When a Plane Crashes into a House, Who is Liable?

In most cases, when a plane crash occurs, those killed or seriously injured are the pilots and passengers. In many cases there is an investigation to determine who or what is responsible for the crash, and assign legal and financial responsibility. If, however, a plane crashes and people on the ground are injured, it may be more complicated.

In a recent accident, a small plane crashed in a residential area in Pompano Beach. The pilot, a flight instructor, was teaching two students, practicing take off and landing procedures when the plane took a nosedive and caught fire. The pilot and both passengers were badly burned in the crash.

According to witnesses on the ground, the plane took a sudden turn shortly after taking off and clipped the roof of a home. The plane continued to descend and move along its route, eventually crashing to the ground. It was a lucky accident that there were no children in the pool or backyard at the time. Had it been school vacation, there may have been more injured.

While the investigation into the crash is still ongoing, it is not immediately apparent who or what caused the accidents. There are a number of factors to consider when determining liability in a small plane accident:

  • Pilot negligence
  • Air traffic error
  • Equipment malfunction
  • Equipment maintenance negligence

Most crash accidents involve a combination of negligence and product liability, meaning both failure of the responsible party to act within an expected range of behaviors, and failure of a piece of equipment to function as intended or expected. In this scenario, liability is shared between the negligent person(s) and the manufacturer of the faulty part. In some instances a crash is caused by air traffic control error, and the liable party is a federal agency such as the Federal Aviation Association (FAA).

Many people survive small plane accidents, though many sustain serious burns and injuries that require months and years of treatment. It is crucial that a person injured in a plane accident receive sound legal advice in order to collect the appropriate compensation.

If a plane crash has affected your life, speak to an aviation accident attorney at the Law Office of Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivy & Fronrath. Our litigation team is waiting to hear about your case. Call our West Palm Beach offices at 561-655-1990 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.