On last Thursday evening there was a fatal air crash of a Continental Commuter flight 3407 near Buffalo. 50 people died: all 49 on board plus 1 person in the home where the plane crashed.
The crash site
In order to recover against the airline or the aircraft manufacturer or both, the attorneys must prove either negligence or a design defect in the aircraft.
There is an exception of the requirement of proving negligence for passengers who were on a international ticket and had used the commuter flight as one leg on an international trip. In that event the provisions of the Warsaw Convention might apply, and international travelers would not have to prove negligence. However, there are dollar limits for Warsaw Convention claims.
The exhaustive findings of the National Transportation Safety Board will be an integral part of proving the case.
It is likely that all of the lawsuits will be consolidated for joint trial or joint discovery.
At this time it is premature to comment on blame. However, after the families have had a chance to mourn and bury their dead, they should consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible.
Mark E. Seitelman, 2/15/09, www.seitelman.com.