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Government Ordered to Pay $17.8 Million After Fatal Jet Crash

Plane crashes don't just hurt the people in the aircraft. When a plane goes down over a populated area, it can cause serious harm to the people below.

Earlier this week, a California judge ordered the federal government to pay $17.8 million in the wake of a California fatal plane crash. Four people were killed when a Marine Corps jet crashed into their home in 2008.

Don Yoon, the plaintiff in the case, lost his wife and two baby girls in the crash. Yoon's mother-in-law, Suk Im Kim, was also killed. The jet's pilot ejected safely before the crash.

Accident a Result of Widespread Errors

Just like other lawsuits, aviation accident claims require a finding of negligence. It is not enough to show that there was a crash and that someone was injured. Rather, airplane accident claims usually require significant investigation to uncover mistakes by pilots, flight crews, mechanics or manufacturers.

In the present case, the investigation uncovered a significant number of errors that ultimately led to the crash.

During the flight, the jet's right engine failed, leaving the pilot to rely on the left engine. Unfortunately, the left engine also had problems. Ultimately, that engine also failed, causing the crash.

Sadly, the left engine failure did not come as a surprise. Marine mechanics were aware that the engine had been exhibiting problems. Despite this, they allowed the squadron to fly the jet 146 times without fixing the engine.

Investigators also found that military navigators relied on "incorrect assumptions and inaccurate data" in trying to guide the pilot back to the plane's base.

Further, investigators chastised the pilot for not consulting his emergency procedures checklist before the crash.

The case highlights how complex a lawsuit involving an aviation accident can be. It is important for people pursuing an aviation accident claim to contact an experienced law firm who has the knowledge and the resources to properly investigate the crash.

Source: CNN, "Judge Awards $17.8 Million to Family of Military Jet Crash Victims," Dec. 28, 2011

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