Million Dollar Advocates Forum
Marquis Who's Who America's Biographer since 1899
American Association for Justice
The Chicago Bar Association
Illinois Trial Lawyers Association
Illinois State Bar Association

Choosing the Right Airplane Accident Lawyer

Finding out that a family member has been involved in airplane crash comes is a shocking and devastating experience. When this occurs, victims and their families require an expert aviation accident team who will guide them through the entire process. All too often, families succumb to high pressure tactics from “big name” personal injury firms. Which aviation attorney has successfully signed up most clients should not be the test. Instead, grieving families require time to evaluate which attorney can best deliver both exceptional results and the highest personal service. Jason M. Kroot of Kroot Law, LLC, has prosecuted or assisted in the prosecution of numerous major transportation accidents including the Roselawn, Indiana plane crash involving American Eagle Flight 4184. Assisted by some of the most respected aviation experts in the country, our team can determine exactly what happened, how it happened, and who is accountable.

Below you will find information on variety of topics involving aviation accidents, including the types of plane crashes, common causes, how they are investigated, and how they are prosecuted.

Types of Plane Crashes And Aviation Accidents

Aviation accidents occur more often than many realize. The types of plane accidents that can result in injury to passengers and crew include:

  • Runway collisions
  • Midair collisions
  • Take off accidents
  • Landing accidents

Other aviation accidents may involve helicopters, ultra-light planes, and hot air balloons.

Causes of Plane Crashes

Like other major transportation accidents, there are often multiple causes behind airplane accidents. Plane accident investigations usually reveal one or more of the following factors which caused or contributed to the crash:

  • Pilot error
  • Faulty equipment
  • Bad weather
  • Structural or design defects with plane
  • Dangerous runway design or maintenance
  • Negligence of flight service station employees
  • Negligence of federal air traffic controllers
  • Federal Aviation Administration regulation violations
NTSB and FAA in Investigating Aviation Accidents

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are the two federal agencies primarily responsible for investigating aviation accidents (unless linked to an intentional criminal act like terrorism).

The NTSB’s is normally the lead organization that investigates major transportation accidents including aviation accidents. (Following the September 11th, 2001 attacks, the NTSB’s power can be surrendered to other organizations if the US Attorney General declares the case to be linked to an intentional criminal act.) An investigation of an incident within the United States often begins with the creation of a “go team”, composed of specialists in fields relating to the incident. Thereafter, organizations and/or corporations are designated as parties to the investigation. The NTSB may later choose to hold public hearings on its investigation. Eventually, the NTSB will compose a final statement on its investigation and may issue safety recommendations.

The FAA is an agency of the United States Department of Transportation with authority to regulate and oversee all aspects of civil aviation in the U.S. The FAA’s responsibilities include regulating civil aviation to promote safety. FAA safety regulations consist of setting safety standards for pilots, flight operations, and air manufacturers, in addition to enforcing FAA regulations through civil and/or criminal penalties.

Role of Flight Data Recorder (FDR) and Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR)

Large commercial aircraft and some smaller commercial, corporate, and private aircraft are required by the FAA to be equipped with two recorders (sometimes called “black boxes) which record information about the flight. Both recorders may be used to help reconstruct the events leading to an aircraft accident. One of these recorders, the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR), records radio transmissions and sounds in the cockpit, such as the pilot’s voices and engine noises. The Flight Data Recorder (FDR) records parameters like altitude, airspeed and heading.

Recovering the CVR and the FDR are critical to any aviation accident investigation. Once located, both recorders are removed from the accident site and transported to NTSB headquarters in Washington D.C. for processing. Using computer and audio equipment, the information stored on the recorders is extracted and translated into an understandable format. The NTSB Investigator-in-Charge uses this information, along with other evidence gathered, to help the Safety Board determine what they believe is the probable cause of the accident.

Personal Injury Claims for Airplane Accidents

The primary theories of liability in aviation accidents are based on negligence, strict liability, or a combination of the two. In general, negligence is the failure to act as a reasonable person would under the same or similar circumstances. Airplane pilots, airplane maintenance personnel, and major airplane carriers can be held responsible under negligence law when an aviation accident results in injury or death. Strict liability is a legal theory recognized under product liability law. In aviation accident cases, the manufacturer and/or seller of an airplane (or a component part of an airplane) may be held strictly liable if the plan or part was defective and unreasonably dangerous.

The owners and operators of a commercial plane or aircraft who hold themselves out to the public as willing to carry all passengers are considered “common carriers.” Under the law, common carriers are generally held to a higher, more stringent standard than private carriers (which is simple negligence). However, the FAA imposes standards on both commercial carriers and private carriers. Understanding FAA standards, as well as the NTSB findings, is vital to successfully prosecuting an aviation crash.

As discussed, there are often multiple factors that cause or contribute to a airplane crash. Consequently, multiple parties often named in the same lawsuit and asked to share responsibility. Failing to name all responsible parties can substantially limit an aviation attorney’s ability to prove the case and recover full compensation. Therefore, retaining a qualified personal injury attorney experienced complex injury cases is a must.

Chicago Aviation Accident Attorney

In the event you or someone you know was seriously injured or died as result of an airplane crash or other aviation accident, contact a personal injury attorney who has the knowledge, skill, and experience to effectively guide you from beginning to end. For a Chicago based aviation attorney, we invite you to contact Jason M. Kroot of Kroot Law, LLC, for free consultation.

Client Reviews
Thorough, articulate, and extremely knowledgeable of the law. Jason is someone I would highly recommend to family and friends. He represented me in an automobile case and was very happy with the overall experience and outcome! Joni S.
Jason handled a very challenging auto accident case for me. My injuries were all based on preexisting conditions that were made worse by the accident. He did an amazing job proving up my case, which included destroying the defense expert at deposition. In the end, I received an excellent settlement on a tough case. Jason is a very smart, talented, and diligent lawyer who I would highly recommend to anyone. Phil S.