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Aviation Accident Attorney in Chicago

Aviation Accident Attorney in Chicago

Passengers in airplane accidents have many rights. A Chicago plane crash attorney knows the full extent of these rights. Most people probably don’t read the fine print on their tickets or email confirmations. However, all ticket holders are entitled to many basic protections. U.S. federal law forbids law firms from contacting any potential clients for up to 45 days following an airplane crash. However, that does not keep victims from contacting a lawyer immediately.

This is fortunate for clients and crash victims. Seeking an airplane crash attorney early in the process can help secure the best possible outcome for your case later on. The aviation accident lawyers at Curcio Law Offices have a wide range of experience in aviation litigation. We handle not only commercial airplane crash cases but also any litigation involving private airplanes, helicopters, corporate jets, and small airplanes.

Our Chicago personal injury lawyers protect your interests at all stages of your case. It does not matter if you are a survivor of an aviation accident or if you are the family member of a victim. We will fight for justice for you and your family. Your best interests will always come first. Please call our Chicago, IL office at 312-321-1111 today to schedule your free consultation with us.

Attorneys Representing Aviation Accident Victims in Chicago, IL

The Chicago aviation litigation professionals at Curcio Law Offices represent Illinois residents who suffered losses from aviation accidents. We hold every negligent party accountable and seek maximum compensation so that you and your family can focus on healing. To tell us about your case, please call 312-321-1111 to schedule your free consultation with us.

Types of Aviation Accidents We Handle

Air ambulances are some of the most important and life-saving aircraft in our skies. Since the first World War, they have evacuated injured people from hard-to-reach locations and saved thousands of lives. Think of these helicopters and airplanes as the ICUs of the air. Generally, first responders will call on these aircraft when a patient needs to travel more than 250 miles and when they need special care along the way. 

In general, these vessels have a very safe track record. However, air ambulance crashes still occur. The average EMS aircraft experiences 2 fatal accidents per 100,000 flying hours. In contrast, general aviation aircraft experience around 1.3 fatal accidents in the same number of flying hours. Unfortunately, the high degree of pressure that EMS pilots are under can contribute to an increase in crashes.

Additionally, the National Transportation Safety Board recorded a rising trend of air ambulance disasters in the past decade. They have even reprimanded helicopter ambulances in recent years because of their “carelessness and complacency.”

Fortunately, commercial plane crashes are very rare in the United States. This is particularly true when you compare their frequency with other accidents, particularly Chicago car accidents. However, when these aviation accidents do occur, they result in serious injuries or even death each year.

Those injured or killed in a Chicago aviation accident deserve justice for their losses. If you were injured in a plane crash or you lost loved ones, you can file a personal injury claim. Seek justice from all responsible parties, and let us protect your legal rights.

Many people compare charter planes to “air taxis.” Charter companies usually operate and maintain these aircraft, but some private pilots work as charter operators. These charter companies and operators are held to a very high safety standard. However, that does not make these aviation accident cases nonexistent.

Large commercial companies have more of a reputation to uphold in terms of safety, so charter operators might not hold themselves to the same standards. Charter crashes in which only a few people are injured or killed would likely not make international headlines like a commercial plane carrying dozens of people would. However, charter plane accident victims and their relatives still deserve to have their cases heard in court.

Personal injuries involving private planes can be very complex, and they often involve very specific laws within the industry. Commercial carriers and private planes have very important distinctions, according to the National Travel and Safety Board. On average, private plane accidents involving fatalities are 200 times more likely to occur than fatal commercial accidents. 

Many people associate private planes with privacy, luxury, and status. However, you might be better off flying first-class on a commercial plane. This is because private planes rely on the skill of the pilots, which are not regulated as strictly as commercial airliners. Additionally, smaller private planes are not as robust as larger commercial aircraft. For all these reasons and more, a small plane is more dangerous than a commercial aircraft.

International aviation accidents are even more complicated due to the laws and regulations of the countries involved. As victims or as surviving family members of these crashes, you deserve to obtain compensation for the losses you suffered. Luckily, international law offers specific rights under the Montreal Convention. These rights outline the circumstances under which crew members, passengers, and other parties can file a personal injury case. Below, we further explain the Montreal Convention.

