Aviation Accident Law - Aircraft Injury Law



Aviation Accident Laws pertain to the handling of airplane crashes. While traveling by air is still one of the safest forms of transportation, and airplane crashes are extremely rare, they do still happen occasionally. When they do, this area of law governs how the fallout, both literal and figurative, is handled.

Personal Claims

Families of those killed in an airplane accident, as well as survivors, are generally able to bring a wide array of legal claims against the responsible airline, aircraft manufacturer, pilot, or others. These laws are largely similar to the personal injury and product liability claims one would rely upon in a typical auto accident. Of course, these claims rely largely upon determining the cause of the accident, such as pilot error, mechanical failures, or defective parts. Often, more than one factor may play a part in the accident, triggering multiple theories of recovery and multiple and overlapping laws and regulations related to various aspects of the aviation industry.

Federal Tort Claims Act

On some occasions, a plane accident can be caused by federal employees, such as a federal air traffic controllers. When this occurs, one may need to look to the Federal Tort Claims Act. The Federal Tort Claims Act sets forth special rules and procedures for suing an employee of the federal government. It can be particularly important in midair collision cases or in accidents where misrouted air traffic is to blame.

Federal Assistance for Victims of Airplane Accident

The Aviation Disaster Family Assistance Act requires the federal government to provide support to families of victims in major airplane crashes or accidents. It also places certain duties on the airline, and limits attorney solicitation of airplane crash victims. Pursuant to the Act, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) must designate an independent nonprofit organization to coordinate services for the disaster survivors and victims' families, such as mental health and counseling services, providing a place for families to grieve without disruption by the press or attorneys, victim identification and forensic services, daily briefings to families of victims, communicating with foreign governments, and translation services. The Act also requires the airlines involved in the accident to, among other things, establish a toll-free telephone line for families of victims, identify all passengers who boarded the flight, inform families of those passengers before the list is made public, inform families of the death of family members, and assist the families in traveling to the location of the accident.

Should you have any questions regarding Aviation Accident Laws, you should review the materials found below and contact an attorney. You can find attorneys in your area that can assist you by visiting our Law Firms page.

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Aviation Accident Law - US

  • Approved Production Inspection System (APIS)

    An approved production inspection system is an FAA-approved inspection process applicable to products manufactured more than 6 months after the date of issue of the type certificate, supplemental type certificate, or licensing agreement. The manufacturer shall establish and maintain an approved production inspection system (APIS) or obtain a production certificate to ensure that each product conforms to its type design and is in a condition for safe operation.

  • Aviation Safety Action Program

    The goal of the Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP) is to enhance aviation safety through the prevention of accidents and incidents. Its focus is to encourage voluntary reporting of safety issues and events that come to the attention of employees of certain certificate holders.

  • CFR - Title 14 - Aeronautics and Space (SFARs)

    This part prescribes rules governing the certification and operation of land airports which serve any scheduled or unscheduled passenger operation of an air carrier that is conducted with an aircraft having a seating capacity of more than 30 passengers. This part does not apply to airports at which air carrier passenger operations are conducted only by reason of the airport being designated as an alternate airport.

  • Commercial Aviation Safety Team

    Founded in 1997, the Commercial Aviation Safety Team has developed an integrated, data driven strategy to reduce the commercial aviation fatality risk in the United States and promote new government and industry safety initiatives throughout the world.

  • DOT - Future of Aviation Advisory Committee

    The Aviation Advisory Committee will provide information, advice, and recommendations to the Secretary of Transportation on ensuring the competitiveness of the U.S. aviation industry and its capability to address the evolving transportation needs, challenges, and opportunities of the global economy.

  • FAA - Airworthiness Directives

    This database provides you with all Airworthiness Directives (ADs) issued by the FAA which are still in effect -- some date back to the 1940's. You can quickly view recently published data in this database. ADs can be searched by any word or group of words; or viewed by Number or Make. It is also possible to view historical AD information to see old or cancelled ADs.

  • FAA - Rulemaking Committees

    The FAA Administrator approves these committee charters.

  • FAA - System Safety Management Program

    This section describes the System Risk Management policies and guidance used within the FAA. The overarching documents are FAA Order 8040.4, Safety Management System (SMS) guidance, and Acquisition Management System (AMS) policy.

  • Federal Aviation Administration

    Our continuing mission is to provide the safest, most efficient aerospace system in the world. We strive to reach the next level of safety, efficiency, environmental responsibility and global leadership. We are accountable to the American public and our stakeholders.

