In our previous post, we began looking at the potential usefulness of government accident reports for victims of airline crashes. These reports can sometimes be used to the benefit of crash victims, but there are certain issues that have to be taken into consideration with respect to the admissibility of these reports into evidence at trial.
For victims of aviation accidents, whether injured passengers or surviving family members, building a strong personal injury, wrongful death or product liability case requires solid evidence of liability, whether on the part of the airline, airplane manufacturers, suppliers, maintenance contractors or any other party that contributed to the crash.
Building a solid aviation accident case, like any accident case, is dependent on the available evidence regarding the crash. Obtaining evidence typically involves examining the wreckage, interviewing any survivors who were involved in the crash, as well as eyewitnesses to the accident and others who have knowledge of the flight.
New York readers remember that, in 2009, a US Airways airplane made an emergency landing in the Hudson River with 155 passengers aboard. Remarkably, the accident resulted in no deaths, and only minor injuries for a small group of passengers. One of the reasons the landing was so successful is that the pilot was so skillful in executing the emergency landing.
Last time, we began looking at some features of the process the National Transportation Safety Board uses when investigating aircraft accidents. As we noted, the specific manner in which aircraft accidents are investigated depends on the nature of the accident. Whatever avenue is taken for investigation, though, any findings made in the process do not determine legal liability and cannot be used as evidence in court.
In our last post, we began looking at new U.S. security rules prohibiting airline passengers from bringing large electronic devices in their carry-on baggage. As we noted, the rules are largely aimed at addressing the threat of terrorism. Airlines, of course, have the duty to put into place security measures which comply with all federal safety regulations and which are effective at addressing threats.
Security is an important issue in the airline industry, and has been a particularly important issue since 2001. Airlines have implemented a number of changes to tighten up security in airports and on flights. The changes have proved to be an inconvenience that most people are largely willing to put up with in order to fly. Not that there is much of a choice, of course.
Previously, we began discussing the topic of medical certification of pilots, as required by the Federal Aviation Administration, the federal agency responsible for regulating civil aviation. As we noted, medical certification can be barred on the basis of certain conditions, though the primary objective is to ensure pilots are healthy enough to safely operate an aircraft.
On January 2, 2017 a family from Pittsburgh, consisting of a husband, wife, and three daughters were on a sightseeing trip to the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. They were on board a Cessna Caravan II operated by Air Excel, a local carrier, which crashed upon takeoff from an airfield at Dar Es Salaam.
Air travel, as the cliché goes, is one of the safest forms of travel. But as anyone who has watched the news knows, accidents still happen, often with catastrophic results.