Emergency Plane Landing in Philadelphia & The Legal Principle of “Res Ipsa Loquitur”


Few preventable accidents are more frightening than airplane crashes. When strapped into your seat in the cabin, your safety is completely in the control of the pilots, aircraft controllers, those ensuring the plane is mechanically fit to fly, security officers, and others. The risk of something going wrong is made evident by the headline-grabbing, mysterious story of the Malaysian Airlines flight that disappeared recently with over 230 passengers. The mass confusion over the plane’s location highlights serious safety gaps.

Another reminder hit closer to home recently, as a plane carrying nearly 150 passengers (many of them Philadelphia residents) made an emergency landing at the Philadelphia International Airport. According to reports, the U.S. Airways flight, headed to Florida, took off last week around 6:30 in the evening. However, the plane was only airborne for a moment when something went wrong. The nose gear allegedly fell off the plane. This mandated an immediate emergency landing, without the landing gear. Passengers aboard recall the horror of the plane slamming back into the ground and skidding across the runway.

When Negligence is Obvious

Fortunately, even though it was a traumatic experience for all involved, no serious injuries have yet been reported. Later investigations revealed that the main problem may have been a blown tire, which in turn caused the nose gear to collapse. However, it remains unclear exactly why the tire failed or if any specific act of negligence was the underlying cause.

However, even if more information about the situation does not come to light, those affected may still be able to recover under an old legal principle referred to as “res ipsa loquitur.” The term is simply a fancy Latin phrase that means “the thing speaks for itself.” In injury law, it refers to situations in which an accident simply could not have happened without negligence of some kind. In other words, it may act as a “shortcut” to recovery for plaintiffs without requiring them to explicitly prove the exact negligence that occurred. Plane crashes are often the prototypical example of res ipsa, because one of the only ways that a crash can occur is if some safety protocol is not followed.

While there is always a risk of being hurt in a plane accident, when compared other accidents, the odds are quite small. Every day, most Philadelphia residents are far more likely to be hurt in a car crash, bus accident, or any number of other incidents.

The principle of res ipsa can actually apply in many different incidents, including different auto accidents. In situations where evidence is missing or there are some unanswered questions about exactly what happened, this principle can prove helpful in ensuring that you are still able  to receive fair compensation to recover for your losses. A legal professional can listen to the specifics of your case and explain the best course of action.

Philadelphia Accident Lawyer

If you or someone you know was hurt in any type of accident where negligence was undoubtedly the cause, be sure to seek out the aid of a legal professional today. For help in Philadelphia or throughout Pennsylvania please contact our injury attorneys today to see how we can help. We have decades of experience providing aggressive advocacy and counsel for local residents.

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