Aviation Accident Responsibilities
What are my responsibilities if I have an aircraft accident?
After an accident in the confusion of the situation, it is hard to wrap one’s mind around what steps they need to take next. This is true for automobiles, homes, business and yes aircraft as well. The goal of this article is to help layout the steps necessary for you to take in the event you have been in an accident with your airplane, a natural disaster has claimed your aircraft as a casualty or some other type of claim needs to be made to help ensure your aviation insurance covers you to the full extent of your insurance policy.
1. First, make sure you and all other parties are safe and out of the way from further risk of harm. You and your loved ones cannot be replaced by any insurance policy, so personal safety is the first highest concern.
2. Cooperate with the insurance company with any of their requests. No one likely knows about the situation better than you, and as such, it is in your best interest to fully cooperate to ensure the best outcome. Assist your insurance agent and aviation underwriters when requested in making settlements and in enforcing any of their rights of recovery or indemnity against any person or organization who may be liable to you with respect to the insurance afforded in your aviation policy.
3. Do not accept or admit fault, volunteer to make any payments, assume any obligation or incur any expenses other than first aid to others at the time of the accident. Even if you feel you are at fault, this is not a determination to be made by you. Situations are complex and often times, especially in the heat of a bad situation, we are naturally empathetic to other parties and often take the blame even if the situation was not of our own making. In today’s world of ambulance chasing lawyers assume the finger will be pointed at you and do not aide another party’s case by also pointing the finger at yourself. Also, do not assume such an admission is not being recorded. In today’s world where everyone has a mobile phone, and every phone has a camera, your sympathy can be turned against you.
4. Ensure the insurance company views the damage to your aircraft before repair or disposition. In fact, it is good to take pictures yourself as soon as possible, without compromising you or other’s safety, to help document damage. This will help to ensure there will not be a denial of coverage.
5. Give the insurance company a proof of loss statement within 60 days of the loss. Where applicable, include photos to help establish your claim.
6. Make all needed records available to the adjuster proving the amount of the loss, pilot qualifications, etc. Documentation can seem like a burden but remember this is your case, and the better you document things, the better your chances are at a fair recovery.
7. Protect the aircraft from any further loss or damage. In doing so, be cautious not to put yourself or others in harm’s way.
8. Do all things necessary to transfer title to any salvage, including your aircraft if it is a total loss to the aviation insurance company. This will help expedite the recovery process.
9. In the event of theft or robbery, you must promptly notify the police. This should be done as quickly after you take an inventory of loss as possible. Be sure to be thorough in your loss assessment and reporting as you likely will not be given a second chance to add such claims to the initial police report.
To speak with someone who can help with insurance coverage for your airplane, helicopter, commercial drone, or other aviation asset feel free to contact us. Our qualified agents can help you shop the best rate while at the same time, making sure you get the best coverage possible for your insurance needs.You can reach us through our contact form here or by phone toll free at: (800) 999-1109.