Plane Accidents Are Tragic, Unexpected
It’s 2018. For decades we’ve used airplanes to get us anywhere we want to go either faster or as the only means of transportation available. Whether visiting family in other states or countries, traveling abroad for college or work, or simply taking a much needed vacation, air travel has proven time and time again to be the most efficient form of travel available.
Airline travel is faster than train travel, and more efficient than getting in an automobile and driving cross-country. Planes reduce travel time and provide the comfort and reliability that other means of travel in this day and age of technology and efficiency cannot.
Adequate advances in air travel?
Traveling in 2018 is not so far removed from what it was in the early 1900s, however, when boarding a plane first became the way we first became able to travel coast to coast and country to country more quickly than ever before. Before air travel, it took weeks by ship to travel to or from the United States. Aside from the fact the convenience that remains the same, although we’ve greatly improved the offered food and beverage in-flight, and safety precautions are still announced over the speakers, the rate of accidents that happen on planes has dramatically increased in the last two decades.
The question remains, are the advances made in air travel adequate? What do travelers need to know about airplane safety? And what happens if a passenger or their loved one becomes injured while flying? This article will answer those questions and provide at the too-little discussed subject or airline accidents that must not be overlooked, especially when travel is increased during the holiday season.
Advances in air travel are still occurring in present day as well! As we first discussed in last summer’s What is Airline Liability? Airlines hold employed flight staff to sky high standards. Every mistake in this digital era is only an iPhone upload away, making it’s way to Twitter and YouTube where public outcry can and often does prompt enraged reactions and public statements (though not always “apologies”) released from the airline’s representatives. Two decades ago, it was merely the “black box” that was to be relied upon.
Travel in the digital age
In the early aughts if a passion sustained a concussion due to unsafe in-flight conditions, no one would find out about it unless that passenger chose to pursue legal action against the airline for their injuries. Today, a concussion on a flight can mean liability issues publicly visible all over the internet. What’s worse, when plane crashes occur, last moments recorded via iPhone are often recovered. In these unthinkable instances, families may be able to hear what went wrong onboard, and thusly have a better outlook when it becomes to pursuing litigation against the airline on behalf of their lost loved one. What was occurring? Was the pilot or flight crew determined to be intoxicated? These questions are better able to be answered in our digital age than ever before.
It’s for this reason, with technology and the ability to more accurately determine what goes wrong during tragic plane accidents, that the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) has begun to increase the strictness with which they enforce the standard of care expected of the pilot and his or her flight crew for airline passengers.
Modern safety standards
The safety standards employed by airlines, airplane manufacturers, the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) and the FAA are all far more rigorous than they were 30 years ago, and even pre-9/11, when the world was an entirely different place.
Today, standards are enforced from the screws that hold the plane together all the way down to the flight attendant serving beverages and reciting the safety information before takeoff. Everyone must be hands-on when it comes to passenger safety, and no detail is left without thorough investigation in the event of a tragedy such as a plane crash or emergency landing that causes harm or fatalities to passengers.
Some of these safety standards can be found in the following:
- The manufacturer: who built the plane? When were those employees last given training on plane mechanics and were their certifications maintained and kept up to date? At this level of mechanical failure, liability for negligence resulting in an accident, emergency landing, or crash may be placed upon manufacturer who did not employ flight crew that met FAA’s rigorous standards standards, and/or was careless in their background checking policy.
- The aircraft retailer: the “seller” of the airplane can be held liable if it’s found that they knowingly sold a plane to an airline that had problems or that malfunctioned or even failed the testing phase of assembly.
- Aircraft mechanics: if the mechanic hired to fix a known problem failed to perform their duties to the standard required of them by federal law, they may be found negligent and therefore be held liable for their careless (and possibly reckless) actions.
Keep reading our Law Resource Blog, because in our followup article, we’ll present a better look at the NTSB and the FAA, the important purposes each serve when it comes to getting passengers around the world where they need to go safely, and we’ll present our in-depth investigation of what to do if a passenger or their loved one is injured or worse, suffers a fatality in a plane accident.