Crop Duster Accidents

Crop Duster Accidents

When compared to commercial planes, private planes, or helicopters, crop dusters probably seem relatively harmless. Used to “dust” crops with fungicides, pesticides, fertilizers, and more, crop dusters are flown at a comparatively low height (in regards to other aircraft) and a relatively low speed. Regardless, accidents on crop dusters are common, and numerous crop duster pilots have died in crop duster crashes. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a Sacramento crop duster accident, working with an experienced Sacramento crop duster crash attorney can help you to recover the compensation that you deserve.

Why Do Crop Duster Accidents Happen?

Of course, a crop duster accident can happen because of an error made by the person piloting the small plane – perhaps the pilot shows up to work intoxicated that day, or fails to get enough sleep and is therefore fatigued to the point of impairment.

But most of the time, crop duster accidents happen due to factors that a pilot cannot predict, and often cannot avoid. Obstacles that a crop duster pilot encounters along the route are typically the biggest threat to pilots’ safety. Obstacles that may be in a pilot’s way can include:

  • Birds and animals;
  • Fence posts;
  • Wires and power lines; and
  • Tree branches.

Another big risk to the pilots of crop dusters are towers, such as temporary meteorological towers. These towers, which can be constructed in a matter of hours and are 198 feet high, often catch pilots by surprise. Because the Federal Aviation Administration only requires warnings and markings for towers over 200 feet high, these towers avoid that requirement. As reported by an article in The New York Times, since the year 2003, at least five people, three of them crop duster pilots, have died in accidents after hitting the towers.

Mechanical Failures

In addition to hitting objects, crop duster accidents may also occur because of a mechanical failure of the plane or plane part. If crop dusters are not properly maintained, and properly repaired when a part breaks down, the risk of an accident becomes very real. Sometimes, crop duster parts are defectively designed or manufactured.

Who Is Liable for a Crop Duster Crash?

Liability for a crop duster crash can be confusing, and depends upon a number of factors, including the parties involved and the specific cause of the crash. For example, if a crop duster crash occurred because of a private pilot’s own negligence, and that pilot was the only one harmed in the crash, then it is unlikely that the pilot or his family members will have a claim.

Others May Be Proven Negligent

On the other hand, if that pilot’s accident occurred because of the installation of a temporary meteorological tower, then the company who installed the tower, or the landowner where the tower was installed, may be liable.

In the event that the crop duster accident would not have occurred but for a mechanical failure or defect that would have been prevented but for poor design, manufacture, maintenance, or repair, then the manufacturer of the part or the party responsible for repair of the part may be held liable. In some cases, the party who sold the part may be responsible.

Representing You and Your Family after a Crop Duster Crash

If you or a loved one has been injured in a crop duster crash, finding out what happened, who should be held liable, and figuring out a way to recover your full compensation amount are surely top priorities. Doing all three of these things will required an intensive investigation into what went wrong, whether or not negligence or wrongful act was committed, and a valuation of all damages suffered.

In California, a person who is injured due to the negligence of another – be that a private company, an individual, a property owner, a corporation, or even the government – has the right to seek damages for their losses. While a claim must be filed within two years per California’s statute of limitations, an injured person may seek damages for their:

  • Medical expenses;
  • Permanent disability or disfigurement;
  • Pain;
  • Suffering;
  • Psychological injury;
  • Loss of guidance, companionship, or consortium;
  • Lost wages and benefits;
  • Loss of earning capacity; and
  • Funeral and burial expenses.
Is Filing a Claim Worth It?

When tragic accidents occur, many people wonder whether filing a claim and getting involved in a lawsuit is really worth it. The answer is simply that if you do not take action, it is unlikely that you will recover any compensation for your losses, and certainly not the amount that you truly deserve. While the process of filing a civil action can be time consuming and emotional, it is also often the only way to ensure that you have financial means necessary to pay for your losses and move on with your life.

Working with a Sacramento Crop Duster Crash Attorney

Another concern that many people have is that if they file a legal action, they will have to work with an attorney, which will cost them a fortune. I’m Ed Smith, and when you work with me, I can guarantee you that there will be no upfront costs. Your initial consultation is 100 percent free, and I always work on a contingency basis. What this means is that I will work hard on your case to obtain the best case outcome possible – then, rather than charging you upfront or out-of-pocket fees, you only pay me if I am successful with your case.

More Than 3 Decades of Experience

I know how scary it is to be in an accident, and how terrible it is to lose a loved one. I know that you probably have reservations about calling me or filing a lawsuit. I have been working with accident victims in Sacramento and throughout Northern California for more than 30 years - if you are looking for an advocate that you can trust, please contact me today.

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Sacramento Crop Duster Crash Attorney

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Crop Duster Crash Attorney. If you are injured in a crop duster crash, call me now at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for free and friendly advice. Español hablado aquí.

In addition to my Sacramento Main Law Office, I have an office in Stockton and Elk Grove for your convenience.

You may also reach me using this online form and I will get in touch with you promptly.

References:

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