Illinois Aviation Accident & Death Attorney

Plane crashes are terrifying and highly dangerous occurrences. When an aviation accident occurs, there is almost always some individual or entity to blame for negligently causing the accident. This could occur in the context of pilot error, mechanical failure, airline operation negligence, or even air traffic control mistakes.

If you were injured or recently suffered the death of a loved one in an aviation accident, there are legal options at your disposal to help you recover the financial compensation that you deserve from the at-fault party. However, there is a time limit on how long you have to file your claim, so it is important that you act quickly.

To get seasoned, dedicated assistance in evaluating and pursuing your case, reach out to the Illinois aviation accident and death lawyers at Rhatigan Law Offices. To help you evaluate your options, we can start you off with a free initial case assessment. To learn more, call our offices today at (312) 578-8502.

Causes of Aviation Accidents in Illinois

While air travel is considered to be among the safest forms of transportation, there are any number of issues that could arise and create danger. Below are some of the causes of aviation accidents that account for the highest rates of crashes, both in the State of Illinois and around the world.

Pilot Error

The most common cause of aviation accidents by far is pilot error. As air travel has become more reliable with recent technological advancements, pilot mistakes and recklessness account for roughly half of all crashes. Though many aspects of flight today are automated, much is still left to the control of the captain in charge of the flight, so if a pilot lacks the necessary experience and training to deal with complex circumstances in the air, the results could be catastrophic.

Mechanical Failure

No matter the size of the airplane, a safe flight requires all of the pieces of machinery on board to be working correctly and in unison. That is why federal regulations require extensive testing and inspection protocols. These requirements exist for both the manufacturer at the production stage and for the airline before every flight. Failures in the implementation or execution of these protocols can result in a defective plane being put in the air with unknowing passengers on board.


Natural conditions cause issues with flights that may force delays. No one likes to experience delays in their air travel plans, but these inconveniences are much preferrable to putting a plane in the air when it shouldn’t be, potentially resulting in a crash. Airlines are responsible for avoiding flying through dangerous weather conditions, and liable for the consequences when they fail to do so.

Air Traffic Control Error

Pilots only have immediate control over their aircraft. The larger process of managing the skies and safe travel falls on air traffic control operators. These individuals are responsible for indicating which planes should use which runways, when they are cleared for takeoff and landing, and whether there are hazards of which the pilot should be aware. Negligence in air traffic control can spell disaster for airplane passengers.

Suing for a Wrongful Death Caused by an Aviation Accident in Illinois

If you recently experienced the death of a loved one due to an aviation accident, you should consider your ability to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the party responsible for causing the accident.

A wrongful death lawsuit functions similarly to how a personal injury lawsuit might have if the victim survived their injuries from the accident. Any form of negligence, recklessness, or intentionally harmful act on the part of any of the entities involved in the air travel that caused the accident may be grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit.

Wrongful death lawsuits in Illinois for aviation accidents must be brought by the personal representative, or “executor,” of the deceased’s estate. Many wills indicate who should serve as the executor of the writer’s estate. However, if the person died without a will or the named executor cannot (or does not wish to) serve in that role, a court may appoint an executor. Our dedicated Illinois aviation accident and wrongful death lawyers can assist you through this difficult process.

Deadlines for Filing Aviation Accident Lawsuits in Illinois

As in every state, Illinois has specific laws, known as “statutes of limitations,” that establish the deadline by which any civil action must be filed in court. It is important that you understand how these deadlines apply to you so that you do not miss your filing window.

For personal injury lawsuits stemming from aviation accidents, Illinois requires that the injury victim file their complaint in court no more than two years after the date of the accident.

The same is true for wrongful death lawsuits from aviation accidents, with a few critical exceptions. Instead of beginning on the date of the accident, the clock starts to run on a wrongful death lawsuit on the date of the actual death in question. If the death occurred as the result of “violent intentional conduct,” the window grows to five years from the date of death. If the government decides to pursue criminal charges against the defendant for the same conduct that caused the wrongful death, the civil lawsuit may be filed up to one year after the criminal case concludes, no matter what the resolution is. This is important in this context, as criminal cases involving aviation accidents may take a substantial amount of time.

The best way to avoid missing the statutory deadline that applies in your case is to contact a seasoned Illinois aviation accident and death lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your story and potential lawsuit.

Work with Our Illinois Aviation Accident and Death Attorneys Today

Get your free first-time case evaluation when you call the experienced Illinois aviation accident and death lawyers at Rhatigan Law Offices today at (312) 578-8502.