It is hard to imagine what our world would be like if man had never figured out how to successfully take flight. Certainly, without aviation the globe would be nowhere near the interconnected place it is today. While air travel is generally considered to be a safe method of transport, aviation accidents remain a reality, and the nature of air travel means airplane accidents often have tragic outcomes. Attorney Wes Pittman has the knowledge and experience to serve as an attorney for Florida aviation accident victims, including personal injury and wrongful death matters involving aircraft of all sizes and uses.
As reported by Panama City's WJHG (a prior story also contained details about the accident), the National Transportation Safety Board ("NTSB") recently released the agency's preliminary report on a small plane crash that claimed the life of a local pilot. On Wednesday December 18, Bay County Sheriff's Department received an emergency call reporting that a crash had occurred near the Sandy Creek Airpark, a privately owned air strip. 52-year-old Larry Eli Caison, a retired Air Force Special Operations pilot, was piloting a single-engine Raytheon G-36 aircraft from West Palm Beach to Destin when he reported a loss of power. Caison attempted an emergency landing at Sandy Creek, but he crashed in a heavily-wooded area approximately one mile away from the runway. By the time crews reached the accident scene, Caison was dead.
According to the NTSB report, both the left and right wing fuel tanks on the plane were empty. Investigators found only three gallons of fuel onboard. The investigation remains ongoing.
In 2011, the NTSB released a report examining civil aviation accidents that occurred in the U.S. during 2007, 2008, and 2009. During that 3-year span, there were 4,958 aviation accidents involving a total of 5,019 U.S.-registered civil aircraft. These incidents led to the death of 1,641 individuals. Turbulence encounters accounted for more than a third of the accidents, with ground collisions accounting for the second-largest group of incidents. Abnormal runway encounters followed as the third-most prevalent accident category, including tail strikes and hard landings.
While crashes involving large airliners garner the most media attention, smaller craft accidents are far more common. In all cases, determining legal fault requires analyzing a large number of potential contributing factors that include pilot error, mechanical/structural defects, poor maintenance, and company policies, such as safety check standards and rules on pilot behavior.
While the NTSB and Federal Aviation Association play key roles in investigating aviation accidents, a skilled aviation accident lawyer will also work with private experts to review physical evidence and agency reports. This process allows us to establish legal fault and avoid finger-pointing among parties trying to pass the blame. Victims should never sign anything without first consulting their own legal counsel.
Our Panama City injury law firm is dedicated to helping injury victims and grieving families recover critically-needed compensation. Monetary compensation is especially critical in aviation cases given the catastrophic nature of the injuries that often result from an air-travel accident. An initial consultation is free, and most accident cases are handled on a contingency basis, so there is no fee unless you recover compensation.