The Causes & Consequences of Aviation Accidents in Texas Oil Fields
This article explores…
- The causes of helicopter and airplane accidents in and around Texas’s oil fields.
- Who is liable for damages caused by aviation accidents.
- How a local attorney can help you recover these damages.
What Are the Common Causes of Aviation Accidents on or Near the Oil Fields in Texas?
Aviation accidents may not be as common as trucking or other commercial vehicle accidents in Midland-Odessa or other oil field regions of Texas, but when they do occur, they are just as serious and often much more deadly.
Pilot error is the number one cause of all accidents in the aviation industry. Most commonly, this is due to inexperienced pilots who are cavalier about the procedures needed to operate aircraft safely. Closely followed by this common issue is a lack of maintenance. In some cases, these factors can even go hand-in-hand and compound each other.
A large reason that lack of maintenance is such a big problem throughout the state is that there are so many more helicopters in the oil fields of Texas than actual airplanes. Because helicopters require near-constant maintenance in strict adherence to the manufacturer’s guidelines, there is a lot of room for error. In fact, even helicopter parts manufacturers can be liable in these cases when defects or improper assembly are found to be the cause of a crash.
Because of the countless nuances and details involved in these cases, you will want an attorney who’s well-versed in investigating aviation accidents to determine the cause. Your attorney should have experience working with the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board, and local law enforcement officers. This way, you can be confident that the wreckage will be properly secured and a thorough investigation can be performed.
Who Can Be Held Liable for Injuries in an Aviation Accident in Texas?
The first and foremost party liable for injuries and damages is the operator of the aircraft. This is usually the owner, but not always, as the owner of the aircraft is not always responsible for hiring or employing the pilot. As such, the parties that may be liable for an accident of this nature can include, but are not limited to:
- The pilot,
- The pilot’s employer,
- The aircraft owner,
- The fixed base operator,
- And more…
In any case of this nature, it’s also important to identify the insurance provider for each of these parties. An aircraft is required by law to have significant insurance coverage because of the severe damage it can cause. As such, claims are commonly brought against insurance companies instead of private individuals.
Still, the pilot or owner of an aircraft can be held personally liable if he or she directly caused the accident. For example, we see a fair amount of cases that arise from trips made to go fishing or hog hunting. In these instances, if a pilot or owner is to blame for an aviation accident, it’s important to determine whether or not they should be held personally liable for the damages caused.
What Is the Statute of Repose in Aviation Accident Cases?
In 1994, the federal government enacted the General Aviation Revitalization Act (GARA). This is an important and complicated factor in any aviation accident personal injury claim as the law includes a 19-year statute of repose.
This means that if an aircraft was manufactured more than 19 years ago, or if the part that caused the accident was manufactured more than 19 years ago, you’re barred from bringing a case against the manufacturer of the aircraft or of the faulty part.
Clearly, such a law can make a significant impact on an injury claim. So while there may be ways around this rule in special cases, it’s best to speak with an experienced attorney to evaluate your options as soon as possible.
Where Should I Seek Legal Help for an Aviation Accident Claim in Texas?
Aviation accidents are almost always very severe, so it’s not uncommon for victims and their families to be traumatized and unsure of where to go. If you wish to recover compensation for your or your loved one’s losses, you will need to seek an attorney who is familiar with this highly specialized type of claim.
Just as in any other serious injury case, you will need the help of an expert who can figure out who is responsible for your losses, find thorough evidence by performing a complete investigation, and make sure the responsible parties pay you every cent they owe. Fortunately, our team has years of experience handling countless claims of this nature.
Most importantly, an aviation attorney from our firm can point you in the right direction and treat you with both empathy and professionalism. We believe that a truly good attorney is someone you can rely on for both personal advice and legal advice in dire times of need – and we are committed to standing alongside you at every step of the way.
Can I File a Wrongful Death Claim if I Lost a Loved One in a Texas Aviation Accident?
Unfortunately, aviation accident victims rarely survive. This means that it is their loved ones who need to make the call. Understandably, most people who are still in the process of grieving the loss of a loved one have priorities far outside of the courtroom – but the earlier you can get on the phone with an attorney, the better.
Not only can an attorney help take the burden of handling a claim off of your shoulders, but working with an attorney as soon as possible helps to protect your right to the financial compensation you deserve.
With each day that passes, you get further from the accident and closer to the filing deadlines. This is just one more reason to hire someone who can get to the scene quickly, knows the aviation industry, and has worked with the local court and law enforcement officials who will be involved.
What’s more, it’s important to keep in mind that these cases can’t be won by working with just any personal injury attorney – you need a lawyer who has experience and skill in aviation law.
You need someone like West Texas’s Stuart Starry, an attorney who has lectured on aviation law and spoken at the National Airlock Convention multiple times. Someone who knows the aviation community and aviation laws inside and out. Don’t wait, you deserve compensation and justice, and you deserve the support of an aviation-focused personal injury attorney who can get you both.
With the guidance of a skilled attorney for Aviation Accidents, you can have the peace of mind that comes with knowing a local expert has your back. For more information on Aviation Accident Cases in Texas, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (432) 653-1899 today.
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