Most people will never have to experience an aviation accident, but when they do they are larger than life. They happen like any other accident, with no warning, and leave everyone involved in a type of shock, left to ponder the situation. It is important to understand what happens after the initial shock wears off. You need to know how you are going to recover physically and monetarily, as well as protect your rights.
First, there is aid available to both survivors and families after an accident, the amount of aid is based on the location and type of accident. For example, the amount of aid may be different is you happen to crash outside of the United States or it happens to be a smaller crash.
The Family Assistance Act and First Response
After an aviation accident occurs there are going to be laws that come into play from various state, federal, and international levels. One of the key components is a federal law known as The Aviation Disaster Family Assistance Act of 1996. This Act dictates how airlines and government agencies are required to act following an accident. Included Are The Following Responsibilities:
Create a system of support for families that include counseling and grief services.
Establish regular briefings and communications with families. This will include the uncomfortable task of confirming deceased family members.
Plans will be set into motion to identify remains and effects and promptly return them to family members.
Assigning caregivers to families who need support.
The support that you receive from an airline after an aviation accident is required by the law. This is not the airline admitting fault in any way and should not make you waver in your decision to seek additional damages.
The Family Assistance Act will not adhere to accidents involving smaller commuter or commercial services. These types of services have their own response plans ready in an emergency. Local and state agencies such as the Red Cross can also be contacted for assistance following an aviation accident.
Seeking Financial Assistance After an Air Disaster
After an accident occurs you may find that you are in need of financial assistance. There are several sources available that you may be able to turn to for help. This includes life insurance policies as well as workers’ compensation, depending on your particular situation.
Some of the airlines have agreements in place that allow them to offer set payments in advance to survivors of families of deceased passengers. Once again these payments are not admitting fault, it is important to keep that in mind. If you seek litigation and are awarded damages, the monies collected from these payments will be subtracted from the overall amount.
After an accident, it is important to watch out for loans and advance payments. There are many companies who are willing to help you n your time of need and will make a legitimate offer. Unfortunately, there are many scammers who watch for these types of accident and prey on the families and individuals who are vulnerable and in need of help. If anyone is to offer you any type of advanced settlement read over the contract or show it to your lawyer
Communication After An Accident
After an accident, there are going to be many people and sources wanting to talk to you. Typically these communications will begin with you verifying your identity and relationship to the crash victim. Depending on the crash and how you were involved in it or to a person involved in the crash it is quite possible to be contacted by some of the following agencies:
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies
Companies that are involved with the accident
Attorneys representing other accident victims and their families
News media outlets
It is important to be careful of who you talk to about the accident or your personal situation and look out for your rights and privacy. Stay in control of the conversation and make sure you know who you are really talking to. You want to know why they are calling, who they represent, and who they are. You are free to not have to talk to anyone other than law enforcement and investigators at this time. If you already have a specialized aviation lawyer on retainer it is just best to refer them to them.