For many Texans, our lives have become dependent on air travel, whether it’s for work, family or other personal reasons. According to National Air Traffic Controllers Association statistics, nearly one-third of the 87,000 or so flights in the skies over the U.S. at any one time belong to one of the major commercial airline carriers. And while accidents involving commercial airlines are exceedingly rare, the accidents that do occur can result in a tragedy that is devastating to the passengers and crew who become victims, as well as their families.
An accident can happen to any carrier at any time–even accidents that do not include plane crashes. If that happens, you should know the importance of hiring a skilled commercial airline accident lawyer because commercial aviation cases are among the most resource-intensive and time-consuming cases to deal with. To be successful, and get the compensation they’re entitled to, victims and their families need a legal team with the knowledge, experience, and resources to thoroughly investigate all potential causes of the accident on their behalf, as well as to help everyone understand their legal options.
One major airline is Air France, which provides services to 156 destinations in 91 countries, including the United States. Air France has been involved in a number of deadly accidents over the years, but one of the most tragic in their history involved Americans.
The accident occurred on July 25, 2000, when an Air France Concorde supersonic transport jet, Flight 4590 scheduled to fly from Paris to New York crashed just after takeoff. All 109 people aboard died, along with four people on the ground. According to accident investigators, the crash was caused when the plane’s wheels ran over a part lost by a plane that had just taken off, which caused one of the wheels to be destroyed, with a piece piercing of one of the fuel tanks, and igniting the leaking jet fuel.
One of the largest air carriers is Delta Airlines, which conducts major operations in nearly every region of the world and operates and maintains a fleet of more than 770 aircraft. In all, Delta and its SkyTeam partners make approximately 13,000 flights every day.
According to the FAA, Delta has reportedly been involved in 12 accidents since 1947 – resulting in 303 deaths, although there have only been two fatal accidents involving Delta over the past 25 years:
- July 6, 1996 – Flight 1288 – Pensacola, Florida, An engine failed and resulted in engine debris piercing the cabin. Two passengers died and two seriously injured.
- August 31, 1988 – Flight 1144 – Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas – crashed after takeoff, due to improperly configured wing flaps and slats. Twelve passengers and two crew members were killed.
American Airlines along with its regional affiliates, American Eagle and AmericanConnection, operate more than 3,400 daily flights, serving 250 cities in more than 40 countries. There have been a number of fatal accidents involving American Airlines within the last 25 years:
- American Airlines, Flight 331, Kingston, Jamaica, December 22, 2009
- American Eagle, Flight 5401, San Juan, Puerto Rico, May 9, 2004
- American Airlines, Flight 587, Belle Harbor, NY, November 12, 2001
- American Airlines, Flight 1420, Little Rock, AR, June 1, 1999
- American Airlines, Flight 1340, Chicago, IL, February 9, 1998
- American Airlines, Flight 965, near Cali, Colombia, December 20, 1995
- American Eagle, Flight 4184, Roselawn, IN, October 31, 1994
- American Eagle, Flight 3379, Morrisville, NC, December 13, 1994
- American Airlines, Flight 102, Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX, April 14, 1993
- American Airlines, Flight 70, Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX, May 21, 1988
- American Eagle, Flight 3378, Cary, NC, February 19, 1988
Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, Southwest Airlines is one of the largest air carriers in the country. Although the airline only flies Boeing 737s, it owns and maintains a fleet of 550 planes. Southwest Airlines operates more than 3,400 flights per day, with scheduled service to 79 destinations in 39 states. To date, it has a nearly spotless record as a commercial air carrier, with only one accident on its record that resulted in a fatality.
That accident occurred in Chicago in December 2005, when the flight crew overshot the runway due to mechanical failure, and struck at least two vehicles on the street, killing a six-year-old boy who was a passenger in one of the vehicles. There was also an incident in Burbank, CA on March 5, 2000, where a crew overshot the runway due to excessive speed and an air traffic control error. That resulted in two crew members being seriously injured.
There have been several incidents, in 2009 and 2011, requiring Southwest pilots to undertake an emergency landing due to rapid decompression of the cabin, based on design flaws and maintenance problems with the aircraft.
Another major air carrier is United Airlines, which offers flights to destinations across North America and around the world. In all, United Airlines and United Express operate approximately 3,300 daily flights, serving more than 200 domestic and international destinations.
Below is a list of major accidents involving United Airlines and United Express over the past 25 years:
- January 21, 2008 – Flight 1028, went into a dive over Nevada
- September 11, 2001 – Flight 93, crashed near Shanksville, PA
- September 11, 2001 – Flight 175, hijacked, flown into World Trade Center, NY
- November 19, 1996 – United Express Flight 5925, crashed in Quincy, IL
- 1992 – Flight 852, suffered severe inflight turbulence, Japan to San Francisco
- March 3, 1991 – Flight 585, crashed at Colorado Springs, CO
- December 26, 1989 – United Express Flight 2415, crashed at Pasco, WA
- July 19, 1989 – Flight 232, crashed at Sioux City, IA
- February 24, 1989 – Flight 811, crashed into the Pacific Ocean
Call our Experienced Commercial Airline Accident Lawyer
Determining the cause or causes of a commercial airline crash requires meticulous attention to detail. While the potential causes will vary, the factors usually fall under one or more of the following; whether or not all pilots were properly certified and were operating the aircraft properly; aircraft maintenance; record keeping; design flaws; mechanical defects; air traffic control errors; and factors such as weather and terrain.
San Antonio personal injury attorney, Justin Hill, is here to help those who have been injured or have lost loved ones in commercial airline accidents. Justin has seen a wide variety of aviation accidents leading to serious injuries and wrongful death. If you have a question or just want to discuss your legal rights, please call our Hill Law Firm today for a free case evaluation – we will fight for your right for compensation.