Liability for Airplane Crashes in Alaska

Alaska is the fifth smallest state in the US according to population, which is why it is shocking to learn about the number of fatalities from aviation accidents within the state. Statistics indicate that a whopping 42% of all deaths in airplane crashes occurred in Alaska from 2016 to the present, a major spike from 26% in the early 2000s. When you consider the aviation environment, the data actually makes sense. More than 80% of Alaska communities are not reachable by highways, so travel by air is necessary.

The high number of fatalities is also a product of Alaska’s rugged landscape and quickly changing weather, especially considering that mountains and glaciers are capable of creating their own weather patterns. Still, despite these challenges, aviation carriers have a legal duty to protect their passengers. You may have legal remedies based upon different theories of liability, so trust an Anchorage airplane crashes lawyer to assist if you were hurt in an accident. Some background information may also be helpful.

Negligence and Common Carriers 

Most personal injury accidents are caused by carelessness, so the at-fault party may be liable under the theory of negligence. A victim must prove that the incident occurred because another person or entity failed to exercise reasonable care, such as while driving. However, airlines that transport passengers for a fee are considered common carriers. The laws require them to exercise the highest degree of care and diligence when carrying passengers. An aviation company may breach this duty of care by:

  • Failing to de-ice a plane before departure;
  • Not warning passengers to return to seats and fasten seat belts in the event of turbulence;
  • Neglecting to conduct inspection, follow routine maintenance, and make repairs;
  • Failure to properly secure overhead baggage;
  • Take-off, flying, and landing errors;
  • Not allowing proper rest for pilots and crew between flights; and,
  • Failing to comply with federal and state safety regulations. 

In addition, some plane crashes are caused by support and ground crew that are not affiliated with the airline. Air traffic controllers may be negligent when guiding aircraft for departures, landings, and taxiing, often resulting in an accident.

Strict Liability 

Pinpointing the cause of an airplane crash is important because the incident may be the result of defective parts, systems, electronics, or components. In such a case, a victim’s claim may be based upon strict liability. You do not need to prove that the manufacturer was at fault or negligent in designing or producing the defective item. However, you do need evidence showing that the flaw was the direct cause of the aviation accident. Expert witnesses are usually necessary to establish causation for these incidents.

An Alaska Airplane Crashes Attorney Can Assist with Your Claim

For more information on liability for aviation accidents, please contact Power & Power Law to set up a free case evaluation. You can reach our Anchorage, Alaska offices by call 907-222-9990 or visiting our website. After reviewing your situation, an airplane crash lawyer can advise you on options.