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Strict liability in the context of an airplane accident

Pilot error is a common component of most aviation crash claims, but sometimes, crashes are caused by defective mechanical components or bad manufacturing rather than pilot error. As such, not all airplane accident claims focus on the pilot as the negligent and liable party. In cases where an airplane manufacturer or airplane parts manufacturer is held liable for deaths and injuries related to an aviation accident, the theory of "strict liability" will be employed.

Strict liability is a legal doctrine that was specifically created to enable victims to seek claims against manufacturers of defective, dangerous and injury-causing products. Strict liability takes the liability focus off the users of products and puts it onto the makers of products. According to the theory of strict liability, the makers of potentially high-risk products have a legal obligation to design their products and warn the users of those products while taking into account foreseeable risks associated with the products' use.

As a result, failing to take reasonable action to prevent product failures -- and/or failing to warn against the dangerous consequences associated with using their products -- can result in a negligence lawsuit against airplane and airplane part manufacturers in the event of an accident.

Some airplane accidents, if they happen right after takeoff, might have survivors, but if the airplane is high enough in the air, it is highly likely that no one will survive. Often, evidence is difficult to piece together following an airplane accident, and authorities will find themselves at a loss when it comes to determining exactly what happened. However, with expert assistance, family members of deceased victims and survivors may be able to piece together a picture of what happened to pursue personal injury and/or wrongful death claims for financial restitution based on such analysis.

Source: Findlaw, "Product liability and aviation accidents," accessed July 31, 2015

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