Aviation Accidents: Cause and Effect


There’s enough to worry about with the many potential dangers that run rampant on the ground. The idea of hazards in other capacities can be downright terrifying. This is often the case when individuals book flights and start preparing to go on an aircraft.

You hear about the devastating occurrences from time to time: large planes, helicopters, and even single-engine planes crashing from some kind of error or other contributing factor. You are probably also aware that the aftermath can be catastrophic, or in some instances fatal.

Understanding the various causes of aviation accidents and the long-term effects it can have on those injured or harmed can be important, especially when you consider the legal implications involved. These are just a few of the potential causes that may arise:

If you’ve been injured in an aviation accident, or if you have lost a loved one, you may have rights. Call us at (713) 396-5197 today.

To learn more about these causes, read below.

Engine Failure

One of the most common ways an aviation accident occurs is through engine failure. This means something goes wrong with the aircraft’s engine, causing the pilot to lose control and altitude to start dropping drastically as the plane or helicopter can no longer fly properly.

Engine failure can result from a number of different things such as a failure to properly maintain, manufacturer error, wear and tear, a design flaw, and more. Inspections are imperative to ensuring aircraft are safe before even taking off for a flight.

System Malfunction

The controls inside an aircraft play a crucial role in not only getting passengers from point A to point B, but also ensuring that the trip is safe for all parties involved. The systems help to control altitude, speak with air traffic control, and more.

The moment things stop working correctly is the moment that passengers are put in danger. System errors may prevent pilots from controlling certain aspects of their aircraft and one small problem can lead to a serious crash.

Communication Errors

When pilots take to the skies, they do so with guidance from air traffic control. This is to ensure that their flight path is safe, inclement weather is avoided, and there are no other aircraft crossing paths that could result in an in-air collision.

Collisions are not very common, but the lack of communication with air traffic control often leads many pilots to require emergency landings or encountering dangerous situations mid-flight. It’s important for communication protocols to be set forth and instruments to be checked prior to taking off for a flight.

Pilot Error

Passengers on any aircraft expect that the pilot is responsible for their safety—and rightfully so. They are the ones in control of the plane or helicopter and they are supposed to ensure the aircraft is inspected before and after every flight.

Whether the pilot fails to comply with safety checks or they operate the aircraft in an unsafe manner—under the influence, drowsy, distracted, etc.—they can be held legally responsible for any errors that lead to a crash and the subsequent harm suffered by the passengers.


Weather is one of the most unpredictable forces and often times one of the largest contributors in aviation accidents. However, if an aircraft is properly prepared with the necessary equipment and air traffic control deems it safe, there should not be many issues.

In some cases, though, weather can cause a significant aviation accident should the flight not be grounded properly, or the aircraft be missing important equipment to detect any issues with inclement weather.

Manufacturer Error

Before an aircraft can even take to the skies, it must be manufactured. This includes all aspects of the aircraft from the systems, to the engine, to the components of the cockpit, to the frame, and even to the nuts and bolts that hold everything together.

Unfortunately, even the slightest error in measurement can create a catastrophic problem for an aircraft. The threads of a bolt being incomplete. Too much material shaved off a component. Incorrectly wired components. All of these have the potential to be dangerous.

In these types of cases, it is the manufacturers responsibility to ensure everything is properly inspected and up to the specifications of the blueprint before the parts of an aircraft are put together. A manufacturer error can make the product-maker liable for a crash caused by their miscalculations.

Failure to Maintain

Whether the aircraft is a private plane, an airliner owned by a large company, or even a government issued aircraft, there are countless inspections and maintenance requirements that must be met before and after taking flight.

These inspections and maintenance checks are designed to ensure that all trouble areas are properly attended to in order to prevent any larger issues occurring and prevent the plane from crashing. Failure to maintain properly can be an act of negligence that can put all parties aboard the aircraft at risk.

Depending on the situation and owner of the aircraft, the parties responsible for maintenance can include the pilot, a mechanic, an outside third-party, or the company as a whole. These parties may be held liable if an aviation accident occurs as a result of the failure to properly maintain.

Hiring a Houston Aviation Accident Attorney for Cases Nationwide

In any situation involving an aviation accident, the results can be catastrophic. Individuals can suffer life-long injuries or in the worst-case scenario, individuals can lose their lives. Unfortunately, many of the situations involving aviation accidents are the result of someone else’s negligent or reckless actions.

Because of this, recognizing the potential legal matters involved with an aviation accident can become increasingly important for the survivors or for the families of those lost as a result of a tragic crash. It is imperative to have legal counsel to help guide you through the matters as aviation accidents are some of the most difficult cases to handle.

Having legal counsel helps you to understand the reports of the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Board—two agencies which play a big role in the aftermath of these types of accidents.

It also helps you in understanding what evidence is needed to show causation for the aviation accident and holding the proper parties accountable for their contribution to the crash. For survivors and family members of decedents alike, this could mean the justice and compensation often needed following such a tragic event.

At Webster Vicknair MacLeod, we bring more than 120 years of combined experience to every case we handle and we know what aviation accident lawsuits are like. Families are left grieving; survivors are left trying to recover. You don’t want to think about the legal process and all the complications that come with it.

Our Houston airplane crash attorneys serve clients nationwide with extensive knowledge in proving negligence when accidents happen. Our ultimate goal is to stand by your side during this trying time, helping you move forward, and pursuing the compensation you need to help cover the expenses associated with this serious accident.

Whether you are a survivor of an airplane crash or you lost a loved one due to an aviation accident, we’re here for you. No matter where you are in the United States, you can call our firm at (713) 396-5197 today to receive caring, professional guidance.

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