  • International Civil Aviation Organization (Annex 13)

    Under Annex 13, the State where the accident occurs will lead the accident investigation. Besides accident where The other main parties involved are the State where the aircraft is registered, the State where the airline operator is from, or the State where the aircraft is designed or manufactured. ICAO Annex 13 stipulates that the States of registry, operator, design and manufacture have the right to appoint an Accredited Representative to the investigation. The Accredited Representatives, assisted by their advisers (ie the investigators), shall have the right to participate in all aspects of the investigation.

  • Lawyer Pilots Bar Association

    Welcome to the Lawyer Pilots Bar Association, an international non-profit association of individuals who share a common interest in aviation, aviation safety and the law.

  • National Transportation Safety Board

    The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent U.S. Government investigative agency responsible for civil transportation accident investigation. In this role, the NTSB investigates and reports on aviation accidents and incidents, certain types of highway crashes, ship and marine accidents, pipeline incidents and railroad accidents. When requested, the NTSB will assist the military with accident investigation

  • National Transportation Safety Board Reauthorization Act of 2010

    A bill to amend title 49, United States Code, to authorize appropriations for the National Transportation Safety Board for fiscal years 2011 and 2012, and for other purposes.

  • NTSB - 49 CFR 830 Notification and Reporting of Aircraft Accidents or Incidents

    Federal regulations require operators to notify the NTSB immediately of aviation accidents and certain incidents. An accident is defined as an occurrence associated with the operation of an aircraft that takes place between the time any person boards the aircraft with the intention of flight and all such persons have disembarked, and in which any person suffers death or serious injury, or in which the aircraft receives substantial damage. An incident is an occurrence other than an accident that affects or could affect the safety of operations.

  • NTSB - Aviation Accident Investigation Guides and Procedures

    Investigation guides and procedures are NTSB staff products intended to provide information and guidance to NTSB employees who are involved in organizing and conducting investigations. These documents have not been adopted by the NTSB Board Members, are not regulatory in nature, are not a binding statement of policy, and are not all-inclusive.

  • Technical Standard Orders Authorization (TSO)

    A TSO is a minimum performance standard for specified materials, parts, and appliances used on civil aircraft. When authorized to manufacture a material, part, or appliances to a TSO standard, this is referred to as TSO authorization. Receiving a TSO authorization is both design and production approval.

  • Warsaw Convention - Airline Liability

    The first international convention pertaining to liability in international air transportation, the Convention prescribes rules for air carrier liability in case of death or injury to passengers, destruction, loss or damage to baggage, and losses resulting from delay of passengers, baggage and cargo. Liability limits set by the Convention were raised in 1955 by the Hague Protocol to the Warsaw Convention.

Organizations Related to Aviation Accident Law

  • Air Navigation Bureau

    The Air Navigation Bureau develops technical studies for the Air Navigation Commission as well as recommendations for Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) relating to the safety, regularity and efficiency of international air navigation for the Council.

  • Aviation Safety Network

    The Aviation Safety Network is a private, independent initiative founded in 1996. On line since January 1996, the Aviation Safety Network covers accidents and safety issues with regards to airliners, military transport planes and corporate jets. The ASN Safety Database contains detailed descriptions of over 10,700 incidents, hijackings and accidents.

  • AVweb

    Aviation News Service/Internet Magazine for aviation professionals. The Professionally written "NewsWire" is updated weekly to explain current developments in government and industry. Avweb publishes a FREE weekly AVflash Newletter which covers recent develpments and contains in depth articles by columnists, contributing editors, aviation writers and staff of The AvWeb Group. Anyone with a serious interest in Aviation should subscribe to AVflash and visit AvWeb regularly.

  • Flight Safety Foundation

    Flight Safety Foundation was formed in 1947 to pursue the continuous improvement of global aviation safety. The Foundation meets this objective through research, auditing, education, advocacy and publishing.

Publications Related to Aviation Accident Law

  • Aviation Safety Magazine

    Aviation Safety, the monthly journal of risk management and accident prevention, is packed with useful, timely information on basic and advanced technique, accident analysis and, most important, practical articles on how you can develop the judgment that will keep you in the air and out of the NTSB's files.

  • NTSB - Aviation Accident Database and Synopses

    he NTSB aviation accident database contains information from 1962 and later about civil aviation accidents and selected incidents within the United States, its territories and possessions, and in international waters. Generally, a preliminary report is available online within a few days of an accident. Factual information is added when available, and when the investigation is completed, the preliminary report is replaced with a final description of the accident and its probable cause. Full narrative descriptions may not be available for dates before 1993, cases under revision, or where NTSB did not have primary investigative responsibility.

  • Operators Guide to Human Factors in Aviation (OGHFA)

    The Operators Guide to Human Factors in Aviation is a project of the Flight Safety Foundation European Advisory Committee. The project is designed to provide operational need-to-know information on human factors topics to aviation personnel.




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