If you've needed to learn almost anything about aviation law, one of the first things that may impress you is just how many problems it covers. On a given day, an aviation attorney might be discussing anything from commercial law to personal injury issues. Let's look at why aviation law extends into so many domains and what some of the most likely ways you'll encounter it are.
Federal Preemption of State Authority
The simplest reason aviation law crosses into so many different areas is that U.S. states have close to no authority to counter federal law when it comes to aircraft. If it's a vehicle in the air or something happening in one, it almost certainly involves federal law. Even when international treaties come into play, federal law is what makes those treaties apply to you and any aviation activities you might undertake.
Aircraft frequently fly across several jurisdictions when they're in transit. Consequently, this would make it hard to nail down which locality would have jurisdiction over a case. Fortunately, that problem is solved by placing everything under federal authority.
An advantage of this is that an aviation lawyer knows where to go for relief if they're concerned about something that happened in the air. If a passenger was injured by the actions of a crew member on a commercial flight, for example, an aviation attorney will pursue the matter in federal courts. The net effect is greater simplicity over a topic that would otherwise be bonkers to handle.
Common Legal Issues
Understandably, the maintenance, licensing, and control of aircraft are aviation law issues. Likewise, the licensing and accreditation of pilots and crew members fall under aviation law.
Injury and accident cases involving aircraft are aviation law matters, too. This includes incidents involving aircraft on the ground, even if they never took off. If you've seen the aftermath of a U.S. air crash on the news, you might have noted that local law enforcement spokespeople often tell reporters that their job is to secure the scene until federal officers arrive.
Many forms of airborne trade are also covered in this field. Notably, this only applies when cargo is in transit. Once something is off the aircraft, it becomes a customs or interstate commercial law issue. However, a claim involving goods damaged in flight would be an aviation case. Although you'd likely just deal with the shipper or their insurer, any questions about liability would require the advice of an aviation attorney.
To learn more, contact an aviation attorney.
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