Hartford Aviation Accident Lawyer

An aviation lawyer in a purple suit looking intently at his laptop while he works on a case.Statistically speaking, flying is the safest way to travel, and in fact, has been for quite some time. This might seem strange, given how dramatic and high-profile plane crashes tend to be, but the data paints a different picture.

In 2021, 46,980 Americans perished in car crashes. On a global scale, approximately 1.3 million people die in car crashes per year.

In contrast, commercial plane crashes are extremely rare, with the odds of being in one resting at around one in 1.2 million. Fatal plane crashes are even rarer; out of 32.2 million flights worldwide in 2022, there were only five fatal accidents for a total of 257 deaths.

Unfortunately, a low chance is still not zero, and when things go wrong 30,000 feet in the air, the consequences can be dire. When you get into an accident on an aircraft, you may have to look for compensation with the help of a Hartford aviation accident lawyer.

Do You Need a Hartford Aviation Accident Attorney for Your Claim?

As most people understand it, you would need an aviation attorney when these two statements are true:

  1. You sustained damages in an aviation accident.
  2. The limits of the insurance policy that you are making a claim against exceed your damages.

Based on this, most people would think that you don’t need a lawyer if your damages exceed an at-fault party’s insurance limits because you would theoretically just file a claim for the maximum amount. Meanwhile, if your damages fall within the policy limits, you would need a negotiator to help get as close to the limits as possible.

This is somewhat true, though lacking in nuance.

The reality is that insurance companies are businesses first, and any amount they pay out to claimants is a loss on their end. Because of this, they can and often will employ any number of tactics to devalue your claim.

Insurance adjusters are skilled negotiators in their own right. It is extremely common for self-representing claimants to leave talks with adjusters believing that only some (or even none) of their damages are valid due to some vague fine print in their policy.

Thankfully, working with a Hartford aviation accident lawyer puts you on the same level as the insurance company’s representatives, giving you a fair chance at compensation. Here’s how.

  • Investigating Your Case: Your lawyer will assess your damages and gather evidence that ties these losses with the aviation accident. They will also try to determine who is at fault for your injury.
  • Negotiating With the Insurance Company: Your attorney is familiar with tactics insurers may use to lower the amount they pay. When it comes time to sit down and negotiate, your attorney will see through these tactics and make sure you are made a fair offer.
  • Filing a Lawsuit: When you do not get the amount you need, even after negotiations, your lawyer may advise filing a lawsuit. Your case may not actually make it to court since this threat is often enough to make insurers more amenable to a larger amount in the face of a lengthy and costly lawsuit.

Recoverable Damages in an Aviation Accident

As aviation injury cases fall squarely in personal injury law, you can expect to recover both economic and non-economic damages similar to those in other accidents. The exact damages that can be recovered, of course, depend on the specifics of the policy as well as the actual losses incurred.

Economic damages compensate victims for actual monetary losses resulting from the accident. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are awarded in order to pay for less tangible losses that nonetheless have a negative impact on a person’s quality of life.

Economic Damages

Of the two types of damages involved in personal injury cases, economic damages are easier to quantify, provided that a victim has the evidence to back up their inclusion in a claim. This often includes receipts, official reports, and photographic and/or video evidence, depending on the damage.

Economic damages typically include the following:

  • Medical Expenses: Hospital bills, physician’s fees, and the cost of medicine and therapy are all items that can be included under medical expenses. These are often the largest part of an insurance claim when they are included, sometimes reaching six-figures on their own.
  • Lost Wages: This type of damage provides support for victims who lose time at work as well as potential income due to their injuries. Lost wages may compensate claimants for valuable deals that they may have failed to close or, in cases where injuries permanently affect a person’s ability to do work, provide a safety net for a limited period, depending on the policy.
  • Property Damage: If any property has been damaged in an aviation accident, this part of a claim will pay for the value of physical (and often digital) losses up to a certain point. While frequently lower than coverage for bodily injury, property damage still plays a large role in restoring a person to a stable economic situation, especially if valuable items were lost or destroyed.
  • Funeral Expenses: While aircraft have a much better safety record than most land vehicles, the odds of death in the event of an accident are not zero. Funeral and burial expenses may be included in a claim in order to relieve the deceased’s family of extra financial burdens.

Non-economic Damages

The intangible nature of non-economic damages makes them difficult to quantify, with no truly universal formula across cases. However, there are two main methods that are generally considered fair ways to assign value to them.

  • Per Diem Method: This assigns a predetermined value to pain and suffering based on the severity of the injury. This number is then multiplied by the total number of days that the person suffers in order to come up with a concrete amount to include in the claim.
  • Multiplier Method: In this method, economic damages are multiplied by a factor depending on the severity of the injury and its impact on a person’s life. The factor usually ranges from 1.5 to 5, with higher factors indicating greater harm suffered.

Some insurers will also employ elements from both the per diem and multiplier methods for a “combination” method.

How Long Do I Have to File an Aviation Accident Claim?

The amount of time an accident victim has to file a claim is determined by a state’s statute of limitations. In Hartford, that means you have a maximum of two years from the date of discovering an injury caused by “negligent, reckless, or wanton conduct” and up to three years otherwise to take action.

The same limits apply to property damage, meaning if you do not file a claim or a lawsuit before your (usually) two years are up, you are no longer eligible to seek compensation from liable parties. You will also no longer be able to pursue damages from any policies you have that cover you regardless of fault, such as Personal Injury Protection (PIP).

Despite Connecticut’s generous statute of two to three years seeming like a long time, it is generally ill-advised to delay the pursuit of compensation. This is because the claims process can be confusing, especially for first-time claimants, which most aviation accident victims likely are.

Add to this the fact that accident victims have to tend to their own recovery and healing on top of their daily activities and their claims, and it’s easy to see how delays can occur. Each delay can prove costly, adding up on the last until, before you know it, the statute has passed.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, filing a claim too quickly has its own disadvantages, too. Rushed claims can mean an incomplete assessment of damages, premature settlement offers that do not adequately cover losses, and the biggest risk of all, the possibility of undiscovered losses being excluded.

There is a balance to be struck between promptness and thoroughness, and it can be difficult to achieve that on your own. Working with a lawyer with experience in these matters offers you efficiency, maximizing the time you spend so that it benefits your case.

Contact a Hartford Aviation Accident Law Firm for Maximum Compensation

When you’ve been injured in an aviation accident, the expert lawyers of Bert McDowell Injury Law can help you recover. Since our founding, we have recovered tens of millions of dollars in damages for our clients (sometimes, in one go), and we want to offer the same advantages to you.

At Bert McDowell Injury Law, we put you first at all points of the claims process. We pride ourselves on our Three Pillars: Client Communication, Client Attention, and Client Success.

With Client Communication, you are never left in the dark. We keep you informed with open channels and constant updates on our progress.

With Client Attention, we look to exceed your expectations to make you feel valued. Our team shows genuine care and concern for the well-being of those who choose us in return for their decision to trust us with their case.

The ultimate goal is our shared goal of your success, where you get the resources you need to get back on your feet. Call us today at (203) 590-9169 for your free consultation.