Philadelphia Airplane Accident Attorney

Highway sign reading Philadelphia International Airport

If you have been severely injured or tragically lost a loved one in an airplane accident, the accomplished law firm of Cooper Schall & Levy in Philadelphia is ready to help. For decades, our airplane accident lawyers have been fighting for the rights of innocent victims and their families. 

Airplane Accident Lawyer, Philadelphia PA

Though airplane accidents are very rare, the fact that they most often result in deaths or catastrophic injuries of passengers and crew is awful to contemplate. When they involve commercial aircraft, there is added fear in the reality that hundreds of lives are at risk in a single event. It should be noted, however, that while private planes carry many fewer passengers, statistically speaking they put those passengers at far greater risk.  

In contrast to most road accidents, airplane accidents present no possibility that those injured or killed bear any responsibility for the injuries they have incurred. Nonetheless, airplane accidents typically are complex. Because of the speed and altitude at which airplanes travel, and the level of destruction that occurs when a plane crash takes place, it is often very challenging, even for experts, to decipher the cause of the accident. 

Another complicating factor is that airplane crashes rarely happen in accessible locations. Investigating an airplane accident in the middle of a desert, on snow-covered mountains, or in the ocean’s depths may not even be possible. All of these factors typically add up to a lengthy investigation and require that innocent victims of the crash retain the services of an experienced, highly capable airplane accident lawyer.

Causes of Airplane Accidents

Despite the federal and state laws enacted to keep the aviation industry safe: the rigorous training of pilots and other personnel, the focused work of air traffic controllers, and the regular safety inspections of all commercial aircraft — plane accidents still occur. 

In a very small percentage of cases, plane accidents in the U.S. are due to intentional criminal acts or to bird strikes. For the most part, professional mistakes or mechanical failure are to blame. Though bad weather is often a contributing factor, negligence is typically an underlying cause. The following are the most common causes of airplane accidents:

Pilot error

Though we are all human and subject to human error, it is distressing to realize that even pilots, who have so many lives in their hands, are sometimes exhausted, physically below par, suffering from an undiagnosed medical condition, emotionally overwrought, and even, in spite of random drug and alcohol testing, impaired by substances. Any of these can interfere with the pilot’s ability to remain alert and responsive.

Mechanical defects 

As anyone who has looked at a cockpit dashboard knows, planes are much more complicated than cars. After all, they are not traveling on the ground in four directions, but at high altitudes in six. Because of the intricacies of the systems involved, a problem with one small part or indicator can result in a serious malfunction. It is frightening to realize that a manufacturing defect, a faulty repair, a failure to replace worn parts — any of these can threaten the plane’s functioning and cause a crash.

Weather problems

Even in these days of advanced weather prediction, when air traffic controllers and pilots are constantly apprised of meteorological conditions, wind gusts, heavy rain, snow, sleet, or fog can occur without warning. Pilots, even those with extensive experience, can become disoriented and have trouble stabilizing the aircraft. This is especially true during takeoff and landing.

Air traffic controller error

Most of us think of pilots as the ones in control, but air controllers, since they are directing not one but many planes at the same time, often have even more power. Miscalculations or mistakes on their part can result not only in single plane accidents but in collisions involving more than one plane.

Other causes of plane accidents

Other causes of plane accidents include the above-mentioned bird strikes (either against the windshield or into the motor), animals loose on the tarmac, and debris or defects on the runway. In the last case, poor maintenance by repair crews may be to blame.  

On What Grounds Can You Sue an Airline?

If you have been injured in an airplane accident, there may be grounds to pursue legal action against an airline or other responsible parties. Some potential grounds for an airline lawsuit include:

  • Negligence – The airline or its employees failed to act with proper care and take reasonable precautions to ensure passenger safety. This could include pilot error, inadequate maintenance, or poor training procedures.
  • Product Liability – There was a flaw, defect or malfunction in the aircraft itself or a vital component part that contributed to the accident. The aircraft or part manufacturer could potentially be sued.
  • Regulation Violation – The airline violated applicable aviation safety regulations set forth by regulatory agencies like the FAA. Violating these established standards opens them to liability.
  • Contract Breach – The airline failed to uphold its legal duty to safely transport passengers under the contract of carriage.
  • Misrepresentation – The airline made false or misleading claims about their safety standards, training, or maintenance procedures.
  • Premises Liability – If the accident happened due to unsafe conditions at the airport itself, the airport may share liability.

An experienced airplane accident attorney can help determine the strongest grounds for seeking recourse based on a thorough investigation of the specific circumstances.

Can You Sue An Airline After An Accident?

Yes, airline passengers absolutely have the right to sue an airline after an accident. Airlines have a legal duty to ensure the safety of their passengers to the best of their ability. If an accident occurs due to negligence on the part of the airline, you can pursue a lawsuit to recover compensation.

Some specific reasons you may be able to sue an airline after an accident include:

  • Negligent maintenance or mechanical defects
  • Failure to properly train pilots and crew
  • Allowing an unfit pilot to fly
  • Failure to follow safety regulations
  • Poor response to hazardous weather conditions

An experienced airplane accident lawyer can help build a strong case by proving the airline’s legal liability. While lawsuits do not undo the harm caused, they ensure airlines are held accountable and provide injured victims and families compensation for losses. Do not hesitate to explore your legal options if you have been harmed by an airline’s negligence.

How Long Does Your Flight Have To Be To Receive Compensation?

Whether you are entitled to compensation after an airplane accident does not depend on the length of the flight. Passengers on short commuter flights have the same right to fair compensation for injuries, losses and damages as those on longer flights.

The laws cover all commercial airline passengers regardless of the destination or duration of the flight. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a plane crash, you can pursue a claim against the responsible parties no matter how long or short the flight was. The length of the flight does not impact your legal rights or ability to recover damages.

Damages We Will Fight to Recover 

We will seek reimbursement for all costs and losses related to the airplane accident, including:

  • Medical and rehabilitative costs
  • Long-term nursing care
  • Psychological counseling
  • Lost income, present and future
  • Lost earning power
  • Replacement services (e.g. house cleaning, dog walking)
  • Pain and suffering
  • Permanent disability
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

In cases of wrongful death, our airplane accident lawyers in Philadelphia will fight for damages for end-of-life medical expenses, funeral costs, and loss of income and companionship. Depending on the cause of the accident, we may also be able to recover punitive damages.

The Services Our Airplane Accident Lawyers Provide

We will be proactive about protecting your rights against clever opposing lawyers and insurance companies reluctant to pay your reasonable claim in full by:

  • Examining all recorded data 
  • Continuing to follow new evidence as it is discovered
  • Inspecting airline records of routine inspections, prior accidents, pilot history, etc.
  • Checking medical records concerning your injuries
  • Consulting with experts in related fields (e.g. medicine, aviation)
  • Using well-honed legal tactics to give you the best chance of receiving maximum damages 

Our track record of successful verdicts and settlements will reassure you that we have the capability and determination to win the compensation you need and deserve.

Contact Us to Protect Your Rights After an Airplane Accident

Personal injury laws in Pennsylvania and throughout the county legally entitle those who have been harmed due to another’s negligence (on land, sea, or in the air) to receive compensation. Our airplane accident attorneys are committed to fighting aggressively to make that happen. After the overwhelming trauma you and your family have been through, we will offer you emotional support as well as powerful legal representation. Contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation.

Cooper Schall & Levy airplane accident lawyers serve Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as well as neighboring counties such as Montgomery County and Delaware County and cover neighborhoods such as Norristown and Drexel Hill.