Padilla Law Group, LLP

Common causes of airplane crashes

While it is not a common event, airline crashes are often catastrophic, endangering lives on the ground as well as those in the plane. If you travel by plane frequently, whether for business or pleasure, you may  have had your share of tense moments that reminded you of how short life can be. On the other hand, if you were injured or lost a loved one in a plane crash, you undoubtedly have many questions.

The most common question may be, "Why did this happen?" In many cases, the investigation into the causes of a plane crash may take months, leaving victims and survivors waiting and wondering. When the results of airline accident investigations are published, there are often common factors.

Who is responsible?

Investigative reports may word it differently, but many times, a plane crash occurs because someone made a mistake. It makes sense, considering how many lives are in the hands of just a few people. But it may surprise you to consider the steps leading up to a flight disaster in which someone's error places lives in danger.

The weather is obviously out of human hands, but humans approve a flight for takeoff. Taking into consideration the condition of the runway, the wind, precipitation and visibility, controllers on the ground determine the risk in letting your scheduled flight proceed. About 10 percent of airplane crashes occur because of someone's decision to fly in poor weather.

Human error

If investigators blame mechanical errors for the demise of your flight, as they do 20 percent of the time, you may be tempted to dismiss this as another unavoidable accident. However, remember that someone designed, manufactured and sold the defective parts to the airline, and a team of mechanics was probably responsible for the inspection and maintenance of the aircraft.

In addition to those charged with maintaining and repairing the plane, others may contribute to the crash of a flight if they are negligent in their duties, for example:

  • Dispatchers
  • Fuelers
  • Loaders
  • Air traffic controllers

Of course, the pilot may be the one examined most closely following your plane crash. In fact, in 50 percent of doomed flights, pilot error is the chief cause. Some say this is because planes are becoming more complex and therefore more challenging to manage. Mistakes may occur at any stage of the flight, from an improperly programmed computer to a miscalculation of fuel use. In rare cases, simple carelessness may bring down a plane full of people onto an unsuspecting California neighborhood.

If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a plane crash, you have every right to know the answers to your questions and know your rights where potential compensation is concerned. Speaking with an attorney who has experience helping victims of aviation accidents is a wise move.

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