How do I get to the site of an aviation crash?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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If you have a family member involved in an aviation crash, you may want to reach the area where the crash took place in order to deal with any possible aftermath. This might include visiting your loved one in the hospital if he or she was lucky enough to have survived the crash. If your family member did not survive, you may still be required to go to the location of the crash to identify him or her, collect belongings, deal with any unfolding legal situation, or simply gather information for personal reasons. Fortunately, the law recognizes your need to get to the site of the aviation crash and has provided a means for you to do so. 

How can I get to the site of the aviation crash?

If you need to get to the site of an aviation crash that involved a family member or relative, the airline is required to help you under the Aviation Disaster Family Assistance Act of 1996. This act was put in place by the US Department of Transportation and applies to all US airlines. The act requires the airline to help you get to the site of the crash. The airline also holds responsibility for your physical care while you’re there, which might include hotel lodgings, travel costs, vehicle rentals, or other requirements.

You should contact the airline as soon as possible after the crash to make the appropriate arrangements. If you have questions or if you believe that the airline is not responding properly to your needs, contact the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The NTSB is a federal organization designed to regulate airlines and aviation issues in the United States, as well as assist victims in such situations should the airline’s help not be satisfactory. You can also contact a lawyer for advice on how to proceed after the crash.

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