Records from the International Air Transport Association show that in 2014 there were 38 million flights that carried about 3.3 billion people to different destinations around the world. From 2011 to 2013, in the US alone, the yearly numbers of commercial airlines passengers were 734 million, 739 million and 744 million, respectively.
Despite this huge number, the aviation industry’s report on the number of yearly fatalities is only 600+, compared to the 30,000+ car accident deaths recorded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The Aviation Safety Network and other transportation authorities believe that air travel is the fastest and safest means of long-distance travel today, thanks to all the improvements undertaken by the (aviation) industry over the past years to avoid the same accidents from ever occurring again and, thus, ensure passenger safety.
Improvements and upgrades, however, are never enough to guarantee the overall safety of everyone on the plane; flying protocols should also be strictly observed by all those involved in air travel, including airline managers, pilot and crew, ground maintenance personnel and air traffic controllers.
Aviation accidents are rare. However, if one occurs, the consequences are usually tragic: severe injuries; trauma; or, death. And while fault is most commonly blamed on the pilot, there are other causes, such as an air traffic controller mistake, failure by a ground maintenance worker to detect a damaged part, or a faulty part which is actually a manufacturing defect.
Underlying all identified causes of aviation accidents is negligence and, due to this failure to perform what is part of one’s duty, the law, therefore, holds the negligent party, as well as all others who may have contributed (even indirectly ) to the accident, answerable to all those who have been affected or injured in the accident.
Though there is a preset compensation value (assigned by law) for each passenger, this does not take away injured passengers’ rights to take further legal actions against the airline company concerned and all others connected to the accident.
Law firms, though, are prohibited by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) from contacting the victims or their families until the 45th day after the accident. This 45-day rule, however, does not prohibit the victims from initiating communication with any attorney or law firm.
One very important reason why families or victims should consider contacting a lawyer immediately is for them to know their full rights with regard to compensation as the airline and insurance companies are very likely to settle with them.