Who is Liable for an Airplane Accident in Alaska?


There are many people who have a fear of flying, but there is some truth to the popular assumption that air travel is among the safest forms of transportation. Statistics indicate that there is an average of approximately 245 fatalities every year on airplane crashes. The highest number of deaths in recent years – 943 in 2010 – still pales in comparison to the annual fatalities linked to motor vehicle collisions. Fortunately for victims who were hurt or lost loved ones in an aviation accident, Alaska personal injury laws offer options.

One of the initial questions with these cases is who is liable for causing the airline collision, a factor that depends on the circumstances. You may have grounds to pursue different parties based upon their role in the crash. It is wise to trust anAlaska airplane crash attorney for assistance with the complicated legal process, but some basics about liability should help explain.


Flight Errors

The most obvious party to hold accountable for mistakes in operating the aircraft is the pilot, but most airplane crash claims involve an employer-employee or other business relationship. Commercial aviation companies either employ the pilot or work through an independent contractor relationship, so they may be liable under one of two theories:

  • Vicarious liability, in which an employer can be accountable for negligence by its employee; or,
  • Negligence in contracting with the pilot who caused the crash.


Defective Parts

There may be flaws in the design or manufacturing of the aircraft, as well as any of its numerous parts and components. Defective parts are the responsibility of the company that produced them or played a role in having them installed on the plane. Examples of potential parties include:

  • The manufacturer;
  • A shipping company or carrier;
  • The seller; and,
  • The company that installed the part.

Maintenance Failures

Commercial aviation companies are required to handle routine maintenance, conduct inspections, and make repairs to aircraft. These important tasks enable crews to identify any defective parts as mentioned above, as well as to detect issues with wear and tear and potential equipment failures. The airline may take on these responsibilities, but some operators rely on ground support at the airfield.

Communication Mishaps

The pilot is just one member of an entire team that is involved with safe operation of the airplane, but air traffic controllers, line service technicians, fuelers, and avionics techs are also part of the process. Miscommunication between and among these individuals can lead to disastrous results. The issue is critical when looking at air travel in Alaska, which is heavily impacted by weather conditions.

An Alaska Airplane Crash Lawyer Will Advise You

Airline accidents are unique in that there are different forms of liability, in addition to the multiple potential parties you can pursue. For additional details about your rights, please contact Power & Power Law. You can call 907-222-9990 orvisit our website to set up a no-cost case review at our offices in Anchorage, Alaska. We can explain next steps after assessing your circumstances.