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NASCAR team owner Jack Rousch and friend, Brenda Strickland were injured during a crash landing Tuesday evening at Wittman Airfield in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Rousch, who was piloting his Hawker Beechcraft Jet, has been flying private airplanes for years and was in Wisconsin attending the Experimental Aircraft Association's Annual AirVenture.
Both Jack Rousch and Brenda Strickland, "exited the aircraft following the accident," according to Fenway Racing President Geoff Smith. "Both were transported to local hospitals, with Roush in serious but stable condition and Strickland with non-life threatening injuries." No stranger to crashes both on and off the track, Rousch survived a nearly fatal plane crash in 2002, when his plane crashed into a pond in Alabama, reports ABC News.
Personal injuries for aviation accidents are far less common that automobile accidents, but are nevertheless on the rise as the number of private pilots and smaller planes have increased in recent times. There are varying legal standards depending on whether a commercial or private aircraft is involved in an accident, and there are also different requirements for obtaining a commercial and private license. Commercial aircrafts are held to a common carrier standard, which is a much higher duty than what is required for private aircrafts.
Determining liability for the personal injuries sustained in an airplane crash, like other accidents, depends on the causes and circumstances of the incident. In the case of Rousch, officials are still investigating the cause of the crash. Should Jack Rousch be at fault, his negligence would make him liable not only for the personal injuries of his passenger, but also for any property damage the crash may have caused in its unsuccessful landing.
There is a fine line between an accident and negligence. Rousch appears to be, however, one of the few people that are safer on a NASCAR race track than in the sky!