Philadelphia Aviation Accidents Attorney
As of December 2016, it had been seven years since any United States-certified scheduled airline had a fatal crash. The last fatal commercial airliner accident occurred in 2009, when a plane traveling from Newark, N.J., to Buffalo, N.Y., crashed near its destination, killing all 49 occupants and a bystander.
Although commercial plane crashes are rare, aviation accidents, in general, are quite common. Many of those accidents may go unnoticed by the public, because news organizations might not report non-fatal aviation accidents or single-fatality, private-plane accidents.
Aviation accidents may occur for a number of reasons – severe weather, poor visibility, pilot inexperience or error, mechanical malfunction – and when injuries occur, victims deserve to know what went wrong. If any error or negligence contributed to the accident, injury victims could be entitled to compensation.
In 2014, a minor runway accident at Philadelphia International Airport injured passengers. In its investigation of the accident, the National Transportation Safety Board found crew error was the cause of the accident.
The NTSB said the co-pilot entered the wrong runway information in the flight computer before leaving the terminal. The captain noticed the mistake, but no one adjusted the thrust and speed required for the correct runway. The pilot then misinterpreted a warning signal and aborted takeoff, although the plane could have taken off safely, the NTSB said. The plane was traveling too fast to safely stop, which is why the plane’s nose hit the ground, jarring passengers.
In 2015, a plane slid off a snowy runway at LaGuardia Airport in New York City, struck a fence, and nearly fell into Flushing Bay. The accident injured 29 people, five of whom were transported to a hospital for treatment of injuries. The NTSB found several errors had occurred:
- Information provided to the captain and first officer was incorrect, regarding the amount of snow on the runway.
- The captain used excess reverse thrust, which contributed to the slide-off.
- The captain did not disengage reverse thrust, despite the first officer’s telling him to do that three times.
- The cabin crew did not immediately evacuate the airplane as they should have.
Small Aircraft Accidents
At small regional airports, like Trenton-Mercer Airport, in Mercer County, N.J., and Brandywine Airport, in West Chester, PA., small plane accidents happen frequently during takeoff and landing. Often, these accidents cause no injuries or fatalities. But in 2017, four single-fatality crashes occurred in Pennsylvania and three crashes killed five people in New Jersey.
One of the New Jersey accidents was a helicopter crash that killed the pilot and country music star Troy Gentry. The NTSB’s initial report indicates the pilot was giving Gentry a sightseeing tour before reporting sudden engine trouble and attempting to make an emergency landing. Full details of the crash were unknown as of November 2017.
Helicopters, small planes, and hot air balloons offer little protection for passengers when a crash occurs, so passenger safety depends primarily on pilot experience. Inexperience or lack of concern for safety can put passengers in grave danger.
The deadliest hot air balloon crash in the United States occurred in Texas in 2016 – 15 passengers and the pilot died.
The ensuing NTSB investigation found the pilot had chosen to fly even when the cloud cover posed a safety threat. The pilot also had sedatives and opioids in his bloodstream at the time of the crash and had four previous convictions for driving while intoxicated. Those DWI offenses resulted in suspension of his driver’s license, yet he had a license to pilot the balloon.
What Injured Parties Can Do
If you’ve been injured in an aviation accident, or lost a loved one in a crash, the most important thing you can do is contact a personal injury attorney. It may take weeks or months for investigators to determine the cause of the accident, and in the meantime, your medical costs may become overwhelming, especially if the injured party has lost income.
Aviation accidents aren’t unexplainable – usually, investigators determine that a number of errors or mechanical failures contributed to an accident. Whatever those errors may be, a personal injury attorney will find ways to hold people accountable for their actions.
Your aviation accident could entitle you to compensation for your injuries and losses. Contact Wapner Newman online, or at (800) 529-6600, to request a free, no-obligation case consultation.