A defective instrument may cause the pilot to make a miscalculation or error in judgment, or a component on the aircraft may fail in flight, resulting in a crash. In these examples, the manufacturers responsible for the defective aircraft design can be legally responsible for the injuries or deaths of the aircraft’s crew and passengers. If mechanical error or defective design is responsible for a deadly aviation accident, victims or families of victims may collect damages from the manufacturer.
What types of aircraft equipment failures cause accidents?
An aircraft is made up of thousands of parts and devices designed to work in harmony to safely transport goods and passengers. If even one fails, it can result in disaster for the pilot, passengers and even those on the ground. Equipment that can fail in-flight include:
- Structural Components: The metal parts used in aircraft construction must meet stringent FAA standards. Constant takeoffs, landings, and flights place great strain on the metal parts of the aircraft. Over time, if substandard metals or other surface components are used, cracks can form that eventually break or buckle under pressure.
- Electrical Devices: Instruments enable pilots to navigate, determine speed, altitude, flight attitude, pitch and roll rate, and they even “auto-fly” the aircraft. If even one of these mechanisms fails, tragedy and death can be one pilot error away. All devices must work properly before any aircraft takes off.
- Engine Failure: While all commercial multi-engine aircraft are designed to be able to withstand the failure of a single engine, smaller aircraft with only one engine are in immediate peril when it suddenly quits. Engine failures during takeoff are especially terrifying. But any time a single engine aircraft loses the ability to generate power during flight, only the most experienced pilots can make a “dead stick” landing and live to tell about it.
What causes equipment to fail in an aircraft?
While some equipment failures are due to poor repair or failure to inspect an aircraft, some equipment defects can evade even the most attentive aircraft service professionals. Equipment failure can result from a variety of factors though the most common involve:
- Improper inspection: When workers fail to inspect aircraft properly, or they cut corners, defects that could result in disaster are not repaired in time, thus leading to tragic injuries and deaths.
- Improper use of equipment use: Misusing equipment may cause it to fail; though, if equipment fails for this reason, pilot error could also be an underlying cause.
- Poor design or materials: Some aircraft equipment is manufactured with substandard materials that do not meet FAA regulations, though this can more often apply to replacement parts. When they fail, this almost always results in a defective product lawsuit against the manufacturer.
Strict Liability in Aviation Defective Product Design/Manufacturing Cases
If the crash resulted from equipment failure or the loss of structural integrity due to defective or poorly designed devices or components, the manufacturer may be held responsible. It is much easier to seek damages from manufacturers for accidents caused by product defects because of the strict liability doctrine, which eliminates the need to prove negligence. In such instances, all the plaintiff’s attorney must prove is that the device or structural part that failed was inherently defective.
If you or a family member were injured or killed in an aircraft accident due to defective aircraft design, contact Montero Law for a free consultation at 954-767-6500, email info@monterolaw, or click here to fill out our case evaluation form.