Many people say it all the time, “Flying is still the safest way to travel,” but you found out the hard way that doesn’t mean that planes never crash. Granted, more stories about motor vehicle accidents appear in the media, but when a plane falls out of the sky, the damage done can prove devastating.
Thankfully, not all plane crashes result in 100 percent fatalities, but survivors often suffer injuries that could affect the rest of their lives. If you suffered injuries in a plane crash, you more than likely began to incur significant financial losses along with the physical, mental and emotional repercussions from your ordeal. Fortunately, you may be able to receive compensation for the damage caused to you and your family in the aftermath of the crash.
The primary causes of plane crashes
Ordinarily, a plane crash results from a combination of factors. However, the top reasons for plane crashes include the following:
- Sabotage — 8 percent
- Weather — 13 percent
- Mechanical error — 17 percent
- Pilot error –55 percent
The remaining seven percent includes factors listed under “other,” such as air traffic control mistakes, ground handler mistakes and other unknown causes.
The pilot’s role in the crash
As you can see, the vast majority of plane crashes result from some action (or inaction) of the pilot. For example, if the pilot fails to get adequate rest, reaction times and decision-making processes end up compromised. Some pilots decide to fly with hangovers or after taking certain medications that could affect their ability to properly operate an aircraft. Alcohol and drugs may also play a role.
Other factors tend to exacerbate the pilot’s shortcomings. Bad weather or a mechanical failure may not affect many pilots, but if a pilot can’t appropriately respond to an emergency, the plane could go down.
When is the risk of a crash highest?
A look at plane crashes between 2005 and 2014 reveals that 38 percent of the accidents occurred during the final approach and landing. The remaining accidents occurred as follows:
- Decent initial approach — 17 percent
- Cruising — 27 percent
- Climbing — 8 percent
- Take off — 13 percent
Regardless of when or what initiates the crash, those may be some of the most frightening moments of your life. You may not even want to fly again for some time. Depending on what you do for a living, this could affect your job. Of course, spending a significant amount of time recovering from injuries could also affect your professional life.
The largest impact may be on your personal life. If you suffered permanent or debilitating injuries, things may never be the same again. Activities that you used to enjoy prior to the crash may not even be a consideration now. Your family life may also have to change.
Insurance companies and the airline may attempt to offer you a quick settlement that may not be in your best interest. A settlement may seem like a viable solution in the short term, but without first assessing whether it will actually cover your losses. An attorney could prove invaluable in helping make that decision.
In addition, a thorough investigation of what caused the plane crash could help determine what parties bear some legal responsibility for your injuries and the other damages you sustained as a result. It might turn out that a civil legal claim may be a more appropriate course of action.