What Role Does the NTSB Play Following Major Accidents?
If you have been injured in a major transportation accident, NTSB may play a role in your case. The National Transportation Safety Board is an independent federal agency. The agency has been tasked by Congress with the responsibility of investigating every civil aviation accident in the county and significant accidents in other modes of transportation.
These modes include railroad, marine, pipeline, and highway. If you were involved in a serious multi-vehicle truck accident, for example, the NTSB may investigate to determine the probable cause of the accident. After its investigation, the agency would issue safety regulations designed to help prevent future accidents.
How Does NTSB Choose When to Investigate an Accident?
NTSB investigates all U.S. airline accidents. For other modes of transportation, after the agency is notified of an accident, it decides whether or not to launch an investigation. NTSB investigates major accidents in modes of transportation other than aviation.
What Is NTSB’s Investigative Process?
Although the details depend on the type of accident being investigated, NTSB investigations all go through the same general process after the agency is notified of a major transportation accident:
- The decision to launch an investigation
- Fact gathering at the scene of the accident and elsewhere
- Analysis of the findings of the investigation, including the determination of the probable cause
- Adoption of the final report and preparation for release to the public
- Issuance of safety recommendations to help prevent future accidents
What Happens During the Investigation?
When NTSB decides to launch an investigation, it immediately sends out a team of investigators with specialized training to the scene of the accident. Each member of the team carries the tools of their trade, which may include special wrenches, screwdrivers, and devices. Every team member has tape recorders, cameras, flashlights, and other equipment. They gather data and collect evidence for every factor involved in the crash, take pictures and videos, interview survivors and witnesses, and gather footage from surveillance cameras and cell phones of witnesses. The agency uses resources and tools such as data recorders, forensic analysis, and expert witnesses to conduct a thorough investigation.
What Is the Effect of NTSB Findings and Recommendations?
Analyzing and reconstructing a crash is a painstaking process that involves many man hours and many experts. It may take months or years to complete. The final result is a decision as to the probable cause of the accident, whether it was due to human or mechanical error or other factors. Data gained from crash investigations and safety studies is published in the form of NTSB Safety Recommendations and sent to the appropriate organizations. These recommendations can have a significant impact on industry practices and help prevent future accidents.
How Can NTSB Findings and Recommendations Affect Your Personal Injury Claim?
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a major traffic crash caused by someone else’s negligence, you may have a claim for compensation for your losses. An NTSB investigation and determination of probable cause can help your Dallas personal injury attorney establish fault and liability for the accident. You may be entitled to seek damages for a serious injury that may include past and future medical expenses, lost earnings, loss of future earning capacity, pain and suffering, and other damages. After the loss of a loved one, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim. Our Dallas and Fort Worth severe injury and wrongful death attorneys can advise you of your options under the law.
Contact The Lenahan Law Firm at (214) 295-1008 for the legal help you need after a major transportation accident. Our founding attorney has been awarded lifetime membership in the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum.