What are airline carriers doing to further protect travelers?
When it comes to airplane safety and in turn, liability, the airline (“common carrier”) is not the only party that may be held liable in the event of a serious accident such as engine failure or in the worst-case scenario, a plane crash.
When tragedies occur, the NTSB, FAA, and other federal agencies must look beyond the obvious. This is something that trained investigators due after every plane accident, because they know that the liability may be found in the smallest details. These details, the ones passengers don’t often think about as they board the plane, are the things the federal agencies responsible for airplane safety dedicate their entire careers to.
Today, standards have become stricter for aircraft construction and maintenance. Everything is held to a standard of care: 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, regulations have been put in place that may make busy travelers impatient, but are there for a reason. From TSA to ticketing agents, the extra time put into passenger safety by those employed to do so is worth it if it can prevent airline passengers from coming to harm. 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.
Who becomes responsible for catastrophic injuries after a plane accident?
As a common carrier, an airline must be hyper-aware of every aspect of aviation for which they are responsible. Aspects of aviation that fall under the responsibility of the airline include, but are not limited to: operation, maintenance, loading, boarding, and inspection of the aircraft. This is not an exhaustive list by any means, and there are many other responsibilities an airline must take responsibility for when transporting passengers and staff.
Below we’ve outlined who may be liable in the event of a plane accident that results in catastrophic injuries or worse, loss of life:
- The manufacturer: who built the aircraft? When were those employees last trained and were their certifications up to date? At this level, negligence may be found in a manufacturer who did not hire employees that met FAA standards, but was careless in their background checking policies and/or the certification of those they employed.
- The aircraft retailer: the “seller” of the aircraft may be held liable if it’s found that they knowingly sold an aircraft with problems or that malfunctioned during the testing phase of production.
- 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.