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First Lawsuit Filed Following Devastating Airplane Race Accident

The first lawsuit has been filed following a devastating situation in which a racing airplane crashed into bystanders during the National Championship Air Races. Our Chicago personal injury attorneys were saddened to hear that 11 people were killed in the tragic incident, and another 74 were injured.

The suit was filed this past Tuesday against the pilot’s family, a mechanic who serviced the WWII-era aircraft, and the organization hosting the event. According to a recent report released by the Associated Press, modifications had been made to the plane that were intended to improve its racing potential, but may have instead caused or contributed to cause the accident. The pilot – an expert movie stunt pilot and aircraft racer – was aware of the changes.

After the plane took off, it rolled over and plummeted into the occupied box-seats at a speed of more than 400 miles per hour.

Most airplane accidents and incidents that occur in this country are investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which looks at evidence from aviation accidents to determine cause. NTSB officials released a statement last month stating that no onboard video had been recovered, but technicians were still working to get answers from the aircraft’s onboard memory card; nevertheless, photos of the plane showed that a portion of the airplane’s tail was missing from the craft. Preliminary reports seem to suggest that the alterations to the aircraft may have been a root cause of the plane’s malfunction.

An attorney on behalf of the family of one of the deceased victims alleged that the pre-planning adaptations were carelessly made and created a formula for disaster. As a result, those who were responsible for ensuring the safety of the aircraft are liable for the damage incurred. The report by the Associated Press stated that the attorney said he wanted “hold ‘two groups of wrongdoers’ accountable: Those who pushed the limits of physics on the plane, being risk takers and reckless without regard for the people who might be watching them, and those who promoted and profited from hosting the show.”

Our Illinois personal injury attorneys are familiar with Aviation Law, and the determination of liability following aviation accidents. According to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, an ‘aviation accident’ is identified as “an occurrence associated with the operation of an aircraft which takes place between the time any person boards the aircraft with the intention of flight and all such persons have disembarked, in which a person is fatally or seriously injured, the aircraft sustains damage or structural failure or the aircraft is missing or is completely inaccessible.” In essence, if the plane is supposed to fly and an accident takes place either involving a person or the craft itself, it is considered an aviation accident, and is covered under Aviation Law.

There may be many different factors surrounding an airplane accident which can contribute to its cause. Some of these factors include:
• Faulty Equipment • FAA Regulation Violations • Pilot Errors • Problems in the Design or Structure of an Aircraft • Flight Service Station Employee Negligence • Negligence in a Third Party Selection of a Carrier • Federal Air Traffic Controller Negligence
Our Chicago personal injury lawyers won a $2.32 million settlement on behalf of the family of a pilot whose Cessna small-engine airplane crashed shortly after takeoff because of a defective part in the carburetor. The lawsuit alleged that the manufacturers of the single-engine Cessna and its engine components had been aware of problems with a faulty carburetor part since 1963. As a result, they were aware of the dangers, and were able to be held liable for the damage that ensued.

If you or a loved one have been injured in an aviation accident, contact an attorney to be apprised of your rights under the law.

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