Manufacturing & Design Defects | Aircraft Faults | Irwin Mitchell

Aviation accidents are often caused by faulty aircraft parts or design defects. If our investigations suggest that this was a factor in your case, we may be able to help you make a claim against the manufacturer, as well as making a claim against the airline.

Many aircraft and components are manufactured in the US. Even in an aircraft manufactured in Europe, around 50% of its components may be supplied by US corporations. This means we may be able to make a claim under US law and compensation settlements in the US are often much higher than those awarded in other countries. For example, a case worth £12,000 in the UK could be worth $1 million or more in the US. Claiming compensation under US product liability law can be complicated and difficult, however we have years of experience of successfully helping people to make a successful claim in this way.

Investigating Your Case To See If Manufacturing And Design Defects Were To Blame

Official air accident reports can take years to be published, so we will use our professional aviation expertise to conduct an investigation to assess potential product faults and the extent they contributed to an accident. 

This, combined with our extensive experience in claims made in the US, helps us determine whether you have a good chance of making a product liability claim in the US. 

There are two main barriers to you making a claim in the US. The first is the likelihood of the case staying in the US courts. For any foreign air crash involving foreign passengers, there will nearly always be a detailed legal argument raised by the defence that it is more convenient and in the interests of the parties to have the case dealt with in the courts of another country (e.g. where the accident occurred).  The second is the likelihood of convincing a jury in the US that the aircraft/ component manufacturer caused the crash. 

If the case is filed in the US, the process can be long but we will often enter into negotiations with the defendants and insurers with the aim of achieving an early settlement that balances the risks of the case staying in the US and succeeding at trial versus it having to be settled elsewhere.  This type of settlement is known as a “mid-Atlantic settlement”, which means that compensation is negotiated at a figure higher than the non-US country but lower than the levels of compensation that may eventually be awarded by the US jury. We have successfully used this tactic in many cases since the 1980s, when we successfully negotiated settlement with the US defendants for the British Airtours Boeing 737 disaster which occurred at Manchester Airport in 1985.

We will use our extensive experience and expertise to advise you on the potential of an aircraft or parts defect contributing to a crash and the strengths and weaknesses of making a claim in the US. We will always work with your best interests in mind and seek to achieve the best possible compensation settlement for you.

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