The crash of a small aircraft near Vancouver this week is a reminder that Oregon and Washington product safety concerns can apply to large items, like an airplane.
According to The Oregonian a passenger on the small plane died and the pilot was critically injured in the Washington small aircraft accident. Quoting witnesses, the paper reports that the “plane possibly had engine trouble soon after takeoff.” The plane was attempting to return to Fort Vancouver’s Pearson Air Field when it crashed.
As is the case with all air crashes a careful investigation is now under way. The reports of possible engine trouble, however, are an indication that investigators should consider whether the airplane itself was defective. Airplanes, of course, are complicated machines and one must also consider the possibility that there was a maintenance issue involved, or even pilot error. None of this, however, precludes consideration of the aircraft itself.
From the perspective of a Washington or Oregon product safety lawyer, it is essential that manufacturers be held accountable for preventable errors that lead to health or safety concerns. All of us have a right to expect that a product – be it a toaster or an airplane – will function in the manner it is supposed to when it is used properly. It is in everyone’s interests that the government and our courts enforce this responsibility when manufacturers themselves fail to do so. Failing to carry out this responsibility can lead to wrongful death claims and other forms of liability when tragedy strikes.