Serving the Florida Panhandle community as an injury and wrongful death law firm means understanding that each accident has its own unique story. Often there are certain details in each story that stand out as particularly heart-rending, a truth we are reminded of as we learn about a terrible small plane crash that left a local first-responder on the scene of a very personal tragedy. These details are hard to read and even harder to hear in person, but they are a large part of what motivates us in our work as a Panama City personal injury law firm. Further, developing and telling our theory of the case, the story supporting our client's right to money damages, is crucial to our victim-centered practice.
WJHG reports that it was a family member who called 911 to tell officials that a small plane had crashed shortly after its 9:30 AM takeoff from an airstrip near Highway 167, just north of Fountain, on Sunday. The caller was also a Jackson County first-responder, and he is credited with saving the life of the pilot, his own brother, whom he pulled out of the burning wreckage.
Officials added a note of caution, saying the pilot had been taken to a burn center and was still in critical condition at the time of the article. Sadly, the brave rescuer was not able to save the three other family members (identified as the pilot's mother, aunt, and nephew) who were also aboard the ill-fated aircraft.
While the plane crashed only a mile from the airstrip and did narrowly miss some power lines, the location has been a challenge. Officials say that reaching the site has been difficult and that even the sheriff's department's Humvee found the route to the crash site impassable at points. Federal officials are working to remove the airplane from the trees, a process that might take days, before announcing the precise cause of the crash.
As we noted in the opening of this post, there is a story behind every accident. When we represent a client at trial, we help tell this story so that the jury understands what happened and why both the facts and the law hold the defendant(s) responsible. In the legal profession, many refer to this as developing our theory of the case. Eyewitness testimony is a critical part of this process.
In complex cases, such as when the jury needs to understand why a plane went down, this also involves working with expert witnesses. Detailed laws govern the use of experts to help ensure any expert testimony is reliable and credible (for example, Section 90.702 in the Evidence Code). Our understanding of both procedural (i.e. requirements for introducing evidence at trial) and substantive (i.e. what damages are permitted in injury cases) laws guides the telling of our client's story.
While most cases settle before trial, we are always in the process of preparing in case a trial becomes necessary. This preparation shows the opposing party that we are serious and that our client's case is strong, factors that increase settlement values and help explain why settlement values go up as soon as an injured party hires legal counsel.
If you or a loved one was injured because of someone else's negligent or wrongful acts, call and schedule a free meeting with our Panama City injury attorney. Attorney Pittman has helped the victims of aviation accidents, car crashes, and many other forms of injury – let him help you.