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Who Is At Fault for a Plane Crash?

Plane crashes often result in both physical and emotional trauma. Fatal crashes almost always cause multiple deaths. Because of the visceral nature of airplane crashes, many complex redundant systems have been developed to ensure that that which goes up comes back down — safely. What that means for a plane crash lawyer in Florida, however, is simply that there's a lot of different people who could be to blame. There are lots of reasons why planes might crash, and each one has its own different liable group:

  • Design flaws
  • Air traffic controller negligence
  • Pilot error
  • Improper maintenance
  • Fuel contamination

Design flaws can go as far back as the developer who first put the airplane's schematics down on AutoCAD, but more often they happen during the production stage. If a design flaw crept in during the sketching or the manufacturing process and went undetected, the airplane's creator can be the liable party.

Air traffic controllers guide pilots through the most dangerous parts of every flight — take-off and landing. If the control tower suddenly stops reporting data, or worse, starts giving the pilot incorrect data, the pilot can do exactly what he's been (or is being) told to do and still end up having a horrible accident. If this is the case, liability clearly rests with the air traffic controller.

At the same time, the pilot himself can often be at fault, due to ignoring or misunderstanding the air traffic controller. Even if the pilot wasn't the one physically controlling the plane at the time (often the copilot will fly the plane if the pilot is occupied), the pilot is assumed to be the one ultimately in control of the plane, and can be found liable by that doctrine.

Improper maintenance lays the liability on yet another group — the crew that is responsible for making sure the plane is flight-ready between trips.

Fuel contamination is a special case, because there is very little way to tell how the fuel became contaminated. It may be a design flaw that allowed water to creep into the fuel tank under certain kinds of wind shear, or it could be that someone in the between-flight prep crew sabotaged the plane, or it might just be an accident like a bird or piece of debris hitting the fuselage in a way that caused a hole into the fuel tank.

Because of the large number of potential liable parties, the plane crash attorneys of Florida have a lot of work in front of them with each new case. That's why, if you or someone you know has been involved in a plane crash, it's critical to get a plane crash lawyer involved as early as possible.