Can You Sue Plane Manufacturers If There is a Mechanical Failure During Your Flight?

| Updated on March 21, 2024

You probably know that you can sue a car manufacturer if their car malfunctions and results in you getting injured. But, what about plane manufacturers? Can you sue the plane manufacturer if there is a mechanical failure during your flight and it causes injury to you or somebody else on board?

You may not think so at first glance, but the answer depends on where the malfunction occurs. If something happens on take-off or during landing, yes, most likely yes. However, if the problem occurs mid-flight and only affects people within one plane compartment, such as cabin crew or passengers directly impacted by smoke, then no, it wouldn’t be possible to sue them.

Getting with an experienced attorney who knows and understands the regulations can find the loopholes to hold these manufacturers accountable for any negligence that can cause injury, a plane to malfunction, or even worse, crash and kill those on board. 

The Regulations Give the Answers

Several federal regulations come into play if an emergency situation occurs during your time aboard a plane. Under federal regulation 49 U.S.C., section 44718, passengers are only allowed to sue the airline if the plane has donned “dangerous or hazardous conditions which exist in violation of applicable Federal Aviation Regulations.” This is because by boarding a plane, you agree to hand over your right to sue the airline once you take off; this is called a waiver of liability. 

The most common accidents on flights are cabin depressurization and smoke inhalation, but it does happen that people will get injured during crashes as well (but this is very uncommon). It may seem like de-pressurizing an airplane mid-flight would be considered dangerous. Still, according to federal regulations under 14 CFR 135, section 91.89, the cabin must meet the following requirements to fly:

“The airplane cabin must be designed so that it will not have harmful or hazardous effects on occupants due to any sudden change in pressure that may occur.”

This means that because planes are built with high-quality technology that ensures a safe landing, even if it results in depressurization, courts will most likely rule against passengers being able to sue plane manufacturers for damages. The only case where you would be able to sue is if your injuries were directly related to smoke inhalation. This can also fall under federal regulation 14 CFR 135 section 91.87, which states, “No person may operate an airplane unless at least two exits are available for use by each occupant when the airplane is in its normal, parked condition.” This means if you were on a flight and the only exit available to you was blocked by smoke, you could sue for damages.

This is also why it’s essential to read all of those fine print disclaimers that come with your plane ticket before they hand them out at the gate. If the disclaimer is too small to read, they have to give it to you word-for-word, or else it doesn’t hold up in court. Another great reason not to use one of those popular seat selection websites that charge exorbitant fees for their services! Most people don’t even know about airline regulations, so they feel safer selecting their seats from the comfort of home. But most people do not realize that they are essentially giving away their legal rights when purchasing these “seat selection services.”

Don’t get yourself into a situation where you could be severely injured or even killed because of your negligence. You can always contact an attorney who specializes in personal injury and wrongful death cases, but if you’re in the middle of an emergency situation during your plane ride, don’t let it slip your mind that under federal regulation 49 U.S.C., section 40119, you cannot bring a lawsuit against airplane manufacturers for any malfunctions (even deadly ones) that happen during normal use.

How an Attorney Can Help if You Can Sue the Manufacturers

Aircraft are made to provide passengers with safe flights and protection in an emergency situation where conditions require life support assistance. Suppose the mechanical malfunction was so severe that it could have caused injury or death. In that case, you may be able to collect damages against the airplane manufacturer if they were responsible for the faulty product. Even though airplanes are manufactured with safety in mind, many complications can arise when maintenance fails, or something goes wrong mid-flight. These problems range from minor malfunctions like hydraulic leaks, which lead to windshield wiper fluid not working correctly, to more complicated issues such as engine failure. If you are unlucky enough to be caught in an aircraft with serious equipment malfunction, hiring an attorney who can help you through this challenging time would be wise.

The first step your lawyer will take is to determine whether the manufacturers are at fault for your predicament. Aircraft are made up of thousands of components that need regular inspections and maintenance to ensure nothing goes wrong during the flight. The Federal Aviation Administration (F.A.A.) requires certain checks to be done before take-off, but the manufacturer has full responsibility for their products after that point. 

Although these companies should act carefully when manufacturing planes, you could still have a case if they failed to show proper care or oversight when creating or maintaining your plane. Once your attorney confirms that the manufacturers are the ones at fault, they will go ahead to help you collect as much evidence as possible. You can also get your react js training in Bangalore. This would involve inspecting the plane to find out what went wrong and gathering records from previous flights or problems. They might also have to talk with mechanics or workers who dealt with your specific aircraft before determining if any issues could have caused a malfunction mid-flight.

It can be pretty challenging if you end up filing a case against these companies since they have many resources available for advanced legal battles. Your attorney would need all the help they can get by collecting enough proof of negligence on their part to make sure you come out victorious once everything is said and done. Experience makes a huge difference when going up against large organizations like this, and your attorney will want to do everything they can to win.

What Type of Evidence Proves Negligence?

In civil cases such as airplane product liability claims, the party bringing the case to the court must prove that there has been a deliberate action or negligence on the defendant’s part. When an airline is being sued for damages stemming from mechanical failure during flight, it can be challenging to prove deliberate action due to the nature of air travel and how frequently planes are required to malfunction and make emergency landings. This difficulty in proving negligence can lead insurers and airlines alike to substantiate their side of the argument with detailed evidence based on logical assumptions rather than fact. On this topic, an experienced Portland personal injury attorney will tell you that convincing evidence includes:

Direct evidence – information such as eyewitness accounts and photographs/videos, which, in this case, would be evidence of a mechanical failure

Circumstantial evidence – evidence that requires the court to make a logical assumption based on facts, such as a plane malfunctioning during take-off or faulty equipment/mechanical error preceding an incident

How Can I Prove Negligence?

To prove negligence by Boeing or any other manufacturer, you must provide enough direct and circumstantial evidence that is substantial enough for the judge and jury to conclude it was not an accident. In most product liability cases due to airplane malfunctions during flight, most plaintiffs cannot file suit until they can show that both parties were negligent. Since most manufacturers require airlines to follow strict safety protocols and inspections before allowing planes to fly passengers across the country or the world, it would be difficult to determine that both parties were negligent. 

Many plaintiffs attempt to show that while Boeing or another manufacturer was not necessarily negligent in their plane production, they should have known about specific design flaws and should have prevented them from being passed on to airlines despite potential safety hazards. However, proving this can also prove difficult due to the nature of airplane malfunctions during flight; many malfunctions are mechanical errors that are not easily traceable back to a specific engineering or manufacturing error since things like faulty wiring or improper installation could cause similar issues with planes.

Plane Manufacturers May Be Liable for Claims Outside Airplane Malfunction During Flight

While bringing suit against an airline for damages resulting from airborne problems with a plane is an obvious hardship for most passengers, it is important to remember that plane manufacturers could also be held liable for other forms of negligence that affect your travel experience. If you have been injured by poor design or low-quality materials on a plane, the manufacturer may be held accountable.

In one particular case, a Federal Aviation Administration (F.A.A.) investigation found that multiple Boeing 787 planes manufactured at their South Carolina plant were missing crucial pieces of laminate material which kept oxygen flowing to the pilots in the cockpit. The F.A.A. issued a public safety advisory as a result and required all 787s to undergo inspections before they were cleared to fly again. 

In another instance, a lawsuit proposed that Boeing’s aging 737 fleets made flights more dangerous for passengers despite the same models passing F.A.A. inspections with flying colors. The suit asserted that critical pieces of equipment were coming loose mid-flight and putting everyone on board in danger.

Related Posts