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Small Airplane Crashes Into Broward County Home, Killing Pilot

A home in Fort Lauderdale’s Oakland Park neighborhood was severely damaged April 17 after a twin-engine plane crashed into it, killing the pilot and causing a massive fire. The Miami Herald reported April 17 that the crash happened at around 11:15 a.m., just after the plane took off from Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport. Fortunately, nobody was in the destroyed home at the time of the crash — although one occupant had just left for work. Neighbors identified the pilot as Cecil Murray of Tamarac. An FAA spokeswoman told the newspaper that the plane’s flight plan listed only one person aboard, although the agency will look for evidence of more in its investigation.

The article did not say whether neighbors’ homes were damaged, which I hope means the damage was contained. But as the article does note, this crash is another blow to the already troubled safety record at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport. In a 2007 investigative piece, the Herald reported that the airport had a bad safety record both on and off the ground, with at least 30 crashes since 2003. Perhaps more importantly, the airport had the most runway incursions — incidents in which planes got too close to one another, a vehicle or a person — of any U.S. airport from 2001 to 2004. Runway incursions are dangerous because they can cause a ground crash, sometimes at hundreds of miles per hour. Its record has improved, but Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport still ranked in the top 10 when the 2007 article was written.

It’s far too soon to tell whether mechanical problems, human error or other causes are responsible for this most recent crash. But if it turns out that the crash could have been avoided with better design, maintenance or regulatory compliance, those who failed to provide those things could be legally liable for the crash. That includes the pilot’s death and any unreported injuries as well as the cost of all of the property damage in the case — which could be significant. In addition to the destroyed home, the plane itself may be part of any Broward County aviation accident lawsuits that victims file.

Claims brought after airplane accidents are some of the most legally complex personal injury cases. In addition to Florida personal injury law, a Pembroke Pines airplane crash lawyer must understand federal aviation law and the laws of any other state or nation the plane may have flown from or to. And of course, any Florida aviation accident claim will be delayed, often for months, while a full investigation takes place. Afterward, victims and their loved ones may be able to make several claims, including claims for costs like lost wages and medical bills as well as compensation for a wrongful death, permanent disability or serious injury.

If you’ve been seriously hurt in the crash of an airplane, helicopter or other aircraft in South Florida, you should call us at Cohn, Smith & Cohn as soon as possible. We have more than 25 years of experience helping people who were seriously injured or lost a loved one win the money they need to get medical treatment, make ends meet and recover as best as possible from a serious accident. From our main office in Hollywood and six other offices around Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, we represent people throughout South Florida. To speak to us about your case at a free, confidential consultation, please contact us online or call us today at (954) 431-8100.

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