Ocala SUV Driver Survives Crash With Plane

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A man was driving an SUV in Ocala when a plane crash landed onto his vehicle. According to a news report issued by WESH, two victims died in the crash, but the SUV driver survived. Witnesses reported that the plane fell out of the sky onto the SUV and the driver jumped out of the car. Unaware that he was just struck by a plane, the driver asked what trailer or truck had struck his vehicle. According to Ocala Police Department, the plane was flying from Punta Gorda, Florida to California and had passed through Ocala to avoid bad weather. The victims of the crash, the pilot and the passenger, were on a maintenance check flight. The pilot had noticed a right-engine fuel flow problem. According to officials, the plane was a Beechcraft Baron that clipped its wing on part of the highway prior to landing on the SUV.

Plane flying at sunset.

Aviation Law and Florida’s No-Fault System

The pilot in command of an aircraft is directly responsible for and has the final authority regarding the operation of that aircraft, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Moreover, a pilot has a duty to exercise ordinary care by doing everything he or she can to keep passengers safe. FAA regulations require an aircraft to be “airworthy” in order to be flown. When an aircraft becomes “un-airworthy” due to electrical, mechanical, or structural issues, the pilot has a duty to discontinue the flight. Failure to do so is likely negligence.

Florida is one of only about a dozen states in the US that follow no-fault insurance laws when it comes to car-related accidents. This not-so-popular law requires a person injured in an accident to use his/her own insurance to cover medical expenses and lost wages up to $10,000.00. This is known as Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage. Compensation can still be obtained for injuries through the at-fault party’s insurance if they maintained Bodily Injury Coverage. However, Bodily Injury Coverage is not required in Florida.

Who Can be Held Liable?

While the causes of private plane crashes can be as different as the parties involved, the most common reason for these accidents is pilot error, faulty aircraft equipment, and violations of FAA regulations. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is tasked with investigating every aviation accident that occurs in America. This includes publishing accident reports after investigation and identifying ways that aviation safety can be improved. Possible defendants in a plane crash accident may include:

  • Aircraft operator/owner: Aircraft operators and owners must uphold a high standard of care. If the victim can establish negligence, the owner could be legally responsible for damages even if someone else was piloting the plane at the time of the crash; and/or
  • Aircraft manufacturer: If the victim’s injuries can be shown to have resulted from a defect in the aircraft, then the manufacturer can be held legally responsible for damages suffered.

Notably, the General Aviation Revitalization Act of 1994 (GARA) helps protect manufacturers of aircrafts that carry fewer than 20 passengers from responsibility for most accidents involving aircraft parts that are 18 years or older when the crash occurred.

Aircraft operators and owners must uphold a high standard of care. If the victim can establish negligence, the owner could be legally responsible for damages even if someone else was piloting the plane at the time of the crash.

Ocala Auto Accident Attorneys

If you have been hurt in any type of accident due to the fault of another, contact the personal injury and auto accident attorneys at Bogin, Munns & Munns. Our legal team has more than 40 years of experience representing the injured across the state of Florida.  Contact us today to schedule your free personal injury consultation.

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NOTICE: The article above is not intended to serve as legal advice, and you should not rely on it as such. It is offered only as general information. You should consult with a duly licensed attorney regarding your Florida legal matter, as every situation is unique. Please know that merely reading this article, subscribing to this blog, or otherwise contacting Bogin, Munns & Munns does not establish an attorney-client relationship with our firm. Should you seek legal representation from Bogin, Munns & Munns, any such representation must first be agreed to by the firm and confirmed in a written agreement.

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