An aviation case involving a helicopter crash has its own complexities to remember. Helicopter accidents, like many other aviation accidents, are caused largely by negligence. When these crashes happen, they are very likely to result in serious injuries or fatalities. Because large amounts of money are often at stake for multiple parties in these aviation cases, you need an experienced lawyer on your side to seek compensation for your injuries.

Can You Sue an Airline For Crashing in Illinois?

airplane accident attorney

Yes. According to U.S. law and international treaties, all victims of plane crash accidents are entitled to sue airlines for crashing. As long as someone is at fault, victims may seek compensation for the negligence that resulted in their injuries.

What Does a Chicago Airplane Accident Attorney Do?

Aviation attorneys work with aviation law. They are also referred to as airplane accident lawyers, plane crash lawyers, and airplane accident attorneys. This is the type of law that deals with the operation of aircraft and ground facilities. Aviation ground facilities include airports, hangars, and air traffic control systems. Aviation attorneys represent passengers, airlines, pilots, manufacturers, flight schools, and anyone involved in aviation. Some aviation attorneys prefer to work with victims of crashes. Others prefer to represent those on the aviation industry side of the business.

The Chicago Airplane Accident Lawyers at Curcio Law Offices work with anyone who has sustained any type of personal injury resulting from an aircraft. We also work with families of victims who have died in aviation-related accidents.

In any case involving an aircraft or the aviation industry, it is important to hire an attorney who knows the aviation laws. Building a strong case in an aviation-related accident is incredibly complex. Collecting evidence after an airplane accident is difficult. It’s often more difficult than investigating a motor vehicle accident. You want an attorney that has experience investigating airplane crash cases and building strong Chicago personal injury lawsuits and wrongful death lawsuits in Chicago.

Insurance companies for the aviation industry also pose a different set of challenges than those of the auto industry. Our plane crash attorneys know how to argue your case during settlement negotiation and trial. We get efficient and fair resolutions for our clients’ claims.

Aviation Laws

Many clients want to know: will they be part of a class-action lawsuit, or will they bring their case individually?

Because so many people tend to be part of these accidents, they often end up in multidistrict litigation. You may sometimes hear this referred to as MDL. In the event that multiple cases are pending in multiple federal courts, judgment works a bit differently. A judicial panel makes the decision on whether the cases should be consolidated into one court or left as they are. 

In addition, an aviation attorney must keep current on all regulations from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as well as international laws governing flight. In order to represent victims and families of airplane crash victims from accidents that happened internationally, airplane crash attorneys must also know all applicable international laws and conventions. Read more about these below.

What Causes Aviation Accidents?

The most common cause of aviation accidents is pilot error. Pilot error accounts for more than half of all plane crashes. Human error can result in failure to follow proper take-off and landing procedures. Pilots sometimes make the following errors:

  • Premature descent 
  • Using excessive landing speed
  • Missing runways
  • Failing to refuel
  • Making navigation mistakes
  • Miscalculating distances or weather conditions

However, pilots are not always the only entities that get sued following plane crashes.

Mechanical defects that might cause plane crashes include:

  • Inadequate repairs
  • Worn out parts
  • Defective equipment replacements 

Considering the very complex systems required to fly large passenger airplanes, a small defect or failure in just one minor part can cause serious consequences. If a mechanical defect causes a plane crash, your aviation accident lawyer could help you hold the airplane manufacturer responsible.

Air traffic controllers play an important role in safe air travel. They must coordinate the paths of many different aircraft at once. They also need to factor in weather and fuel when they schedule take-off and landings. Small errors by air traffic controllers can result in catastrophic injuries and damages. 

Poor weather conditions also factor strongly into airplane accidents. The law categorizes this type of factor as an “Act of God.” Of course, no person or entity can be held responsible for causing bad weather. However, a pilot, air traffic controller, or aviation company could be held liable in the event of bad weather. This could be because they have the duty to diligently check weather reports and react accordingly. They must reasonably estimate dangers and follow proper procedures during storms or fog. 

