Aviation accidents can be traced to a variety of causes, including pilot error, air traffic controller error, design and manufacturer defects, maintenance failures, sabotage, or inclement weather. An experienced aviation attorney can help you to pursue a claim by identifying any potential helicopter or plane crash causes, as well as the parties responsible.
If you or a loved one have been involved in a plane or helicopter crash, contact the experienced aviation accident attorneys of Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman to discuss your case and to find answers about the cause of the crash. We offer free, no obligation case evaluations and can answer any questions you may have about your case.
Investigating and Exposing the Reasons Why Planes Crash
At Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman, P.C., our lawyers have more than 40 years of experience investigating aviation accident causes and pursuing accountability.* We aggressively fight against negligent defendants and pursue compensation for the victims and families of plane accidents and other aviation crashes.We thoroughly investigate and expose aviation accident causes.
To find out why planes crash in our cases, our aviation attorneys use a team of investigators and leading experts to inspect and analyze every aspect of an aviation accident, including what happened before the flight, what happened in the moments leading up to the accident, and what happened as the accident was unfolding. We assess corporate policies that may have impacted actions of those involved, listen to evidence preserved in the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) and flight data recorder (FDR) and analyze the salvaged remains of the aircraft to ensure all possible air crash causes are checked. After our investigation is complete, we pursue personal injury and wrongful death claims under product, airline, pilot, controller, or other liability theories as appropriate.
What Causes Planes to Crash?
Over the past decades, our experience handling aviation accidents has provided us with comprehensive understanding of the many common reasons why planes crash. Below are some of the most frequently reported aviation accident causes
Human Factors in Aviation — According to Plane Crash Info, pilot error was found to be a factor in 53 percent of worldwide fatal accidents involving commercial aircraft between 1950 and 2010. While that statistic may seem high, consider all of the tasks that pilots are responsible for; pilots have to fly through dangerous weather, respond to mechanical issues and execute safe takeoffs and landings. Many aviation accidents are caused when pilots misread flight equipment, misjudge weather conditions or fail to properly address mechanical errors. Pilot error is considered the number one reason why planes crash.
Pilot error is not the only human factor that can cause a plane crash — it can also be due to mistakes by crew members as well. While a crash may not be the result, crew members who fail to properly store luggage or perform onboard duties, can lead to serious injuries for the passengers. An example of human error contributing to why planes crash is a case our firm handled involving a 1993 Chinese Eastern Airlines flight to Los Angeles. While flying over Alaska, the nose of the plane pitched straight down when the co-pilot mistakenly bumped an exposed lever that was to be kept under a dome glass cover. All unbuckled passengers hit the ceiling and suffered neck injuries — some even died.
Aircraft Maintenance Negligence — A leading trend in the aviation industry is to cut corners and outsource aircraft maintenance and inspections. It has become increasingly common that the reasons why planes crash is closely tied to the airlines do the absolute minimum to keep planes in the air. in the Alaska Airlines Flight 261 crash off the coast of California, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said the crash was a “maintenance accident.” All of the 88 people aboard the plane were killed in the crash.
Aircraft Design and Manufacturing Defects — When the aircraft design is inadequate, design engineers should be held accountable. We represented clients in a helicopter crash accident in which the metal in the yoke of the helicopter was not strong enough to withstand even normal wind conditions, resulting in separation from the tail rotor.
A Boeing study on why planes crash found that mechanical failure is a factor in roughly 20 percent of all commercial airline accidents (other studies have reached similiar conclusions). Components of aircraft must be designed to withstand wind, take off, landing and the stresses of flight. If a part fails in this regard, the manufacturer must be held responsible.
Weather — People are often quick to assume weather is a major cause for why planes crash. However, while it has been estimated that 12 percent of all air crashes are weather related, weather is very rarely the only cause involved. Most flights are grounded if dangerous weather conditions are present and failure to do so may be a sign of negligence. Even when bad weather sneaks up on pilots and air traffic controllers, pilots and crew should be able to work effectively in those emergencies.
Sabotage — Aviation accidents caused by sabotage account for roughly 9 percent of all crashes. The September 11, 2001 hijackings, EgyptAir flight 990 and the Germanwings flight 9525 crashes are arguably some of the most notable sabotage crashes in recent history.
Airline Corporate Negligence — The corporate airline industry is emphasizing timing, turnaround and cutting corners over public safety. Pilots and crew are being pushed by corporate policies to make unsafe landings to avoid paperwork, to fly with the minimum amount of fuel, and to make other unsafe judgment calls.In recent years, uncaring corporations have become a serious factor in why planes crash. We believe the airline policies and corporate culture contributing to these plane crashes need to be changed immediately.
Air Traffic Controller Negligence — Our firm has successfully handled numerous runway accident cases, including one at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in which a federal air traffic controller’s negligence resulted in a US Airways plane landing on a SkyWest plane in 1991. The collision led to the deaths of 35 people and injured 29. this case was an example of how even the briefest moment of inattention from someone involved, even remotely, in a plane’s operation, can lead to tragedy.
Justice for the Victims of Aviation Accidents
Aviation accident causes can vary from mechanical failure to human error. When negligence leads to an aviation accident, the victims and their families deserve answers and compensation.
At Baum Hedlund, we vigorously pursue accountability against negligent federal air traffic controllers, flight service stations, design engineers, manufacturers, airlines and all other responsible parties. Whether the helicopter or plane crash was caused by the failure to de-ice the wings or by some form of pilot or corporate negligence, the lawyers of Baum Hedlund will get answers and pursue justice.
For immediate assistance — or to schedule an initial consultation or case evaluation with an experienced aviation or plane crash lawyer — please contact Baum Hedlund, P.C.
*Ronald Goldman started his career in aviation accident law in 1972. Other principals of the firm began litigating aviation cases in 1985.