In addition to having one of the busiest airports in the world, Las Vegas is home to smaller airports in Henderson and North Las Vegas. The skies are filled with commercial airliners, helicopters touring the area, and smaller private planes. It’s not uncommon for people to charter these smaller planes for flights to Reno or other parts of Nevada, or to neighboring states.
These small planes – the companies which fly them – follow different rules than commercial airlines and fly out of smaller airports. There have been a few small plane crashes in the news lately that occurred at these smaller airports. If you sustained injuries in a General Aviation accident, working with an attorney is likely your best course of action.
The next steps after a General Aviation accident
After receiving medical care that treats or rules out serious complications, such as internal bleeding and organ damage, the plaintiff in a small plane accident needs a copy of the physician’s report. The medical report is a piece of evidence supporting the personal injury claim, as it details the extent of the injuries, among other relevant information. Since accidents involving any type of aircraft can involve state and federal agencies, as well as local, state, and/or federal law enforcement, this medical report will be a critical part of your lawsuit.
The plaintiff should speak with a legal professional at this time and furnish copies of the reports. If they were unable to retrieve the reports due to their recovery, the attorney will obtain them for review. If the Las Vegas aviation accident lawyer believes taking legal action is warranted, the professional obtains additional evidence, such as witness interviews, photographs of the crash site and the plaintiff’s injuries, and anything else that is pertinent. If the injuries occurred in flight, or due to circumstances other than a crash, the attorney also requests relevant interior images.
Plaintiffs have two years from the date of the accident to file personal injury claims in Nevada. Working with an attorney ensures the required documents are filled out correctly and filed with the court on time. Personal injury cases typically settle out of court, though a knowledgeable attorney will take your case to trial when needed to secure fair compensation for your injuries and losses. It is always best for the plaintiff to have a lawyer represent them instead of representing themselves, and this is especially true in aviation cases due to the complexity involved. Attorneys with experience in aviation accident claims know how to navigate these cases, including what experts to hire and what questions to ask the defendant(s).
Why do small plane accidents happen?
Small plane accidents occur for a variety of reasons. Among the most common causes of in-flight injuries include:
- Broken seat belts that resulted in injuries during turbulence or landing
- Poorly-managed or fault food and beverage carts that hit passengers
- Sharp edges and objects
- Poorly lit areas and torn carpeting that increases the risk of slips and falls
- Hot liquids, such as coffee and tea
- Unsecured, falling baggage
- Turbulence with no prior warning
Reasons for General Aviation crashes include:
- Mechanical errors, such as installing the wrong part
- Pilot errors, including those relating to drowsiness and intoxication
- Poor or no maintenance, such as failing to maintain the engine
- Bad weather, such as lightning, wind, or hail
- Defective parts, including fuel tank ruptures and leaking exhaust systems that cause fires
- Wildlife strikes, such as birds colliding with the plane wings or engine
- Poor landing conditions due to bad weather, traffic issues, poorly-designed runways, and faulty runway materials
- Air traffic control errors, such as failing to speak with the pilot in a timely manner
Injuries in small plane accidents range from mild to severe, and can include broken bones, cuts and lacerations, burn injuries, head trauma, traumatic brain injuries, and spinal injuries. Neck, shoulder, hip, leg, back, and foot injuries can also occur, as can facial trauma. If the plane crashes, some or all of the people on board might not survive, leading to wrongful death claims.
Who is liable in a small plane accident, and what damages can plaintiffs request?
If an individual sustains injuries from a small plane accident caused by negligence, they are eligible to request damages from the liable party. Determining fault in a plane accident can take time, especially for investigations involving mechanical error or faulty equipment. The pilot might be liable, or the manufacturer of the part or equipment that caused the accident might be responsible. If the issue is maintenance-related, the plane or maintenance company may be at fault. Air traffic control employees can also be to blame.
Damages in small plane accident cases typically include medical expenses, lost wages, and disability, if applicable. These are known as economic damages, since they cover costs related to the accident. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, concern the psychological and emotional fallout from the accident, and usually include mental anguish, pain and suffering, and emotional distress.
Since plane crashes can cause fatalities, it is possible for surviving family members to file wrongful death suits. Common wrongful death damages include emergency medical care, funeral and burial costs, loss of income, pain and suffering, loss of companionship, emotional distress, and loss of life’s enjoyment.
Why working with a Las Vegas small plane accident attorney is recommended
Recovering from the pain and trauma of a plane accident takes time. An attorney with experience in small plane cases takes care of all legal issues relating to the claim so you don’t have to, including obtaining evidence such as witness statements, air traffic control records, and autopsy reports. The lawyer might also interview the pilot and other staff members on board at the time of the incident. Once the legal professional has the evidence needed to file a claim, they do so immediately to avoid statute of limitation issues.
The peace of mind of having an attorney handle the legal aspects of your case allows you to focus on what is most important: your recovery. If you need to speak with a lawyer, contact Claggett & Sykes Law Firm. Call us today or submit our contact form to schedule a free consultation at our Las Vegas office.
We are not simply a personal injury firm. We are trial lawyers who take on catastrophic injury, brain injury, and wrongful death cases. These cases are different than most personal injury cases and the needs of these cases cannot be met by law firms that take on just any case.
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