Another complexity is jurisdiction. You must file the lawsuit in the proper jurisdiction. State, federal and international laws may apply. If an aircraft accident results in wrongful death, states generally have jurisdiction. The plaintiff’s residence and/or place of work also have an impact on jurisdiction. To further complicate matters, the location of the accident and the location of the main operating hub for the aircraft also play a part in jurisdiction. After reviewing the facts of your case, your aviation lawyer will work with you to determine the most appropriate jurisdiction to file litigation.
As with most other commercial accidents, aviation accidents are often complicated because of the number of parties that could share in the responsibility for the accident. Some of those who might share in the responsibility include the pilot, air traffic control, or even the manufacturer of the aircraft. A skilled aviation attorney finds all of those who could share in the responsibility and includes them in the settlement negotiations or litigation.
Contact a Greenville SC Aviation Lawyer Before the Statute of Limitations Runs Out
Every state has its own statute of limitations for filing litigation in a personal injury case. In South Carolina, you have three years to file a personal injury lawsuit, unless you meet certain exceptions. However, if another state holds jurisdiction, you could have less time to file – or you could have more time. One of the first things an aviation lawyer must learn is jurisdiction – and then the statute of limitations for that jurisdiction.
Types of Aviation Accidents
An aircraft could crash for many reasons. Aviation accidents also include accidents that happen on the ground at the airport. Aviation accidents also include:
- Helicopter accidents.
- Negligent maintenance.
- Pilot error.
- Product defects in aircraft.
- Manufacturing defects in aircraft.
- Improper training in Manufacturing
- Improper instructor training
- In-flight injuries, including items falling from overhead storage and injuries from beverage carts.
- Slip and fall accidents on the aircraft, in the terminal, and on airport property.
- Failure to yield right of way.
- Failure of airline personnel to act in a medical emergency
- Accidents that result in bodily injury in the terminal, including baggage claim accidents, security checkpoint accidents, and other airline terminal accidents.
Aviation Crash Information
After an aviation crash, it is vital to retain an aviation lawyer immediately. Several events take place that help in your attorney’s investigation of your case. If the crash happened in the United States, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigates aviation incidents. They evaluate the wreckage and other evidence at the crash site to determine the cause of the crash.
In addition to the NTSB’s investigation, the FAA and airline manufacturers might conduct separate investigations. The Aviation Safety Reporting System also interviews controllers, pilots, and other aviation personnel. All of these reports can help your attorney’s investigation into your case, including learning who he or she should name in the lawsuit.
Evidence becomes inaccessible after a time, including flight records and witnesses. Additionally, witnesses are more apt to remember details that could help your case if they are interviewed closer to the date of the accident.
Finally, small aircraft and some larger private aircraft may not have a black box and/or other detailed flight records to rely on.
Wrongful Deaths and Aviation Accidents
Aviation cases not only cause injuries, but they also may cause wrongful deaths. We understand that if you lost a loved one, you are trying to come to terms with the loss of your loved one, and you have a lot of stress – financial and other. The sooner we can get your case started, the sooner you might collect damages that are due to you.
While money does not bring a loved one back, it can reduce the financial stress of worrying about how you are going to provide for your family.
General damages, sometimes referred to as economic damages, are those that have a specific value. They include past and future medical expenses, past and future lost wages, funeral, cremation and burial expenses, and replacement of personal property damaged in the accident. Courts order economic damages in an attempt to make you whole again.
Courts might also order defendants to pay special damages, often referred to as non-economic damages. As with economic damages, the court orders the defendants to pay non-economic damages in an attempt to make you whole again. However, you generally get non-economic damages if doctors expect your injuries to result in long-term or permanent disabilities. While insurance companies might have their own definition of what constitutes a long-term disability, the Social Security Administration defines a long-term disability as one that is expected to last longer than 12 months or result in your death.
Non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering, including emotional distress
- Loss of use of a bodily function or body part
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium.
The court only orders a defendant to pay punitive damages if the defendant’s actions were grossly negligent or intentional. Ordering punitive damages is a way to punish a defendant for his or her actions that caused your injuries or the loss of a loved one. The court orders punitive damages as an amount that is separate from economic and non-economic damages. Additionally, punitive damages are limited, with certain exceptions.
Working with Insurance Companies
People often wonder if they should attempt to settle with an insurance company on their own. While that is certainly your choice, we do not recommend it. In fact, because insurance companies use what you say to deny your claim or to offer you an amount that doesn’t cover your injuries and/or losses, we recommend that you only give the insurance company your contact information and your aviation accident lawyer’s information and let an attorney help you file your claim.
Contact a Greenville SC Aviation Accident Lawyer
If you suffer from injuries caused by an aircraft accident or injuries that happened on airport property, or if you lost a loved one in an aircraft incident, contact a Greenville SC airplane injury attorney for a free consultation.