Did you recently suffer an aviation accident injury? If so, you may be wondering how to pursue the compensation you need to pay for your medical bills and other expenses.
Luckily, you’ve come to the right place. The skilled attorneys of Williams Hart & Boundas Boundas LLP will provide you with all the information you need.
The Process of Filing a Claim After an Aviation Accident
Filing a personal injury claim in Texas can be a long and arduous process. Therefore, hiring an experienced attorney to guide you should almost always be your first step.
Most personal injury lawyers operate on a contingent fee basis, so you won’t need to pay any legal fees unless you recover compensation.
Once you hire your attorney, your compensation claim journey will likely follow this path:
When a plane or helicopter crashes in Texas, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) almost always investigate. Their inquiries can take a few months to a couple of years. They will publish a report you may use as part of your lawsuit when they finish.
However, you might not need to wait for these agencies to publish their findings. That’s because your lawyer will most likely launch an independent investigation of their own. They will speak to witnesses, review video evidence, and analyze publicly available flight data.
Your lawyer will likely conclude their investigation in a matter of weeks.
Filing the Lawsuit
Once your attorney has gathered enough evidence to move forward with your case, they will file your lawsuit with the court. It will likely take them a few weeks to prepare for this step.
When the defendant receives notice of your claim, they will have to submit a response. You can generally expect them to do so in 10 – 15 days.
When the initial stages of your aviation accident lawsuit draw to a close, you will enter into the discovery phase. The discovery phase is the point in the process where both parties exchange facts, documents, and critical information.
Discovery is almost always the most time-consuming phase of the lawsuit process. It is not uncommon for it to drag on for months or even years.
Once the discovery phase concludes, and both parties know all the case facts, settlement negotiations generally begin.
Your personal injury lawyer can handle all of the negotiations on your behalf. They will provide you with regular updates on their progress.
The settlement negotiations stage of the process usually takes no more than a couple of weeks. If both parties agree to a fair settlement, the process ends here. If an agreement cannot be reached, the case will proceed to trial.
Barring an appeal, the trial is the final step of the compensation claim process. Depending on the complexity of your case, it could take anywhere from a day to a few weeks.
During your trial, your attorney will argue that:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care
- The defendant’s negligent actions breached that duty of care
- The defendant’s breach of duty caused you to suffer an injury, and
- You suffered an economic loss as a result of your injury
Once all the evidence has been presented, and arguments have drawn to a close, a judge or jury will determine how much (if any) compensation you ought to receive.
Statute of Limitations in Aviation Accident Cases
The standard statute of limitations for aviation accident cases in Texas is two years. This rule means you should strive to file your claim before the second anniversary of the crash.
If it has already been more than two years since the accident, and you have yet to file your suit, don’t panic. It may still be possible to pursue the compensation you deserve.
Though the two-year statutory window typically begins to close on the day of the accident, some circumstances under which this start date can be delayed.
If, for instance, you did not discover your injury until weeks or months after the crash, it might be possible to argue that your two-year window did not start until the day you were diagnosed.
Similarly, if you were a child when the accident happened, a lawyer should be able to argue that the statutory clock did not begin to tick until your 18th birthday.
If you fail to take legal action before your statutory window closes, you might forfeit your right to pursue compensation for your aviation accident injury.
Compensation Available in Aviation Accident Cases
If you move forward with your aviation accident case, the amount of compensation you receive will depend on a wide range of different factors, such as:
- The cost of your initial medical treatment
- The expected cost of your physical therapy or rehabilitation
- The amount of time you missed from work because of your injury
- The impact your injury will have on your ability to earn an income in the future
- The impact your injury will have on your overall quality of life, and
- Whether or not the defendant acted with malice or gross negligence
The more severe, debilitating, and long-lasting your injury is, the more compensation you are likely to receive.
Of course, the only way to get an accurate estimate of the amount of money you are likely to get after your case is to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney.
Your Knowledgeable Aviation Accident Attorneys in Houston
Are you ready to take legal action against the airline or aircraft manufacturer responsible for your injury? If so, please do not hesitate to reach out to the experienced lawyers at Williams Hart & Boundas Boundas LLP. We know what it takes to win suits like yours, and we are ready to go to battle on your behalf.