One day after a terrible Reno, Nevada air crash, a Martinsburg, West Virginia air show cancelled its second day of events after a stunt pilot was killed in a crash. The pilot was to perform a maneuver with a second pilot as part of a six-plane T-28 Warbird Aerobatic Formation Demonstration Team, which has performed stunts around the country. The two planes were supposed to pass each other laterally, then pull up and perform a roll. The entire routine was supposed to last for 15 minutes, but instead the crash occurred five minutes in. No one on the ground was injured.
National Transportation Safety Board investigators are trying to learn the cause of the crash. As in Nevada, the plane was an antique, a 1958 fixed-wing, single-engine T-28. The identity of the pilot has not been released, though ownership records trace the plane to Jack Mangan, a former Air Force fighter pilot and flight instructor.
We at the Wolfe Law Firm express our sincere condolences to the pilot’s family. The only fortunate thing is that the tragedy in Reno, Nevada, where nine people on the ground were killed, was not repeated here. Still, when you experience such a tragedy, you wonder what your options are. If it turns out your loved one was not responsible for the events that led to the crash, and the plane was owned or maintained by a third party, such as a mechanic, you might sue for wrongful death. You would argue that the mechanic owed a duty to your loved one to properly maintain the plane; that the mechanic breached the duty by not maintaining the plane and was therefore negligent; that the breach led to your loved one’s injury; and the result was his or her death. If you hire a West Virginia wrongful death attorney and succeed with your suit, you would likely collect a money award for loss of support and services, loss of wages, funeral and possible medical expenses, and more. You might even be able to collect punitive damages if you could prove that the mechanic’s actions were intentional or grossly negligent.
The same would hold true for mechanics of cars, boats, or other vehicles. Their work is extremely important and can be the difference between life and death. On the other hand, what if your loved one were someone on the ground, injured or killed by a plane crash? You could still sue the mechanic for negligence or wrongful death if he or she is found to be at fault. You could also sue the pilot (or the pilot’s estate) if pilot error contributed to the crash. Frequently, multiple parties are sued in “joint and several” manner, meaning that they might all be at least partially at fault and any one of them can be forced to pay the entire amount of the money award.
A wrongful death situation is always tragic and can cause families terrible pain. A good attorney can ease the pain a little by helping families obtain relief that will get them through this difficult time.