Liability in a plane crash is similar to auto accidents, but the details of the cases are very different. There can also be vicarious liability in some plane crash cases, including engine manufacturers and aircraft companies. Just because some plane owners have not experienced problems with a plane design does not mean that others will not. Of course, weather can be a real issue when using a plane for any traveling needs, and sometimes weather can be a valid defense in certain situations when the plane is cleared for take off and there is no apparent reason for safety concern. However, how an accident occurs is critical to claims, as fatalities are the common result.
All plane owners are responsible to passengers for their safety and care while in flight, and all airplanes must be current regarding equipment and operational inspection. Landing gear and engine inspections are primary among these checkpoints, but basic requirements such as fuel supply and fuselage integrity are important considerations as well. Many plane crashes occur due to insufficient flight preparation.
Vicarious liability is negligence by third-party entities that have failed in their obligation of a reasonable duty of care to plane passengers. In addition to plane manufacturers and necessary equipment manufacturers, these parties can also include parachute suppliers and other associated equipment. Plane crashes can also be the result of air flight clearance personnel in some instances when the plane should not be given authority to fly due to a variety of reasons such as unacceptable flight plan, congested air traffic, or inclement weather.
Plane accident investigations can be long and difficult undertakings when a crash is investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration. Determining liability can be a difficult task without experienced aeronautics professionals evaluating the crash.