What Causes an Airplane Accident?
At Baum Hedlund, our years of experience handling plane crashes and other
mass disasters have provided our team with a comprehensive understanding
of how to effectively investigate and prepare for trial or settlement
in these cases. We meticulously investigate accident causes and pursue
accountability against the airline, aviation companies, airport, manufacturer,
and other negligent parties.
In our experience, the most common aviation accident causes include:
Maintenance Negligence: It is becoming increasingly common for airlines to outsource aircraft maintenance
to third parties in the U.S. and abroad. By doing this, airlines are exposing
air travelers to needless risk, all in the name of boosting profits by
keeping costs down.
Design or Manufacturing Defects: Commercial planes and their components must be designed to withstand the
stresses of flight. In flight, systems must be designed to operate with
regard to human needs under all operating conditions, including high workload
and stress situations. In the event that aircraft design is inadequate,
the manufacturer of the defective plane or part needs to be held accountable.
Flight Crew Negligence: Crew negligence can easily lead to a U.S. airline accident. If the pilot
is inattentive or not properly trained in operating the aircraft, the
crew skips critical safety checks, or the flight attendants fail to complete
their duties, anything from in-flight injuries, runway crashes, or even
devastating mid-air plane crashes can be the result.
Corporate Negligence: Airline pilots and crew members are increasingly pushed by corporate policies
to fly with the minimum amount of fuel to cut down on costs, or make unsafe
landings to avoid delays and canceled flights. These cost cutting measures
have an effect on safety and needlessly open the door to a potential U.S.
We know that no amount of money will replace the loss of a loved one or
completely restore a person to their previous health and vitality. When
we take on cases stemming from plane accidents, our experienced Los Angeles
team will be there to help with urgent matters, to manage and conduct
an in-depth investigation, to protect our clients’ rights and to
obtain full and just compensation.
We also seek non-traditional remedies where appropriate. For example, in
2003 we organized the first official public airline apology in history.
At a ceremony in Charlotte, N.C., the responsible airline issued the surviving
family members a public apology as part of a settlement agreement.
Examples of Our U.S. Airline Accident Cases
At Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman, we handle cases against all major
Our firm has a successful track record handling U.S. airline accident cases like:
JetBlue Flight 1416 In-Flight Incident: On September 18, 2014, JetBlue Flight 1416 departed from Long Beach Airport
with 147 people onboard. Roughly 20 minutes into the Austin, Texas-bound
flight, passengers heard a loud bang and smoke began to plume throughout
the passenger cabin as the plane was over the Pacific Ocean. Many passengers
went into panic. A few struggled to breathe. One passenger would later
tell CNN that oxygen masks never fell from the ceiling, so flight attendants
had to manually hand them out. Many suffered severe stress and fear of
impending crash and death. Dozens of passengers forced to endure this
in-flight emergency, retained Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman to represent
them in their JetBlue lawsuit.
Continental Connection / Colgan Air Flight 3407 Crash: Our firm was retained to handle a wrongful death case that arose from
the February 12, 2009 crash. Our lawsuit alleged that Flight 3407 flew
into icing conditions even though the aircraft was equipped with ineffective
de-icing equipment. We argued that defective aircraft design was a significant
cause of this U.S. airline accident that took the lives of 50 people when
it crashed into a house near Buffalo, New York.
Southwest Airlines Flight 1248 Crash: On December 8, 2005 Southwest Airlines Flight 1248 headed for Chicago
Midway International Airport after a successful take off from Baltimore.
However, the flight encountered a snow storm and the plane was delayed
for 35 minutes before attempting to land on a runway that would turn out
to be too small to stop the plane efficiently. The plane skidded off the
runway and crashed through the airport barrier, eventually stopping on
South Central Ave, killing a young child in a parked car on the street.
Baum Hedlund represented six of the injured passengers.
US Airways Express/Air Midwest Flight 5481 Crash: Air Midwest Flight 5481 taking off from Charlotte-Douglas International
Airport crashed shortly after takeoff on January 8, 2003. The Raytheon
Beechcraft was destroyed by impact forces and a fire that resulted from
the plane impacting a nearby building. The NTSB determined several contributing
factors to the cause of the accident, including the oversight of Air Midwest’s
maintenance and procedures, the weight the plane was carrying and the
incorrect rigging of the elevator control system. Twenty-one fatalities
resulted in the crash.
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