- March 29, 2021
- Attorney Matt Stoddard
- Catastrophic Injury
A single-engine airplane carrying three adults crashed in Gainesville this February. There were no survivors. The FAA is currently investigating the cause and details of the crash, and has so far confirmed that the three bodies found in the wreckage match the three people expected to be on board.
The plane had recently taken off from nearby Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport and was on its way to Daytona Beach, Florida. In addition to the deaths of the pilot and passengers, the crash displaced a family of five when fuel from the Cessna rained down on their home, and a wing broke through their bedroom roof.
No one on the ground has reported injuries.
The Cessna Tried to Turn Around and May Have Attempted an Emergency Landing
Although the cause of the crash has yet to be determined, it seems that the pilot became aware of an issue shortly after takeoff. A representative of the Gainesville Fire Department reported that the pilot had tried to turn around and return to the airport for unknown reasons. One witness on the ground also described seeing the plane apparently attempt a controlled landing, before striking the trees behind the damaged home and falling into a ravine.
Based on these early reports, it’s likely that the crash was due to faulty hardware or maintenance, rather than pilot error, which means the families of the deceased likely have grounds for a wrongful death case.
Airplane Manufacturers and Maintenance Companies Are Responsible for Providing Safe, Quality Work
All product and service providers have a duty to avoid putting consumers in avoidable or unexpected danger. Assuming this crash was indeed the result of a mechanical failure, someone somewhere in the chain of events that led to this plane being in the sky most likely failed in that duty. It might have been the Cessna Aircraft Company itself, or the manufacturer of a specific part that was installed in the craft, either by Cessna or by someone making a later modification. A maintenance company might have caused damage, or failed to catch a problem caused by wear and tear, or simply not prepared the craft correctly for this flight. It’s also entirely possible that multiple parties share some blame for the accident.
In any of these scenarios, the families would have not only a good case on paper but an excellent chance of actually recovering a meaningful settlement.
Although a wrongful death settlement obviously can’t come close to repairing the harm done to a family, it’s one of the only tools available for holding negligent companies accountable for any profit-driven corner-cutting that may have contributed to an accident. Investigations not connected with a civil lawsuit are usually not performed with this specific focus in mind.
The Sooner the Families Acquire Legal Counsel, the Better Their Chances of Compensation
There are many reasons to seek legal advice quickly after a tragedy such as this one, but the most important is evidence preservation.
Some of the important evidence collection and preservation is already underway, of course. The remains will be autopsied, and the FAA will recover the black box and examine its data. However, a good wrongful death aviation lawyer will take advantage of all opportunities to build the client’s case, and some of these opportunities are time-sensitive. For example, it can be extremely helpful to perform an independent examination of the crash site, or to interview witnesses directly while the incident is fresh in their minds.
If you are the next of kin of Dan Delnoce, Matthew Delnoce, or Courtney Flanders, or you’ve lost a loved one to a similar plane accident in Georgia, reach out to The Stoddard Firm right away to learn more about how we can help.