Incoming plane severs hand of North Carolina airport worker

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North Carolina businesses are expected to maintain properties that are reasonably free of danger or risks to people who visit or work on them. Raleigh companies carry workers' compensation and premises liability insurance in the event an accident causes an employee or visitor's injury or death. Injured parties have the right to file claims to collect compensation – benefits, insurance proceeds or damages -- from negligent property owners.

An accident at Taylorsville Airport badly injured a man working at the facility. The victim was mowing the grass on the landing field, when he was struck by the wing of an incoming private plane. The 84-year-old pilot of the Citabria 7ECA was not hurt.

Reports said the single-engine aircraft had touched down and was approaching the end of the landing strip, when the plane's wing and supporting struts hit the victim. The collision severed the mower's hand and caused the plane to flip onto its roof. Emergency crews airlifted the injured field worker to a Winston-Salem hospital, where a relative said the 74-year-old man was in critical condition.

Taylorsville Airport caters only to small planes and employs no air traffic controllers. A New York Daily News report stated the airport worker probably did not see or hear the plane – the mower and the plane were headed in the same direction. A state trooper said it also was likely the experienced pilot didn't spot the mower until a crash was unavoidable.

Investigations are underway by the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board. The owners of the small airport have made no public comments about the accident.

In a liability claim, a North Carolina jury considers whether a business owner took adequate measures to safeguard employees and visitors. A landowner is negligent when safety precautions fail to meet the standard of protection a reasonable person or business, in the same situation, would take.

Source: Hickory Daily Record, " Man on mower struck by plane in Taylorsville" Alex Frick, Apr. 27, 2014