A Recent Incident at O’Hare Recalls Past Weather-Related Air Travel Problems in Chicago

In mid-November, the Chicagoland area saw a preview of winter, with temperatures in the teens and single digits, along with snow on the ground. Cold and slick conditions can cause havoc for drivers, but they can be especially perilous for air travelers. As if to remind everyone of that, ABC 7 had the story (and video) of an American Eagle flight arriving at O’Hare Airport that slid off its runway upon landing, after having already aborted one landing attempt due to poor weather conditions.

Sometimes, weather-related accidents are outside everyone’s control but, many times, these crashes have an element of human error to them. If you were hurt as a result of a bad-weather plane crash, you need an experienced Chicago aviation accident attorney on your side to help you get to the bottom of your accident and, if human or mechanical errors played a part, hold accountable those who were responsible for the harm you suffered.

Thankfully, no passengers, crew members or people on the ground were hurt in this recent incident. Not all weather-influenced flight accidents here had such fortunate outcomes. Back in December 2005, a Southwest Airlines flight slid off a runway at Midway Airport while the pilot attempted to land in a snowstorm. The plane eventually careened through a wall and into a roadway intersection. A 6-year-old boy died in the accident. At the conclusion of the NTSB’s investigation, that agency concluded that the accident was the result of pilot error. Specifically, the pilots failed “to use available reverse thrust in a timely manner to safely slow or stop the airplane after landing, which resulted in a runway overrun.” That failure came as the result of the pilots’ having been distracted by the plane’s autobrake system, according to the NTSB.

Before that, on Halloween 1994, an American Eagle flight bound for O’Hare never made it, crashing into a farm field in northwest Indiana, killing all 68 on board. That flight crashed due to ice on its wings, brought on by maintaining a holding pattern that placed it inside a pocket of freezing rain. The NTSB’s investigation in that case revealed that the crash was due, in part, to mechanical problems with the plane and, more specifically, the airplane manufacturer’s failure to disclose known issues regarding that model of plane and icing conditions.

Compensation may be available whether the cause was human error or a mechanical flaw

Whether your accident is the result of a design defect in the plane or pilot error, you may be entitled to receive compensation. When your accident is the result of pilot error, as was the case in the 2005 crash, you may have a strong claim against the airline. The airline could be held vicariously liable for the pilots’ negligence. The victims could also potentially pursue a claim against the airline based on its direct negligence if the plaintiffs obtained proof that the accident was caused by inadequate training, or was caused by the airline’s hiring (or failing to fire) a pilot that the airline knew (or should have known) was unable to fly safely. In each of these scenarios, strong proof may offer the opportunity to pursue a claim successfully based on the airline’s direct negligence.

If yours is the result of mechanical flaw, as was the circumstance in the 1994 crash, then you clearly may have a case against the manufacturer. You may also have a claim against the airline if it knew or should have known about the unsafe planes but continued to use them (or use them in the wrong climate zones) anyway.

There may be many different reasons the airplane that caused your injuries did not perform as it should have. Perhaps there was pilot error, perhaps there was a mechanical flaw with the aircraft or maybe there was a combination of both. Whether the problem in your case was human, machine or both, there may be options within the legal system to obtain the financial recovery your family may urgently need after such an accident. Call upon the experienced Chicago aviation accident attorneys at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca for the wise legal advice and effective advocacy you need. To set up a free case evaluation, contact us at 800-444-1525 or through our website.