Los Angeles Aviation accident Lawyers
Aviation accidents happen more frequently than many people realize. Although it is front-page news when a commercial flight with hundreds of passengers crashes, such incidents are only a small percentage of the aviation accidents that occur every year. Crashes of small privately owned planes, helicopters, corporate jets, crop-dusters, military aircraft and air ambulances may receive little or no attention from the national media. Regardless of the publicity surrounding an aviation accident — or the lack thereof — the fact remains that lives can be changed in a matter of seconds, either through personal injury or the death of a loved one.
It is also important to remember that an aircraft need not crash for passengers and crewmembers to be injured. Injuries can range from cracked ribs, broken ankles and mild concussions to spinal cord injuries, broken vertebrae and traumatic brain injuries. In recent years, many commercial airliners have encountered turbulence that was severe enough to cause serious injuries when people were tossed into the plane’s ceiling or struck by objects, such as beverage carts or items falling from overhead bins.
• In December 2014, an American Airlines flight en route to Dallas from South Korea landed in Japan after encountering severe turbulence. Five people were to a hospital in Japan, while an undisclosed number of injured passengers received treatment at the scene.
• Two months earlier, 14 crew members and eight passengers aboard an SIA flight to Mumbai, India, were injured when the super-jumbo jet encountered turbulence. (The same airline reported that 12 passengers were injured when a flight bound for London encountered turbulence in May of 2013.)
• One passenger and four members of the crew were injured in February 2014 when a United Airlines flight between Denver, Colorado, and Billings, Montana, encountered turbulence.
Another type of aviation accident that has become increasingly common in recent years involves helicopters used to transport critically injured patients to a hospital. Commonly referred to as medevac copters or air ambulances, these flights normally transport one patient and have a crew of three — the pilot, a nurse and a paramedic. Crashes can occur while en route to pick up a patient, while landing with a patient aboard or at any point in between. For example:
• In 2008, two medevac helicopters collided in the air over an Arizona hospital. Six people were killed, including the two patients (one aboard each helicopter) that were being transported.
• A medical helicopter en route to pick up a patient crashed into a field near Oklahoma City in July 2010, killing two crew members and injuring the third.
• In August 2011, a medevac crash near Mosby, Missouri, resulted in the deaths of all three members of the crew as well as the patient being transported.
• A medevac flight crashed in June 2013 in Talihina, Oklahoma, killing the patient and all crew members.
Medical flights have also crashed in several other states, including New York, Iowa and Tennessee. However, news about such crashes is seldom reported in the national media and is typically limited to local coverage in the immediate vicinity of the crash.
In contrast, when a commercial airliner crashes, is shot down or goes missing, the incident receives global attention. These crashes typically claim more than 200 lives with no survivors left to serve as eyewitnesses. In 2014 alone, there were seven separate incidents involving commercial passenger flights.
• In December, an AirAsia flight with a total of 162 people aboard disappeared en route to Singapore after departing from Surabaya, Indonesia, presumably crashing into the Java Sea and killing all on board.
• On August 10, 39 people died when a flight crashed shortly after taking off from an airport in Iran.
• An Air Algerie flight crashed July 24, killing all 118 people on board.
• The day before the Air Algerie crash, a TransAsia Airways crash resulted in 48 deaths.
• On July 17, 298 people died when a Malaysia Airlines flight was shot down over Ukraine.
• Another Malaysia Airlines flight disappeared from radar in March, presumably crashing in the Gulf of Thailand and killing all 239 people on board.
• In February, the crash of a Nepal Airlines flight near Khidim resulted in the deaths of 18 people — everyone on board.
Aviation accidents can be caused by any one of several factors as well as a combination of factors. The most common causes of incidents involving aircraft, in no particular order, are:
• Human error: Typically, if human error is involved, it is the pilot who makes the mistake. However, air traffic controllers, navigators, co-pilots and mechanics are also humans, and an error by any of these people has the potential to be catastrophic.
• Mechanical failure: Engineers have yet to invent a machine that can never break. Aircraft contain a great many parts and systems that can cause or contribute to a crash if failure occurs. In the event of a mechanical failure, it is necessary to determine whether improper maintenance or faulty design contributed to the failure.
• Hostile actions: One of the most famous incidents involving a hostile act was the planting of a bomb on the Pan Am flight between London and New York in 1988. Everyone on board — 257 people — died as well as 11 residents of Lockerbie, Scotland.
• Weather: With today’s technology, weather is seldom the sole cause of a crash involving a commercial airliner, but in-flight icing can still cause or contribute to an accident. However, for smaller aircraft, such as single-engine planes and helicopters, sudden changes in the weather can be a major problem.
Determining liability for an aviation accident is complicated. Perhaps the pilot made an error, but perhaps the mechanic who last serviced the aircraft overlooked a critical step. Perhaps the aircraft was improperly designed or assembled by the manufacturer. Perhaps the air traffic controller issued incorrect instructions to the pilot.
People who lose a loved one, suffer property damage or incur a personal injury as the result of an aviation accident deserve compensation. Determining the responsible party or parties can often require a great deal of investigation.
The Lawscape Team is prepared to handle all of the legal aspects of your aviation accident case. We have the technological resources and capabilities to investigate maintenance records, personnel, the accident scene and other critical elements. The team also includes Paul Duda, who is a licensed pilot as well as a board-certified personal injury attorney.
We never charge for initial consultations, we advance the costs of litigation and we do not get paid until you do. We represent clients who are sole litigants as well as advise clients involved in class-action suits. Contact us today so that we can take action on your behalf.