What To Do If You Were Injured In A Helicopter Or Airplane Crash
If you are injured in an aviation accident in Maryland or Virginia – whether the accident involved a helicopter, a small private plane, or a commercial airliner – take your personal injury case as quickly as possible to a Bethesda aviation accident attorney.
Commercial air travel is now somewhat safer than it was in the past, but accidents involving smaller, private planes receive scant attention in the media. Helicopter crashes – as we learned when basketball star Kobe Bryant died earlier this year – also cause injuries and death.
What are the causes of aviation accidents? Can they be prevented? And what if you are injured in an aviation accident? Can you be reimbursed for medical expenses and lost wages? Where can you turn for help?
If you’ll continue reading, you will learn the answers to these questions, and you’ll also learn more about the rights of helicopter and airplane accident injury victims in Maryland and Virginia.
What Causes Aviation Accidents?
In no particular order, the leading causes of airplane and helicopter crashes in the United States are:
- equipment malfunctions
- inadequate maintenance
- pilot error
- poor weather
- criminal intent
If you are injured in any type of aviation accident, you have the right to be compensated by the liable party or parties for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and related losses, but that compensation isn’t simply handed to you.
A Bethesda Aviation Accident Attorney Can Help
To obtain the compensation that is rightly yours after an aviation injury, you must file a personal injury claim with help from a Bethesda aviation accident lawyer. A pilot, aircraft owner, manufacturer, or air traffic controller may be found partially or entirely liable for your injuries.
Helicopters are increasingly being used in the Washington, D.C. area, and victims who are injured in helicopter accidents need a lawyer who has some knowledge of helicopter aviation and the specific laws that govern helicopter flight.
In crashes that generate personal injury claims, a victim and his or her attorney must prove that there was a faulty equipment design, negligence, or some other failure to meet conventional, widely-accepted aircraft design or operation standards.
A crash, of course, is not the only way to be injured in flight. Luggage dropping out of overhead storage, excessive turbulence, other passengers, and even airline employees can also be the causes of aviation injuries.
Tips for Surviving an Aviation Accident
Personal injury claims arising from aircraft accidents require a comprehensive assessment of the aircraft’s condition, the pertinent FAA regulations, and federal aviation law. Below are some suggestions that may help you survive a plane crash:
- If possible, choose a seat no more than five rows away from an exit.
- Get out – you are still at risk after the crash. It takes about ninety seconds for a fire to burn through a fuselage and destroy anything that survives the crash.
- Stay fit. You may need to run, move bulky and heavyweight luggage, or slip through a narrow passageway.
- Know where the exits are. Concentrate on the scene in front of you so that if all the lights are out, you’ll know your surroundings.
- Fly a larger plane if you can. A bigger plane absorbs more of the impact in a crash. Also choose a national airline if you can; regional airlines have twice the accidents per passenger as national airlines.
- Don’t sleep and don’t drink when you fly. Use the oxygen mask if it drops. You need to be fully awake and aware if there’s a crash.
- Always wear shoes when you fly; women should wear flats. Buckle your safety belt low, tight, and secure.
The injuries that are sustained in aviation accidents can be severe and disabling. Some injuries may seem trivial at first, but later, those injuries may develop into serious medical conditions. That’s one reason why you must have a medical exam after an accident – even if you feel fine.
What are “Common Carriers” and What is Required of Them?
If you are injured in an aviation accident, seek medical attention at once. Don’t accept any settlement or sign any insurance documents before you speak with a Virginia or Maryland aviation accident attorney.
Companies that offer the public transportation-for-hire are called “common carriers” and are held to a particularly high legal standard. Common carriers under Virginia and Maryland law include bus, train, limousine, and taxicab companies as well as airlines.
Ordinarily under the law, most people must use a “reasonable” degree of care not to injure others. The law, however, requires a common carrier to take “the highest degree” of care not to injure passengers.
What Will a Bethesda Aviation Accident Attorney Do on Your Behalf?
If you file a personal injury claim after an aviation injury, a Bethesda aviation accident attorney will study the accident reports, examine the evidence and witnesses, and develop an effective legal strategy for recovering the compensation that you need, deserve, and are entitled to by law.
Your attorney may work with experts – pilots and other aviation authorities – to strengthen your injury claim and to explain why you are entitled to compensation. Your attorney may also work with economists and accountants to determine the amount of compensation you should seek.
How Much Time Do You Have to File a Claim?
The statute of limitations – that is, the deadline for filing a personal injury claim related to an aviation accident – is two years from the date of the injury in Virginia. In Maryland, it’s three years from the date of the injury.
The statute of limitations “clock” normally begins on the day you’re injured, but if you sustained a difficult-to-detect or latent injury, that clock may not begin until your injury is discovered. However, you can’t wait two or three years and then try to file an injury claim at the last minute.
If you are injured in an aviation accident, you have two priorities. See a medical professional first, then seek the legal help that you’re going to need to recover compensation. Make the phone call immediately to a Bethesda aviation accident attorney.
What Will It Cost to Hire a Bethesda Aviation Accident Attorney?
You may recover compensation for your current and future accident-related medical expenses as well as your lost wages. If you are temporarily or permanently disabled, you may also receive compensation for projected future wage losses as well as personal pain and suffering.
You risk nothing when you seek compensation for an injury caused by negligence. Your first consultation with a Bethesda aviation accident attorney is offered with no cost or obligation, and you’ll pay no lawyer’s fee unless your claim prevails and you obtain the compensation you seek.