North Carolina Aviation Accident Lawyer

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When planes or helicopters experience an accident, the resulting injuries are often life-changing. The aviation accident lawyers at Tatum & Atkinson: The Heavy Hitters will make sure the parties at fault are held accountable for your injuries or for the loss of your loved one.

An aviation accident lawyer holding an open book reviewing information on a case for a client.

Why Do I Need a North Carolina Aviation Accident Attorney?

North Carolina has heavy aviation traffic. The Charlotte-Douglas International Airport has had more than 38 million passengers travel through and has 138 nonstop destinations as well as helicopter charter services.

With such busy skies, accidents are bound to happen, but we are here to help. Cases involving aviation law are very complicated and have many complex issues.

The laws may vary depending on where the aircraft took off and where it landed. There may be international laws as well as national and state laws that will affect your case.

In order to build a strong case, you will need a strong technical understanding of how the aircraft works and how it is affected by outside forces, such as weather. Aviation cases are often very specific, and every detail matters.

When planes crash, there are multiple investigations that take place to determine what exactly happened and where the fault lies. The government is involved and will be investigating the pilot, the airline, equipment manufacturers, mechanics, air traffic controllers, and anyone else involved.

Many years of legal experience are required for such an in-depth investigation full of technical facts and confusing jargon. You may be up against corporate giants with teams of lawyers who are fighting to make sure that you do not receive any compensation for the damages you have suffered.

Their goal is to make sure their company does not pay anything for anyone’s injuries, pain and suffering, or even death.

What Causes Aviation Accidents?

Flying is considered the safest way to travel. According to Fly Fright, there was a 1 in 3.37 billion chance of dying on a commercial flight between 2012 and 2016.

There were 376 fatalities from airplane crashes in 2021 in the United States, according to Injury Facts. While commercial flights are generally considered safe, charter flights, private planes, and helicopter rides are a different story, and crashes are not the only way to get injured in aviation.

Some of the more  common dangers associated with flying include the following:

  • Mechanical Failure
  • Pilot Error
  • Air Traffic Control Negligence
  • Gas Leaks
  • Navigation System Failure
  • Engine Malfunction
  • Electrical System Failure
  • Federal Aviation Administration Regulation Violations

Why Are Tatum & Atkinson the Best Choice for an Aviation Accident Attorney?

Our legal team at Tatum & Atkinson has over 65 years of experience in winning accident cases for our clients. We are experts in dealing with international, national, state, and local laws, so we will not miss anything.

We also have aviation professionals ready and willing to help build your case with their knowledge of aerodynamics and physics. We are prepared to stand up against the biggest airlines and manufacturers just as quickly as a small company to get you the compensation you deserve.

We recognize that no two accidents are the same, and we manage your case accordingly. We give you our full attention as we investigate the incident, build your case, and negotiate on your behalf.

We will stand by you from the beginning until your case is complete and you either get a satisfactory settlement or a favorable verdict in court.

What Are Common Injuries of Survivors of Aviation Accidents?

Aviation accidents can cause many types of injuries depending on the type of accident and the aircraft flown. Higher speeds and greater heights put victims at an increased risk of serious injury.

The most common injuries caused by aviation accidents are as follows:

Traumatic Brain Injury

Brain injuries are often devastating. They are a common cause of death or disability after aviation accidents.

They can range from mild to severe, depending on the nature of the accident. Concussions are common and can even occur without a direct hit to the head.

The rapid motion of an accident can cause the brain to move back and forth within the skull, causing a concussion.

Spinal Cord Damage

Damage to the spine completely changes the life of the injured person. They are still alive, but the life they had before the collision is over.

The resulting complete or partial paralysis affects not only the victim but their family as well. Loss of voluntary movement and sensation means the wounded party will need assistance in everyday tasks that they used to take for granted.

They will need caregivers and special equipment such as wheelchairs and other adaptive equipment. The financial burden can be just as crippling as the injury itself.

The emotional toll damages relationships and the victim’s sense of self-worth as their autonomy has instantly vanished.

Whiplash

A neck sprain from being in an aviation accident is called whiplash. This injury happens because your head is not restrained in your seat and rapidly moves back and forth like a cracking whip.

When extreme turbulence, a rough landing, or a crash occurs, your body is instantly jolted forward, and your unrestrained head falls back, hyperextending your neck. Immediately after this motion, your head is thrust forward, causing hyperflexion of your neck as your chin falls towards your chest.

All of this happens very quickly. Symptoms of whiplash can include the following:

  • neck and shoulder pain
  • stiffness
  • loss of mobility in the neck and shoulders
  • numbness traveling down the arms
  • dizziness
  • fatigue

These symptoms usually develop within the first few days after the injury. The severity of the injury and any preexisting conditions will increase the recovery time.

Most people take weeks to recover. Some people suffer from chronic pain for years after the accident occurred.

Broken Bones

The force of a strong impact may cause your bones to break, especially if you have an underlying condition such as osteoporosis. Even getting your elbow struck by the beverage cart could result in a broken bone.

Passengers in smaller planes are especially vulnerable because the plane only has so much space to give in before closing in on the passengers upon impact. Injuries from being crushed in aviation accidents are extremely serious and require multiple surgeries and extended recovery times.

