Injuries Caused by Inadequate Maintenance

Chicago Lawyers for Airline Industry Workers' Compensation Claims

Every workplace requires appropriate maintenance. Whenever an airplane or the equipment inside the airplane has not been adequately maintained and stops performing correctly, there is a danger of injuries to workers. There should be no surprises in the workplace in this context. When you go to your job, you should feel assured you are going to a safe place. Airlines must regularly perform maintenance in order to reduce the extent of equipment failure and prevent workplace accidents. If you are an airline worker who has suffered injuries caused by inadequate maintenance in your workplace, an experienced Chicago workers' compensation attorney can answer any questions you have about your legal options.

Injuries Caused by Inadequate Maintenance

Failure or malfunction of aircraft equipment that results in a crash leading to injuries and fatalities is often the result of a maintenance error. Sometimes there is a breakdown in the appropriate procedures that keep an aircraft in good repair. There may be a misperception of conditions that require repair. For example, in one real life situation when maintenance workers’ repair of a bulkhead on an aircraft didn't conform to the manufacturer's approved repair methods, the part's resistance to metal fatigue was reduced by 70%, such that the bulkhead gave way, and the lines of the hydraulic systems were ruptured. The aircraft could not be controlled.

In another situation, a maintenance worker on an aircraft had failed to take duct tape off of static ports. Static ports are critical for providing data such as altitude level, which is necessary for those in the cockpit to operate the plane. Conflicting warnings were issued from the aircraft's flight computer. The crew realized that these readings were erratic. During the emergency, the pilots thought they were at a safe altitude to go back to the airport, but they lost their altitude and location in the incorrect data, and crashed in the ocean. Everyone on board was killed.

Sometimes, inadequate maintenance is performed on luggage compartments or other interior elements of the airplane. A luggage compartment that flies open suddenly could result in baggage falling on and injuring a flight attendant or other crewmember.

Employers should be conducting regular maintenance to avoid unpredictable malfunctions. There should be a schedule of planned maintenance that permits professionals to identify a potential problem before it becomes serious and harms someone. Good records should be kept of what repairs have been performed and what actions were taken.

What Benefits are Available?

Work injuries can significantly impact an airline worker's life, affecting not only health but also finances and the trajectory of a career. The workers' compensation system was put in place in order to compensate workers for their medical losses and replace their wages and return them to work. However, the system is restrictive in terms of how much money is paid out. Most people would get more money for their losses if they were to sue in court and able to establish fault. However, the workers' compensation system is a no-fault system. A seasoned work injury lawyer can help you identify the benefits you may be eligible for.

The first three days you are disabled will not be paid unless you have to take at least 14 days off work. The first three days can be paid retroactively only after you've taken off the additional required days from work. Benefits are paid until a doctor declares that you've reached maximum medical improvement.

Disability benefits are based on your average weekly wage up to a maximum the law sets forth. Temporary total disability benefits are equal to 2/3 of your average weekly wage up to a maximum set by law. After your medical treatment is done, the doctor evaluates you for permanent disability. If you're permanently and totally disabled, you can keep getting weekly payments at the same rate for life. For example, if you lose both arms due to an inadequately maintained aircraft that crashed, you may be able to obtain permanent and total disability.

Consult an Airline Industry Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Chicago

If you are a worker in the airline industry in Chicago who has suffered injuries caused by inadequate maintenance, a workers' compensation lawyer can help you pursue benefits. Sometimes, if a workplace injury on an aircraft is caused by a defective component, you may be able to recover damages in a separate product liability lawsuit. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Eagle, Johnson & Bareck, we represent injured airline workers in Champaign, Quincy, Aurora, and Rockford, as well as Winnebago, Champaign, Kane, Sangamon, Adams, and Cook Counties. Call us at 312-263-6330 or toll-free at 800-444-1525, or contact us online to learn more about your rights.