Posts made in October, 2015

A Closer Look into the Top Two Causes of Aviation Accidents

Posted by on Oct 6, 2015 in Personal Injury | 0 comments

Every day, thousands of commercial planes take off from various airports in the US to transport hundreds of passengers per flight to local or international destinations. The aviation industry has gone a long way, boasting of over a hundred years of continuous improvement to make air travel safer and more comfortable than ever before.

Though aviation accidents do happen, these are always kept at a minimum, making transportation authorities, including those from the Aviation Safety Network, the US Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration, concur that air travel remains to be the safest and fastest means of transportation in the country.

There are different reasons why aviation accidents happen, but the two most recurring causes are pilot error and air traffic controller error. Pilot error, which tops the list, includes oversights and mistakes in operation, and lapses in judgment. These usually result in:

  • Navigational errors
  • A pilot causing a plane to head into a storm’s path
  • Failure to follow directions given by air traffic controllers, especially during takeoffs or landing
  • Failure to regularly check or correctly read cockpit instruments
  • Failure to extend flaps during takeoff
  • Disconnecting the autopilot intentionally or accidentally

Though most of the accidents are traceable to pilot error, the frequency of mistakes committed by air traffic controllers (ATCs) is much more overwhelming. In 2012, for instance, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) discovered 4,394 errors in the 132 million flights handled by ATCs; 41 of these errors were serious and could have had disastrous endings.

The primary duty of an air traffic controller is to ensure safety in commercial and private aircraft operations by: coordinating their movements to make sure that they are at safe distance from one another, directing them as they land or takeoff, and, guiding them around bad weather. These tasks are definitely not as easy as they sound, especially during peak air travel times when about 5,000 planes are in the sky every hour.

Other reasons that may explain ATC’s errors are their “rattlers” working schedule, which allows them very little sleep or no sleep at all before overnight shifts, resulting in some of them sleeping on the job. Another common issue is problems in communication due to the absence of standardized English phrases which will ensure that flight crews (especially non-Americans) and ATCs clearly understand each other.

Compared to road crashes, accidents involving aircrafts can be much more traumatic because passengers have nowhere to run or protect themselves from danger. Besides of this, the number of those who get injured, as well as of casualties, is always on a much larger scale.

Airline and Insurance companies take advantage of the so-called “45-day rule” to settle with victims (or families of victims) before any of the passengers would have time to file a civil lawsuit. This rule, which is enforced by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), prohibits law firms from contacting any of the passengers or their families within 45 days after the accident; it does not specifically forbid passengers, however, from making initial contact with law firms or lawyers.

A Tennessee personal injury attorney may probably be among those who would explain that the purpose for such rule is to allow family privacy during what could be a traumatic time and to wait for the outcome of the investigation about the accident, which is based primarily from whatever information may be acquired from the plane’s black box.

It is the basic right of aviation accident victims, or their families, to seek assistance in order to understand what  options they have, to know about the preset compensation value that is assigned by law for each passenger victim, the full amount of compensation they are legally allowed to seek, and what further action they can take to seek full justice for all the damages they have been made to suffer.

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