They can even lead to amputation.

Lacerations

Broken glass and pieces of the aircraft can quickly turn into shrapnel that causes cuts or tears in the skin. Many victims have to live with disfiguring scars and a decreased range of motion in the areas surrounding their lacerations.

Burns

More serious aviation accidents sometimes include fires and even explosions. Victims are often burned in these situations and are left with painful scars, possible infections, and psychological trauma.

Organ Damage

Invisible, life-threatening internal injuries may never fully heal. High-speed aviation accidents wreak havoc on soft and delicate organs.

These injuries leave aviation accident victims with chronic pain and fatigue because of decreased organ function. You may even find yourself on a transplant list.

Damaged organs take anywhere from weeks to years to mend and may require multiple surgeries and hospitalization. The most common organ damage sustained from aviation accidents are:

  • Bruised Kidneys – Your kidneys filter your blood of extra fluids and wastes. They keep your electrolytes balanced and remove excess acid from your body. They even help to control your blood pressure. Treatment for damage to one or both of these vital organs can require dialysis or surgery and possibly a transplant.
  • Collapsed Lung – Pressure on your chest from your seatbelt, tray table, or another impact can cause your ribs to fracture and puncture your lungs, causing them to collapse. The intense jolt of a collision can also cause atelectasis or pneumothorax.
  • Ruptured Spleen – The spleen is a highly vascular organ. It works to filter damaged or old red blood cells while also controlling the levels of platelets, red blood cells, and white blood cells in circulation. Aviation accidents often cause damage to this organ. A ruptured spleen is common and can happen at the time of the accident or possibly weeks later, causing rapid internal bleeding. People who have had their spleen removed are at higher risk of infection.

Can I Be Compensated for Emotional Trauma?

Nearly every aviation accident survivor suffers from some sort of psychological trauma from the accident. Trauma and emotional distress can impact your life in numerous ways.

This trauma can be claimed as non-economic damage under pain and suffering. If you are experiencing any of the following, seek professional help from a mental healthcare provider.

Post-Traumatic Stress

Aviation accidents are often severe due to the speed and nature of these aircraft. Victims feel frightened after the experience because their lives are threatened.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is very real and more common than most people know. It can easily develop after an accident, especially when life-altering injuries and deaths occur.

You may be experiencing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder if you have noticed any of the following:

  • An increased heart rate or feelings of anxiety when thinking about your accident
  • The need to avoid the location of your accident or to avoid flying or even being in a plane
  • Becoming hypervigilant of your surroundings, especially in spaces similar to the aircraft, such as a car
  • Reactive to loud noises, specifically notices that resemble the sound of the aircraft or the crash
  • Feeling jumpy or easily startled
  • Flashbacks or nightmares about the accident
  • Becoming stressed or on edge when in or around aircraft

These reactions are your body’s natural defense, having been activated after a traumatic event. Your body is trying to avoid a similar event by defending against any real or perceived dangers related to the experience.

Having these symptoms does not mean you have post-traumatic stress disorder. These feelings are normal and should fade in time.

If they do not fade and continue to strengthen, you could be developing post-traumatic stress disorder. You should seek professional help quickly to keep the situation from escalating out of control.

Should I Seek Help From a Mental Health Professional?

Seeking help from a mental health professional will aid in your recovery and your claim for damages. You may choose to speak with a psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist, or counselor.

A professional will be able to diagnose your mental anguish and link your condition to your accident. Documentation from these professionals will be used to prove your claim for damages.

A mental health professional can also help you work through your mental and emotional trauma.

What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?

If your family member was killed as a result of an aviation accident, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim for compensation for your applicable damages. According to Wikipedia, a wrongful death claim is a claim against a person who can be held liable for a death.

So, when someone is believed to be responsible for the death of someone else, a wrongful death lawsuit may be filed against them. The goal of these lawsuits is to get both justice and financial compensation for the family that lost their loved one.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

The personal representative of the deceased person’s estate is the only person who may file a wrongful death claim according to North Carolina law. This person is usually a close family member, such as a spouse, child, or parent, and is typically named in the deceased’s will.

If the victim does not have a will or personal representative, the court will appoint one at the family’s request.

The wrongful death claim is filed on behalf of the victim’s estate, and the damages awarded from these claims are meant to compensate their family for the loss they have suffered. This compensation may include:

  • Funeral expenses
  • Medical expenses from the accident
  • Loss of income from the victim
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of a valued member of the family

What Is the Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations in North Carolina?

A statute of limitations is the amount of time someone has to take legal action beginning from the date of the injury or offense. The statute sets the deadline for filing a lawsuit.

According to Justia US Law, the statute of limitations in North Carolina is two years for a wrongful death claim. Aside from certain exceptions, a claim for compensation will not be able to be filed after the deadline.

Call the Heavy Hitters – The North Carolina Aviation Accident Law Firm Right Away

Aviation accidents are the nightmares of many people, and when they come to life, you need an experienced aviation accident lawyer by your side. Tatum & Atkinson: The Heavy Hitters are prepared to help you with whatever type of aviation accident you have been involved in.

Call us today at (800) LAW-0804 for a free consultation. We will work with you to get you the compensation you deserve.

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