Automotive Accidents

A bomb explosion and the threat of a second bomb at the Spanish Gran Canaria airport on March 27, 1977, resulted in the temporary diversion of many aircraft to the Los Rodeos Airport (now called Tenerife North Airport). The crowding of planes in Los Rodeos forced its air traffic controllers (ATC) to direct some of the planes’ pilots to park their aircraft on two taxiways, congesting these eventually.

As the Gran Canaria reopened that same day, planes actually en route to it prepared to proceed there. Two among these planes were 747s: the KLM Flight 4805, with 234 passengers and 14 crew members, and the Pan Am Flight 1736, with 380 passengers.

Communications began between these two 747s and the ATC for takeoff instructions. With two taxiways clogged with parked planes, the ATC assigned Runway 12/30, which is normally used for takeoffs only, as both taxiway and runway. Due to the fog that blanketed the airport and with no ground radar, ATC knew only of the planes’ activities and locations through each pilot’s inputs. About eight minutes after communications began between the planes and the ATC, the two planes collided, killing 583 people (crew members and passengers) in what is now considered as the deadliest accident in aviation history.

Parts of the recorded exchanges revealed two things: the obvious miscommunication between the ATC and the two flight crews and the absence of standardized English phrases that will allow flight crews and ATCs to clearly understand each other. And while many aviation accidents in the past have been blamed on pilots, the blame to this particular aviation tragedy rested on the ATC.

In 2012, from the 132 million flights handled by US ATCs, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was able to discover 4,394 errors; 41 of these were high risk mistakes, which could have ended catastrophically.

Critics say that the yearly number of ATC mistakes reported to the FAA is far below what is real. ATCs have the primary duty of ensuring safety in aviation activities by keeping planes at a safe distance from each other.

One probable cause of ATC slipups is the “rattlers” working schedule which only allow these controllers little sleep (or totally deny them any sleep at all) before overnight shifts; a situation that has resulted to some controllers sleeping on the job.

The FAA has a program aimed at preventing its 15,000 controllers to experience fatigue while on the job; however, this program has been subjected to budget cuts and studies about this is being prevented by FAA officials from being reviewed.

Despite the increase of ATC errors in 2013, which saw about 6,700 situations wherein planes flew closer to each other than allowed in US airspace, it remains a fact that air travel remains to be the safest and fastest means of long distance transportation. Obviously, the most disastrous plane accidents have also been the bases of changes and improvements in the aviation industry.

But while all studies may point to experts’ concurrence about the safety of air travel, when an accident occurs, the fact that victims and/or their families may be entitled to compensation due to damages resulting from the accident cannot be denied.

Though there is a federal law that prohibits law firms from contacting victims within 45 days after a plane accident, no law prohibits victims from contacting a lawyer to inquire about his or her rights, especially with regard to the maximum amount of compensation that he or she is legally allowed to receive. Getting in touch with a lawyer is very important during this 45-day inclusive period as the airline company is very likely to make a move to settle with the victims.

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Iowa Motorcycle Laws

Posted By on Aug 11, 2014

Iowa motorcycle laws, just as with all laws in the US, are aimed to protect the motorcycle riders, other motorist, and pedestrians. For residents of Iowa, getting a motorcycle license (also called a Class M license) would require them to pass the motorcycle knowledge test, along with the on-cycle evaluation. The Class M license can be added to their driver’s license with a charge of $2 every year to their existing Iowa driver’s license. For those who doesn’t have any type of driver’s license and wishes to have a motorcycle license, it is important to complete the written exam needed for the Class C non-commercial driver’s license, aside from the basic tests that would prove your knowledge of the Iowa Driver’s Manual. The cost for a motorcycle-only driver’s license is $6 per year.

The state of Iowa is among the three states in America (with Illinois and New Hampshire) that doesn’t have any motorcycle helmet laws. This means that Iowa has very lax motorcycle safety regulations – no helmets and even eye protection requirements necessary. This can lead to serious injuries when a motorcycle accident occurs. Because of this lack of safety laws, it can be difficult to win a personal injury claim when a motorcycle accident occurs. According to Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ®, the main problem in winning an injury or insurance claim is the establishing of fault of the other party. There can be some level of fault in the motorcycle driver than can affect the case, and Iowa being under the “comparative negligence” rule, having some fault in the accident can significantly reduce the amount of compensation that will be granted after a motorcycle accident.

Because personal injury claims and compensation can depend on the laws that the state has, pursuing a claim in Iowa can be difficult. It is essential that a victim should have an Iowa motorcycle accident lawyer because there are various factors to consider in order to have a successful personal injury claim, and because laws can change and certain exceptions and definitions can influence the case. Having someone who knows the laws and understands how to represent the case in court can make or break a personal injury claim.

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