An Iraq War veteran and West Virginia Air National Guardsman died in a tragic plane crash in Marysville, Ohio. Michael Lakin, 42, of Charleston, West Virginia, lost control of his plane while performing aerobic maneuvers for the purpose of recertification and crashed near the airport. He was taken to the hospital, where he later died of his injuries.
The cause of the crash is unclear, whether due to a mechanical problem or due to Lakin’s error. Following the accident, many took time to remember the man who had been passionate about flying since the age of 10. Lakin flew for both the United States Marines and West Virginia’s Air National Guard in a C-130 aircraft. Part of Lakin’s piloting duties included flying state officials, including West Virginia’s governor. Members of the 130th Airlift Wing mourned Lakin’s loss.
Frequently, when accidents happen with small planes, it is due to an inexperienced pilot’s error. A pilot with too little training may attempt big maneuvers and end up paying a tragic price. This was not the case with Lakin. While Lakin’s tragic death may have been the result of pilot error, it is worth asking whether the cause of death could have been mechanical. In a situation like this, a West Virginia wrongful death attorney could investigate to see what the cause of death truly was. If the death was the result of a mechanical error, the deceased person’s loved ones could file a wrongful death suit against the one responsible — such as the manufacturer or the company responsible for maintenance. Wrongful death suits can be filed against both individuals and companies. They hold appeal for many people because wrongful death suits require less proof than criminal trials — a “preponderance of the evidence” versus “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
In a wrongful death suit, you would charge that the entity — whether the manufacturer or the maintenance company, or both — had a duty to produce and/or maintain as safe a plane as was reasonably possible. The manufacturer breached this duty by producing a plane with a design defect or an assembly line defect, or the manufacturing company breached this duty by putting an inexperienced mechanic on the plane, or by not following available safety standards, resulting in failure to correct a mechanical problem. This breach caused your loved one’s injury, and the damage was your loved one’s death.
If you are successful in your suit, you will receive damages, a money award, for lost wages, emotional distress, medical bills (if any), and loss of companionship. West Virginia also permits punitive damages for extreme cases, but only if it could be shown that the defendant’s conduct was intentionally or grossly negligent. We at the Wolfe Law Firm have represented countless families who have filed wrongful death lawsuits. If you lost a loved one through tragic circumstances and suspect that another party was responsible, don’t hesitate to find an attorney who will listen to you, get to the truth of what happened, and will work to bring you justice.