What Are Common Causes Of Aviation Accidents?

Aviation accidents occur only rarely, but when one does happen, the results are almost always tragic. Airplane crashes can be catastrophic, and those who manage to survive are usually badly injured. What makes the situation worse for loved ones is that it is extremely difficult to determine what exactly went wrong with a crash. Airplane crashes often leave behind no witnesses, and while there are recording devices on board, they can’t reveal why speed or altitude would suddenly change. When a cause is determined, though, the victims’ families will need to review their legal options, as negligence is likely responsible somehow.


When an airplane goes down, it’s usually due to several factors. Some of these factors may include:

  • An error on the pilot’s part, such as failing to communicate with air traffic controllers or not responding properly to changing weather conditions.
  • A mechanical malfunction, such as the landing gear not descending during landing or an engine suffering a flameout.
  • A structural issue with the plane itself. This may be a structural weakness in the plane’s fuselage, or a door that doesn’t close properly.
  • An error on the air traffic controller’s part, such as failing to notice a plane entering crowded airspace, or not sending a pilot to the correct runway.
  • Poor maintenance by the plane’s owner. Maintenance personnel need to inspect the plane regularly, checking for any issues and performing repairs when necessary. When maintenance personnel don’t do their jobs properly, they risk a technical fault.

Again, it’s common for several of these factors to be involved in any aviation accidents, making it difficult to pinpoint who is responsible for the crash.


The type of claim a loved one can file depends on what caused the crash. These are the claims that might arise when a plane goes down:

  • Product liability claims– product liability claims are relevant when mechanical or structural problems with the plane were responsible for the crash. In most cases, the claim is brought against the company responsible for building the airplane or defective component, though such a claim may also be filed against a distributor as well.
  • Negligence claims – negligence claims are the right choice when aviation accidents are caused by pilot error or through the error of another crew member on the plane. The assertion is that a competent pilot would have acted differently than the defendant, and that the defendant was not careful or skilled enough.
  • Federal Tort Claims Act, or FTCA – The FTCA was created in order to give people a way to sue the government directly. If a crash occurs due to poor air traffic control, the victim’s families will have to file a claim against the Federal Aviation Agency, or FAA. The FTCA outlines how to bring action against the government, and what damages the victim’s family can expect.

Aviation accidents are major, tragic events, and they are almost always caused by something that could have been prevented. For this reason, families should feel comfortable exercising their legal rights and seek compensation for their loss.