FAQs: Aviation Accident Deaths in Texas

Q: Who can be held responsible for the fatalities in an aviation accident?

A: The cause of the accident determines who is held responsible. If the accident was caused by human/pilot error, then the owner and operator of the aircraft may be liable. If the accident investigation determines that a mechanical failure is the cause, then manufacturers and/or maintenance suppliers may be liable.


Q: What is the FAA?

A: FAA stands for the Federal Aviation Administration; this is the office in the U.S. government that takes primary responsibility for civil aviation safety. It is a separate office from the National Transportation Safety Board ("NTSB"). The FAA and NTSB operate independently of each other and will generate separate reports in the event of an aviation accident.


Q: What is the NTSB?

A: NTSB stands for the National Transportation Safety Board which is an independent federal agency responsible for conducting a thorough investigation of civil aviation accidents in the U.S. The NTSB is also responsible for investigating trains and other vehicle accidents (e.g., a large, interstate passenger bus). When the NTSB issues a report, it specifies safety recommendations with the goal of preventing any future accidents. This federal agency also maintains the government's database on civil aviation accidents that includes statistics on accidents and fatalities and conducts special research studies of transportation safety issues of national significance.


Q: Please explain the "statute of repose" in an aviation accident case?

A: A "statute of repose" in an aviation accident case limits the time in which a lawsuit may be filed based on how long an airplane or part at fault has been in service. The time limit can vary and is dependent on which court the lawsuit is filed in, (state, federal, or international).


Q: Can the owner/operator be held liable for a fatality in an aviation accident?

A: First it must be determined if the accident was a result of negligence or some other cause. It is possible for both the federal government and individual states to impose criminal sanctions against the owner/operator in cases involving fatality resulting from an aviation accident. These criminal sanctions are usually only imposed on aviators for reckless and careless conduct that lead to injury, death, or property damage.


Aviation Accident Death Main Information Page

Wrongful Death Main Resource Information Page