David S. Jasmer
Setting the Standard in Personal Injury
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Father sues suburban Chicago airport operator over son's death

Who is accountable when a person is injured or dies due to someone else's carelessness? Illinois laws hold defendants responsible for criminal behavior and liable for damages in civil cases. The presence of negligence is required for a civil jury to award compensation to victims of injuries and wrongful deaths.

A late 2010 plane crash near Chicago killed an 18-year-old college student and badly burned the Cessna Sierra's pilot. The teen was employed by the Jacksonville Municipal Airport, operated by the Jacksonville Airport Authority. The student pilot was a passenger, when the plane went down near Chicago Executive Airport.

The plane had just taken off from the airport, when the pilot reported power problems. The crash occurred as the pilot attempted to return to the facility.

The teen's father settled liability lawsuits filed against the pilot and aircraft owner. The parent's initial attempt to sue the airport operator in 2011 was dismissed by a judge without prejudice. A new filing accuses Jacksonville Airport Authority of negligence for allowing his son to board an unsafe plane with an underqualified pilot.

The complaint states the airport authority knew an overhaul on the Cessna a few months before the crash had not resolved the plane's engine difficulties. The authority could have prevented the flight but chose to schedule a safety check in Schaumberg on the aircraft's way to a Jacksonville destination.

The parent also alleges the plane was not cleared of ice properly before take-off.

Defendants are often people who cause direct harm, but sometimes, more than one party is negligent. An at-fault vehicle operator can be ordered to pay damages in a fatal accident. A vehicle owner, when different from the driver, may be liable for failing to maintain or repair a car or truck. The driver's employer could be blamed for hiring or under-training an incompetent driver and promoting unsafe driving practices.

Source: myjournalcourier.com, "Lawsuit over 2010 plane-crash death targets airport" David C.L. Bauer, Nov. 13, 2013

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