Wrongful Death Lawsuits Still Pending Two Years after Plane Crash near Buffalo, NY

Almost two years after a Continental plane crashed into a home near Buffalo, N.Y., lawyers have gone to court to discuss a number of wrongful death lawsuits still pending in connection with the case, according to recent reports. (1)

A total of 43 lawsuits have been filed claiming wrongful death in connection with the February 12, 2009, crash, including one by the parents of a 24-year-old Parsippany woman, Madeline Loftus, who was among those killed in the accident. (2)

Fifty people were killed when Continental Connection Flight 3407 crashed into a home in Clarence, N.Y., which is about 20 miles from the Buffalo airport – the plane’s final destination. The victims included all 49 people aboard the plane, about 11 of whom were from New Jersey, and the home’s owner. (2)

Named in the lawsuits are Continental Airlines; Colgan Air, which operated the plane through a joint-operating agreement with Continental; Pinnacle Airlines, parent of Colgan; and Bombardier Inc., the company that manufactured the airplane. (1)

While the companies involved claim no responsibility for the crash, an investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board points to pilot error as the cause. The investigation revealed that the plane’s pilot did not have sufficient training on a particular safety device that was critical in the final moments of the flight. (2)

To date, settlement has been reached in about ten of the wrongful death lawsuits filed in connection with this crash. Those remaining cases that have not reached a settlement as yet are scheduled to go to trial in March 2012. (1)

“Wrongful death” is defined as a death resulting from misconduct by, or negligence of, a company or an individual. Who can be considered “survivors” and the type of compensation for which they can sue depends on specific state law. Generally, however, survivors of victims of wrongful death can sue for general and punitive damages; loss of companionship, protection and care; loss of benefits, such as pension, 401K, and medical insurance; loss of future earnings of the victim; pain and suffering caused by the death of the victim; and expenses incurred in that death, including medical and funeral expenses. (3)

(1) http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2011/02/dozens_of_lawsuits_are_pending.html

(2) http://www.northjersey.com/news/crime_courts/101448409_Parents_sue_airlines_over_death__of_Parsippany_woman_in_crash.html

(3) http://www.newjerseywrongfuldeath.com/faqs.cfm