Pilot Negligence

Hurt in Houston- Pilot Negligence

Have you ever heard that flying in a plane is safer than driving? Statistically, it is true. You are less likely to die or get injured in a plane than in a car. However, suppose you are one of the few in an aviation accident. In that case, you are likely to suffer severe injuries or die.

In other words, the risk of an accident may be lower, but the consequences of an accident are higher. That is why it is so important to have responsible pilots.

Why Are Planes Safer Than Cars?

There are a few reasons that planes are safer than cars. First, there is less traffic in the air than on the ground. Plus, air traffic controllers direct traffic, helping planes avoid wrecks. However, the biggest reason that air travel is generally safe is technology. Planes have safety features that help protect their passengers.

The smaller the aircraft, the less likely it is to have advanced safety features. However, even helicopters and light aircraft have ways of keeping you safe.

What Causes Aviation Accidents?

Hurt in Houston | Faulty Airplane Instrumentation Lawyer
Hurt in Houston | Faulty Airplane Instrumentation Lawyer

If air travel is so safe, why are there aviation accidents? There are a few causes. However, the single largest reason is pilot negligence.

What Is Negligence?

Negligence is a legal term. It means failing to exercise the level of care that a reasonable person would have used under the same circumstances.

Negligence is situationally specific. In other words, a pilot must meet the standard of other reasonable pilots.

To establish negligence, you have to prove four elements

  • Duty
  • Breach of duty
  • Damages
  • Causation

If you can answer yes to the following four questions, then you may have a claim against the pilot.

  • Did the pilot have a duty to you?
  • Did the pilot breach that duty?
  • Did the breach cause the accident?
  • Did the accident cause damages?

Negligence can be an act or an omission. In other words, to create liability, a person can do something (an act) or fail to do something (an omission).

What Is a Pilot’s Duty of Care?

The FAA outlines the safety standards for commercial and private pilots. Commercial pilots have a higher standard of care than private pilots. However, all pilots have a duty to

  • Have the appropriate license to pilot the craft
  • Have the experience and training to pilot the craft
  • Perform safety checks before flying
  • Evaluate the weather before and during the flight
  • Communicate with air traffic control
  • Navigate correctly
  • Be sober
  • Manage fuel reserves
  • Monitor speed, velocity, altitude, location
  • Properly use flight equipment

Failure to meet any of those duties can be negligence.

Is Anyone Else Responsible for Pilot Negligence?

If the pilot is the owner/operator of the plane, then the answer is probably no.

However, if the pilot is an employee, their employer may be responsible. The doctrine of respondeat superior makes employers accountable for employee wrongdoing.

The owner of the plane may also be liable. They have a duty only to let responsible pilots fly their aircraft. They might be liable if they allowed an unqualified pilot to fly the plane.

Contact Us for Help

Ready to find out more? Contact the Salazar Law Firm. We are happy to answer any questions you may have. We can also set up a free consultation to discuss your case.