It can be difficult to adjust to your daily life after an aircraft injury. You may still be in pain from your injuries, be forced to take time off work to recover, or perhaps even lost someone you loved in the accident. It’s only right that your priorities should lie with your health and your family at this time, and there are things that you can do to protect both in the days and weeks following an airline incident.
How to Proceed After You Are Injured in an Aviation Accident
The first thing you must do after an accident in a small plane, helicopter, or commercial aircraft is to get medical treatment. Even if others are referring to the incident as “minor,” you should receive medical attention as soon as possible in order to document your injuries. You should also follow any treatment plans or recommendations made by your doctor, including keeping your follow-up appointments and refraining from any activities that could make the injury worse.
Your next step should be to meet with an aviation accident attorney to discuss your case. Each state sets its own deadline for filing an injury lawsuit, known as the statute of limitations. Once this time limit has passed, victims may be permanently unable to recover payment for their injuries. For this reason, it is best to consult with an attorney sooner rather than later. In order to give injury victims access to representation without increasing their financial burdens, our attorneys provide free initial consultations after an aviation accident and do not collect any legal fees unless we recover compensation.
While your attorney can take on the legal responsibilities of your case while you heal from your injuries, your input can be invaluable to your attorney as he or she:
- Investigates the claim. Any notes you have taken about the accident, such as the weather conditions, actions taken by the pilot and cabin crew, and other details can help your attorney investigate the incident. Your claim may involve a mix of state injury laws and federal safety statutes, so your attorney should have experience in dealing with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The NTSB is responsible for investigating aircraft accidents, so your attorney may need to contact the NTSB to obtain their reports. If the incident was caused by a violation of FAA regulations, the federal government may assess civil or criminal penalties in addition to your personal injury claim.
- Gathers evidence. Any documentation you have in relation to the accident, such as pictures of the plane or runway, letters and emails from the airline or the airline’s insurance carrier, your medical records, and photos of your injuries, can serve as evidence in your injury claim. Your attorney may use this information as a starting point to contact witnesses and fellow victims, prevent spoliation of black box recordings, and hire qualified experts (such as pilots or air traffic controller) to give testimony in your case.
- Determines liability. In order to determine liability, your attorney will have to decide which party breached its duty of care to you and your fellow passengers. Your attorney can advise you on who may be held legally responsible for your injuries based on the cause of the accident. Responsible parties may include the owner or operator of the aircraft, pilots and cabin crew, manufacturers of planes or aircraft components, maintenance crews, or even the federal government.
- Calculates damages. Damages in an aviation accident case can go far beyond lost time from work and medical costs. Victims may be unable to work at all in the future, or may be forced to take different jobs that pay far less that what they earned before the injury. An attorney can take many different factors into account when determining an amount that will compensate you for lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, mental anguish, rehabilitation and physical therapy, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), loss of consortium, funeral costs, and punitive damages.
- Secures fair compensation and justice. The two main advantages of filing an injury case are to secure compensation and ensure that the same injuries do not happen to others. Your attorney can advise you every step of the way, protecting your right to payment while ensuring that the negligent party is held accountable to prevent a similar accident in the future.
At GriffithLaw, we conduct a thorough investigation to determine who is responsible for your airline injury—and we do not collect any legal fees unless we recover compensation for you. Simply fill out the short contact form on this page to set up your no-cost injury consultation, or learn more about your rights in our free guide, The 10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make With Your Tennessee Injury Case.