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Time limits set by the General Aviation Revitalization Act

People who travel in private planes and small aircraft might not realize that they don't have strong protections against manufacturer defects in some cases. The General Aviation Revitalization Act of 1994 errs on the side of the manufacturer if the aircraft is more than 18 years old. Many private planes fit in to that older age bracket.

President Bill Clinton signed the bill into law in 1994 to help prevent consumers from seeking compensation due to failing components of aircraft that are older than 18 years. This was intended in part to allow for the normal wear and tear on the components. It applies to aircraft that aren't used for scheduled commercial flights and that contain fewer than 20 seats for passengers.

There is one interesting exception to the law. The 18-year limit is considered on a rolling basis. This means that the clock starts for a component if it is replaced. Theoretically, this could mean that even air aircraft older than 18 years could be the subject of a legal claim if the component that led to the crash had been replaced or modified at some point.

For individuals who suffer injuries in an aviation accident, medical care is often necessary. This could be considerable if the injury is severe. If you're injured in a crash on a small aircraft, you may be able to file a claim against the manufacturer of a component if it contributed to the crash. Reviewing the maintenance records for the aircraft might be a vital step in the process since this can unearth the replacement, installation or modification date for the component.

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