Plane Crash Death Nets $10.5 M Verdict

Plane Crash Death Nets $10.5 M Verdict

A jury has awarded the widow and estate of a man who was killed in fiery plane crash about $10.5 million in a lawsuit against the airport and event sponsors.

The jury found that the 1999 death of Belvue’s Donald Allen Corbitt was a result of the airport’s lack of fire protection at the Arlington Fly-In event.

The Lawsuit’s Account of the Incident

According to the lawsuit, Corbitt was injured in the crash of his RV-6A plane, but survived the initial impact. However, he was pinned inside the plane when it burst into flames, said Frank Smith, the lawyer representing Corbitt’s widow and estate.

“Bystanders assisted Mr. Corbitt by keeping flames at bay with fire extinguishers while trying to extricate him from the wreckage,” said Smith. “All waited for emergency response services, which finally arrived.”

Smith said that fire crews did not show up at the scene of the crash until six minutes had passed. By this time the fire-extinguishing agent in the bystanders’ handheld fire extinguishers had run out.

Corbitt died in the fire before the firefighters could put out the flames. “He died a horrible death,” said Smith.

The Lawsuit

The lawsuit names as defendants the Northwest Experimental Aircraft Association, the Experimental Aircraft Association, and sponsors of the air show.

The city of Arlington was also to be sued, but the fire department and city were dismissed from the suit two years ago.

The lawsuit claimed the show sponsors did not provide enough fire protection and emergency response crews for the event. They relied on the City Fire Department instead.

The jury awarded Corbitt’s estate and widow $10.5 million, but they will only receive about $9.8 million because the jury found the City of Arlington 15% responsible and the city had already been dismissed from the suit two years ago.

Hurt in a plane crash? If you or a loved one has been killed or seriously injured in an aviation accident, you may be able to recover compensation through a lawsuit. Please contact us today for a free consultation with an expert aviation attorney.

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