An Ohio doctor and his fiancée have been awarded $11.35 million by a jury, after suing an aviation repair facility responsible for maintaining the man's personal airplane. The couple suffered severe injuries when the airplane crashed due to engine problems soon after taking off in August 2007. Both individuals suffered third-degree burns covering close to 40 percent of their bodies. Doctors placed the man in an induced coma following the crash, preventing him from returning home until several months later.
The personal injury lawsuit claimed that the repair facility failed to overhaul the rear engine and perform other maintenance actions to ensure that the plane was airworthy. The plaintiffs also alleged that the facility, Winner Aviation, did not investigate its mechanics' work on the craft, ultimately leading to a misdiagnosis of the plane's problems. They say that the facility's failure to properly identify and correct the problem caused the plane to lose power at a critical moment.
The woman on board the craft, a professional pilot, was forced to undertake an emergency landing after the plane's front engine experienced a loss of power during a flight, after the rear engine had already lost power. Despite her qualifications, the landing caused the airplane to explode, seriously burning both occupants in the process.
After the case appeared in court, a jury ruled that the repair facility improperly inspected and repaired the aircraft and that this negligence was directly responsible for the accident. The $11.35 million awarded to the couple will pay for their medical fees as well as physical and emotional suffering caused by the crash and subsequent injuries. The memory of the crash is still painful for the two, but the civil judgment will hopefully help them get on with their lives after being the victims of gross negligence.
Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer, "Jury awards $11.35 million to Akron doctor and fiance who survived 2007 crash in a neglected plane," Pat Galbincea, Dec. 15, 2011