?
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has the power to investigate civil accidents, and they typically issue a report identifying the cause. Some of the most common reasons include:
Pilot error. Pilots make mistakes out of carelessness, confusion, or distraction. Pilots can also work late hours and fly in the middle of the night, leading to fatigue and sloppiness. According to most studies, pilot error accounts for roughly half of all plane crashes.
Airplane defect. Airplanes are very complicated pieces of equipment. A defect in any component part could render the aircraft unstable, leading to accidents. Some defects are the result of poor maintenance, but other defects are part of the original design or manufacturing of the craft.
Inclement weather. Modern aircraft have many instruments to help pilots fly in poor weather. Nonetheless, thunderstorms and fog can reduce visibility and increase turbulence. Even experienced pilots can lose plane control when the weather is poor.
Errors by air traffic control. Pilots rely on air traffic control around airports. These controllers help direct hundreds of planes to take off and land. Unfortunately, any mistake can lead to a terrible accident.
What to Do Following after Suffering an Injury
Few people ever really believe they’ll get into an accident while flying. Nonetheless, if tragedy strikes, you should take simple steps to keep yourself safe. We recommend the following:
1. Listen to the crew. The moments after a crash or fire could be chaotic. The crew are trained on how to efficiently get people off the plane, so follow their directions.
2. Leave belongings behind. This is hard for people to accept. But if a fire has broken out on a plane, you don’t have time to haul carry-on luggage out. Get off the plane and leave your possessions behind.
3. Move away from the plane. You should try to get at least 500 feet away.
4. Request medical care. Injuries can often worsen without adequate medical care, so ask for help if you are bleeding or feel pain.
5. Contact a South Carolina aviation accident attorney. The airline might try to make a quick settlement offer or have a lawyer call you at home. You should have a lawyer on your own side to help guide you through the process.
Building Your Claim for Compensation
Airplane accident victims come to us after suffering injuries in an incident. They have many questions, particularly about whether they qualify for compensation.
The good news is that you should receive compensation if someone’s negligence or other wrongful conduct led to your accident. For example, if a pilot was exhausted and made a mistake, then you can typically sue the pilot and their employer. You might sue the airplane manufacturer if a manufacturing defect led to an accident.
Before we can file a lawsuit, we need to fully understand what happened. The NTSB performs detailed investigations, and we can use any evidence they collect in your case. Typically, the evidence includes eyewitness testimony and “black box” data, which should record if anything went wrong with the plane during the flight.
Other information is in your hands. For example, you should have medical bills and similar evidence to make a claim for injuries. These documents will help us put a dollar value on your claim if tragedy strikes.
Why Aviation Accidents Are Complicated
These accidents are often mass torts, meaning dozens of people are injured at the same time. When that happens, many questions arise about where the litigation will take place. Other questions involve which law applies—the law of the state where the plane took off? The state where the plane landed? The state where you bought a ticket? These are thorny legal questions that need to be answered.
If a loved one dies, surviving family members might raise a wrongful death claim. This is a unique type of lawsuit with different rules. Your attorney should be aware of how to file one and what compensation family members can receive.
Speak with an Aviation Accident Attorney in South Carolina
Although air travel continues to improve, not a year goes by without an airplane accident. At Surasky Law, our team is fully committed to seeking compensation for your medical care, lost income, and pain. Contact us today to learn more about your options.