If you have been involved in an airplane or aviation accident you can expect a complex lawsuit to follow. Once you have found an aviation lawyer to work on your case you will soon find the amount of work that is going to be involved in the case. One of the first things to go into motion is an investigation where witnesses will be interviewed and trial preparation will begin.
Aviation Accident Scene Investigation
Your lawyer is going to set into motion a series of events that will help your case, starting with a full investigation and hiring an experienced aviation consultant. The consultant is going to help your lawyer build a solid case but will not be a witness. Consultants who work with lawyers usually have a strong aviation background and have usually worked in the industry. They sometimes have government or private sector jobs and know key individuals in the aviation field.
As the consultant and your lawyer look into the accident it enables them to determine possible causes and errors in the case and helps them to build their case. There are three main areas that will be investigated.
Possible Pilot Error Your lawyer will look into any indications that the pilot was at fault due to any type of health issues, erratic behavior or lapse in judgment.
Aircraft Mechanical Problems There will be an in-depth look into the aircraft to determine if there were mechanical problems that lead to a malfunction. This can include problems with the fuel system, landing gear, broken parts, faulty controls or even missed repairs.
External Factors Other factors that will be examined include the weather, conditions of the runway and airport, air traffic control, and the quality of the fuel.
Here is an informative video regarding aviation litigation:
Problems With Access To Airline Crash Site
One of the biggest problems in an aviation lawsuit is the ability of your lawyer to get access to the accident scene and plane wreckage. While it is important for a lawyer to examine all parts of a salvaged plane their access is strictly limited. After an accident, the National Transportation Safety Board will take control and custody of all the wreckage and parts and place a hold on them for up to 18 months. The statute of limitation in this type of case is only 24 months leaving a small window open for litigation. During this time, your lawyer will need to employ other methods to get the information needed to build a strong case.
With your lawyer unable to access all the information they need they may decide to on other options such as their choice of expert witnesses. This is due to the fact that the NTSB will allow experts to view and watch engine inspection as well as examine aircraft wreckage. The NTSB is aware of the limits on time that many plaintiffs face. The insurance representatives and aircraft manufacturer more than likely have representatives on hand with access and are actively participating in the NTSB investigation.
Reconstruction Of The Aircraft Accident
Your lawyer is going to hire accident reconstruction experts to better understand the crash site. These experts will be able to better understand the site and the crash by examining the point of impact, the vegetation in the area, and areas of ground marred by fire. During this reconstruction, it is quite possible to find missing pieces of the puzzle, such as plane parts that were missed during earlier investigations. Photographs, diagrams, and visual inspections will all be an integral part of this aspect of the crash site investigation.
Your lawyer will also have several other sources available to research. Important evidence can be recovered from first responders, media outlets, as well as any witnesses. The information that can be recovered during this vital part of the investigation can help narrow down possibilities and even learn who is responsible.
Expert Air Accident Witnesses and Trial Preparation
Your lawyer will have a slew of expert witnesses ready to testify for the case. These experts will speak to any issues of the aircraft as well as possible causes of the accident. Other witnesses will talk about possible medical conditions as well as any pain and suffering and long-term effects from the crash.
Many of these experts will be able to address a wide range of topics regarding the case. This can include information on the electrical systems, possible pilot error, plane condition, manufacturing mistakes, and general avionics.
One of the major aspects of your case is working with and preparing experts for trial. During this stage of the case, all documents and resources will be prepared for depositions during discovery. Discovery is an important aspect of the case as some types of evidence may not be allowed to be admitted into the trial for one reason or another.
Ending preparation will include the creation of visual aids such as computer-generated animation. Final preparation with witness and experts regarding any evidence that will not be allowed in trial will be addressed as well. At this time, your lawyer will be prepared to argue a well-organized case to the jury and presiding judge.