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By Timothy Tomasik

After a long-awaited Third Circuit Court ruling in the case Sikkelee v. Precision Airmotive Corp., et al., aviation accident victims and their families now have more protection from the negligent acts of airline and aircraft manufacturers. Offered through a limitation on the Federal Aviation Act (FAA Act), the ruling holds that the Federal FAA Act does not purport governance over the design or manufacturing of aircrafts, nor does it supply a comprehensive standard of care. As such, aviation product liability lawsuits should be governed and ruled upon based on local state law standards and regulations, rather than federal laws, regulations, and standards of care.

Background on Sikkelee v. Precision Airmotive Corp

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Statistically speaking, travelers are safer when flying than when driving. In fact, the National Safety Council made a side-by-side comparison of the two and determined that a person’s odds of dying in a motor vehicle crash is 1 in 98 while their odds of experiencing a fatality in an airplane crash is just 1 in 7,178. So why, then, do humans fear flying so much? Experts believe it has something to do with the often catastrophic results of plane accidents.

A Single Crash Can Cause Hundreds of Injuries

Although they do not occur often, the results of plane crashes are usually devastating. Take, for example, the 20131 crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214, which killed two passengers and injured 307 members of the passengers and crew. Or the 2001 crash of an Airbus A300 that killed 265 people just moments after takeoff. And then there was the 1977 collision of two Boeing 747s (KLM and Pan Am) that killed 583 people – one of the most devastating accidents to date.

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