Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed by Relatives Following Plane Crash

The crash rate from private-pilot flights has increased even as the number of accidents has declined for commercial airliners. An aircraft accident often results in serious injuries and these accidents often prove fatal.

Following a plane crash in December, several of the family members of passengers who died along with Jenni Rivera filed lawsuits alleging the plane was unsafe and the pilots were unqualified. They are seeking answers to the questions of how and why the plane nosedived into mountainous terrain in northern Mexico.

The private plane was to fly from Monterrey, Mexico to Toluca, a Mexico City suburb on December 9, 2012. The 43-year-old Learjet 25 was registered in the United States and the National Transportation Safety Board is assisting with the investigation into what caused the accident.

LAWSUIT ALLEGATIONS

The lawsuit seeks damages from Jenni Rivera Enterprises and Starwood Management, the charter company that owned and operated the aircraft at the time of the crash. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, a Starwood executive said the plane was well maintained. He suggested it was possible that the 78-year-old pilot suffered a heart attack or had a similar health emergency while in the air.

Further allegations in the filing argue that the aircraft sustained structural damage when it struck a runway marker at an airport in 2005. In the lawsuit, the plane is referred to as a ‘bucket of bolts.’ Questions exist whether either pilot had a proper license to operate a Learjet under the conditions.

At a two-day forum last summer, aviation safety proponents discussed ways to make non-commercial flying safer. Aviation accidents can happen when pilots do not pay attention to the basics. For instance, failure to check weather reports can easily cause a crash. Investigators found that a private pilot’s failure to check weather reports caused a 2011 New Mexico accident where the aircraft flew into a cloud and then hit the mountainside.

According to the NTSB, the general aviation accident rate between 2007 and 2010 was about seven per 100,000 flying hours. For private pilots in their own or rented planes, the average increased to 12 accidents per 100,000 flight hours. The break down works out to 12 times higher risk of a private-flight crash.

The amount of oversight of private pilots and planes is different than for commercial carriers. When an accident occurs, it is often difficult to pinpoint the cause or causes. Maintenance logs may show a failure to maintain the plane or an investigation into pilot experience and licensure could uncover that the pilot was not qualified. Following any aircraft accident, consult an attorney experienced in the aviation field, who can discuss available legal remedies.

COMMON MISTAKES CAN HAVE DEADLY CONSEQUENCES

At a two-day forum last summer, aviation safety proponents discussed ways to make non-commercial flying safer. Aviation accidents can happen when pilots do not pay attention to the basics. For instance, failure to check weather reports can easily cause a crash. Investigators found that a private pilot’s failure to check weather reports caused a 2011 New Mexico accident where the aircraft flew into a cloud and then hit the mountainside.

According to the NTSB, the general aviation accident rate between 2007 and 2010 was about seven per 100,000 flying hours. For private pilots in their own or rented planes, the average increased to 12 accidents per 100,000 flight hours. The break down works out to a 12 times higher risk of a private-flight crash.

The amount of oversight of private pilots and planes is different than for commercial carriers. When an accident occurs, it is often difficult to pinpoint the cause or causes. Maintenance logs may show a failure to maintain the plane or an investigation into pilot experience and licensure could uncover that the pilot was not qualified. Following any aircraft accident, consult an attorney experienced in the aviation field, who can discuss available legal remedies.

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