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Chicago-Connected Accidents Illustrate How Manufacturing and Maintenance Failures Can Lead to Tragic Outcomes in Aircraft Crashes

| May 29, 2024 | Aviation Accidents |

Recently, many aviation accidents with Chicago ties have been making the news. Whether it is a Chicago accident caused by maintenance failures, or international accidents allegedly caused by a Chicago manufacturer’s shortcomings, all of these tragic crashes remind us of the utmost importance of aircraft safety at all junctures, whether it is design, manufacturing, inspection, maintenance or repair. A failure at any of these steps can cost lives and can cost them in the hundreds. If you’ve been hurt in an airplane crash, whether due to manufacturing problems or maintenance issues, be sure you have experienced Chicago aviation accident counsel to provide you the advice and advocacy you need.

May 2019 marks the 40th anniversary of the deadliest airplane crash in the United States. That flight was an American Airlines jet headed from O’Hare Airport to Los Angeles. The plane crashed shortly after take-off, killing 271 on board and two on the ground. Ultimately, the post-crash investigation zeroed in upon the structure that held the engine to the left wing. NTSB investigators concluded that the structure failed (and the engine detached from the wing,) not because of a manufacturing defect, but because the airline used an improper maintenance process for the structure, even though the engine manufacturer had reviewed the process and advised against it.

If you were to suffer injury in a circumstance like that, you would very possibly have a claim against the airline for its negligent maintenance of its aircraft. A private person driving his private car doesn’t have a duty to know about the maintenance status of his car, but commercial airlines are what the law calls “common carriers,” and they do have a duty to make sure they are maintaining their aircraft in a safe condition.

More recently, deadly airplane crashes have allegedly been the result of manufacturing defects, not maintenance issues. A Lion Air flight between two Indonesian cities crashed, killing 189 passengers and crew. An Ethiopian Airlines flight from Ethiopia to Kenya crashed five months later, killing 157. The commonality between the two flights was that both planes were the same model, made by the same manufacturer.

The families of the deceased passengers in those two flights brought suit here in Chicago (where the manufacturer is headquartered.) The families alleged in their lawsuit that the manufacturer’s planes were defective and that those defects caused the deaths of their loved ones.

In a case like this, there are a variety of types of damages you, as a loved one, can pursue. You may be entitled to compensation for your own harm (such as loss of companionship and loss of financial support.) Additionally, you may be able to pursue claims on behalf of your late family member. Even if a victim dies in an accident, that victim’s loved ones potentially are entitled to recover the damages that person would have received had she survived.

In other words, a negligent aircraft manufacturer may be liable for a passenger’s emotional trauma, even if that passenger died in the crash. As Bloomberg explained it, the exact amount of those damages would require the court in Chicago to answer the question, “How long did the victims know they were plunging to their deaths”?

On top of those areas, if you can prove that the manufacturer knew about the problem, but did nothing to address it, you may be able to receive an additional sum of damages.

In air travel, problems rarely occur. However, when they do, they often inflict devastating or fatal harm. The experienced Chicago aviation injury attorneys at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca are here to give you the skillful legal representation your case deserves. To set up a free case evaluation, contact us at 312-724-5846 or through our website.