Finally, other possible causes of airplane accidents include:

  • Terrorist activity
  • Passenger malicious intent or negligence
  • In-flight fires
    • These can sometimes be due to faulty fire detection equipment or other mechanical failures.
  • Careless cargo loading
  • Preventable runway obstructions
  • Ground crew misconduct

Regardless of what caused an airplane accident, it was certainly a tragedy. It should not have happened, considering how safe air travel has become. Know your rights. The Chicago Airplane Accident Lawyers at Curcio Law Offices will be able to build your personal injury or wrongful death claim.

How Often Do Commercial Planes Crash?

Commercial planes crash very rarely. The leading aviation consulting firm, To70, reported a fatal accident rate of only .18 in 2019. This means that for every 5.58 million flights, there was one fatal accident. Plane crash lawyers work with victims and family members of plane crash victims from both commercial plane crashes and private airplane crashes.

Can I Sue for a Private Plane Crash?

aviation accident lawyer

Yes. Commercial airlines are considered common carriers. They must maintain a strict standard of care towards passengers. Private pilots, according to federal law, are not held to the same high standard but rather the “common negligence standard.” 

Private pilots must use “due diligence” as well as “reasonable care” in order to prevent injuries or accidents of all passengers. This does not mean that private pilots are not expected to possess similar skills to commercial pilots.

Under the law, private pilots must possess the same skills and knowledge as commercial pilots. If you or a loved one were involved in a private plane crash, speak to an airplane accident lawyer. They will be able to determine whether or not the private plane pilot operated like a “reasonable” pilot under the same circumstances. According to “vicarious liability,” if a private pilot causes an accident, injured parties may sue the aircraft owner as well. In some cases, it might also be possible that the airplane manufacturer is also at fault.

If a Plane Crash Occurred Outside of the United States, Can I Still Sue?

Yes. Airplane accidents that occur in the United States involving U.S.-based airlines may be subject to lawsuits in United States courts. If you are a surviving victim or a family member of a deceased victim, you may recover damages for pain and suffering, medical bills, and lost income.

According to the Warsaw Convention, airplane accidents that occur internationally are also subject to lawsuits. The Warsaw Convention is an international treaty that went into effect in 1929. It established that airline companies are liable for any damages to passengers and their belongings. It protected airlines from damages that passengers cause themselves. Also, the Warsaw Convention established a standard of insurance that airline companies must meet.

The Montreal Convention, which went into effect in 1999, replaced the Warsaw Convention. It provides for unlimited liability. Under this unlimited liability, airlines must provide:

  • Advance payments
  • The ability for passengers to sue from their personal place of residence
  • Sufficient insurance

Airlines may be held strictly liable for a certain number of things. Strictly liable means liability without needing to show fault. The injured passenger must still prove “willful misconduct” by the air carrier. Strict liability under the Montreal Convention may be up to 113,100 for proven damages. This figure is a mix of currency values established by the IMF, the International Monetary Fund. This equates to roughly $170,000 per United States passenger.

According to current precedent there is no limitation on the amount of recovery a victim can receive from an airline. The only exception is if an airline can prove that it took every necessary precaution in order to avoid an accident. This makes it easier for innocent victims and their families to recover if only a fraction of what they lost in an accident. This puts the burden on airlines.

What is the Statute of Limitations for Taking Legal Action After an Airline Accident?

This depends on where the accident occurred. It’s important to speak with an airline accident lawyer as soon as possible after an accident. He or she will be best equipped to advise you on the statute of limitations for airplane accidents. If you delay too long, you may lose the right to fair compensation.

Call the Chicago Airplane Accident Lawyers at Curcio Law Offices

If you or someone you love was injured in an airplane accident, enlist Curcio Law Offices to recover compensation. Call 312-321-1111 or contact our Chicago law firm online to schedule a free initial consultation. We’ve recovered millions for our clients, and we won’t settle for lowball offers from an insurance company. You deserve competent legal representation who will address every legal issue with poise and efficiency. Curcio Law Offices strives only for excellence, and helping clients achieve fair compensation is our ultimate goal.