Lawsuit Settled In Plane Crash That Caused Death Of Tampa Surgeon
The estate of a Tampa surgeon who died in a plane crash was awarded the maximum settlement allowed under Indiana law, $700,000. The surgeon died after an employee placed the wrong fuel into his plane. The plane crashed shortly after takeoff.
Since the lawsuit was filed against a municipal airport, the named defendant was a municipal government. The NTSB investigated the crash and their findings focused on the fuel used in the plane. However, the NTSB did not list an official cause of the crash in its report. The City denied wrongdoing. Nonetheless, the settlement was awarded to the surgeon’s estate.
The bad fuel caused the spark plugs to detonate and a later investigation discovered that the plane had been fueled with the wrong gas. The plaintiffs contended that the worker who gassed up the plane was negligently trained and supervised. Ultimately, the fault rested with the city for placing the doctor in harm’s way.
Employer liability in government torts
Corporations are treated as a single entity under the law as are governments. In essence, an employer is vicariously liable for the conduct of an employee while they are on the job. Since the law makes no distinction between the employee and his company (when the employee is acting within the confines of their duty to their company) the company is vicariously liable for any negligence caused by the employee.
In this case, the government is no different although certain occupations such as emergency workers, police officers, and teachers, may have specific immunities that are required of their profession. As an example, holding a police officer accountable for negligence is quite difficult under the law. On the other hand, holding a police officer accountable for intentional malice, use of force violations, or other intentional crimes can only be done through their employer. The individual police officer is immune from liability stemming from these claims and all claims against the officer are claims against his employer.
In this case, the city is alleged to have hired an employee who didn’t know which fuel was supposed to go into a plane. Prior to take off, the plane was filled with the wrong fuel causing a complete system failure and the death of its lone occupant. Since the negligence was the employee’s, the city was responsible for the claim. Such claims are generally subject to damage caps that prevent the city’s coffers from being depleted by negligence actions.
Another high-profile crash was recently settled by the wife of Kobe Bryant who died in a helicopter accident. The Bryant’s alleged that the pilot negligently flew the helicopter into dangerous conditions and had been cited in the past for the same.
Talk to a Tampa Personal Injury Attorney Today
Wrongful death lawsuits are filed on behalf of a deceased victim’s estate for the benefit of their remaining family. If you lost a loved one to someone else’s negligence, call the Tampa personal injury attorneys at The Matassini Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about our services.