Explosive Plane Crash Kills Two

On Wednesday, August 14, 2013, a UPS cargo plane crashed near Birmingham. The crash killed all on board.

Police state that the aircraft was approaching Birmingham-Shuttlesworth Airport on a flight from Lexington, Kentucky. The plane suddenly exploded in mid-air and fell from the sky. The tower reports that the crew made no distress calls. Witnesses stated that the aircraft split into several pieces before crashing to the ground, skidding across a highway and spreading debris over a half-mile area.

Both the pilot and co-pilot were killed. Their bodies were found some 100 yards from the main portion of the plane. The aircraft type, a twin-engine Airbus A 300, has been involved in at least 10 other crashes since it first entered service in 1974.

The National Transportation Safety Board is currently investigating the cause of the accident. Speculation exists that, due to the sudden nature of the crash, the lack of distress calls and the A 300’s service record, mechanical error may have been at fault.

Liability for wrongful death

Any time a manufacturer sells a defective product that results in death, whether that product is a small medical device or a wide-body jet aircraft, the manufacturer can be sued for wrongful death. Since 1974, Alabama has used the AEMLD, or Alabama Extended Manufacturers’ Liability Doctrine, in such cases. In a defective product case, a Birmingham personal injury attorney must convince the jury that the death occurred because of:

  • A design defect the typical argument is that there was a safer alternative design available, but the defendant failed to use that alternative design
  • A manufacturing defect  the product may have been fine on the blueprint, but was defective by the time it reached the shelf
  • A failure to warn – if the manufacturer knows that a product is dangerous, the manufacturer has a duty to warn consumers about the danger

Since 1978, McPhillips Shinbaum has represented injured victims and their families in personal injury lawsuits throughout Alabama. Call today for your free consultation.