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Helicopter / Airplane Crashes

Our helicopter and airplane crash lawyers help people who are severely injured in crashes as well as families who lost loved ones in accidents. Our aviation attorneys handle civilian aircraft cases as well as commercial airliner accidents.

Aviation crashes usually happen because of one or more of the following factors:

  • Pilot Error;
  • Structural failure;
  • Mechanical failure;
  • Flight tower / aircraft control tower error; and
  • Intentional Sabotage / Terror.

In the event of structural failure, aircraft manufacturers as well manufacturers of the failed component part maybe sued for product liability. After a crash, it is imperative the wreckage is properly secured, inspected and preserved. Failure to properly do this can lead to the destruction of evidence and can destroy an otherwise good case. Since all aviation accidents are within the FAA’s jurisdiction, typically they are first on the scene and do a very good job of securing the scene. However, the FAA will not retain evidence for use at a possible civil trial. Your lawyer must ensure the officials retain all parts.

In the event of mechanical failure, the focus of inquiry will be multifaceted. First, our attorneys will obtain the aircraft’s maintenance logs and ensure all manufacturer recommended services were performed. Second, we will investigate the quality of the maintenance performed and the and the quality of the maintenance performed. Third, we will investigate the quality of the failed mechanical device to determine if it was manufactured in accordance with industry standards. Sometimes, manufacturers and/or maintenance companies will use low quality fasteners in violation of the Fastener Quality Act and TSO-C148, bearings in violation of TSO-C148 and seals in violation of TSO-C150. Our lawyers will determine if a Certificate of Conformity was provided with the defective part and determine who made the decision to purchase and install it.

Rate of Airplane and Helicopter Crashes

Missouri plane crashes are more likely to result in a fatality than any accident on water or on the road (including bad truck crashes that result in death). Planes move at such incredible speeds and high altitudes that it’s easy to see why crashes can be so deadly if things go wrong.

The national media tends to focus only on the handful of massive airline disasters that occur every few years, but if you look at the statistics for all aircraft, including small planes, private planes and helicopters, you realize how common aviation accidents really are.

According to a NTSB report, in 2006, there were over 1,500 accidents nationwide that resulted in nearly 700 fatalities. Approximately 80 percent of all plane crashes occur just after takeoff or just before landing largely due to human error or mechanical failure. In fact, pilot error accounts for nearly 45 percent of all plane crashes.

Local Aircraft Accidents

Missouri claims a large portion of those accidents because of our rather large aviation industry. We have approximately 500 aviation facilities in this state including airports, heliports, and seaplane bases. More than 11,000 pilots are registered in Missouri.

Because of the sheer number of aircraft, and the dangers inherent in flying, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was formed to regulate the industry and conduct crash investigations. FAA guidelines exist to protect passengers and crew from the worst airline disasters.

Unfortunately, these guidelines are not always followed. Pilots are subject to strict guidelines related to their licensing and sometimes go around these rules. Cargo guidelines may be ignored in an attempt to make larger shipments and mechanics may not perform the proper inspections.

The results of recent study conducted by the FAA designed to test plane mechanics’ knowledge of the aircraft they work on showed an 87 percent pass rate. That means 13 percent of mechanics failed a standard test of airplane maintenance. Perhaps it is not a coincidence that 13 percent of all plane crashes are caused by mechanical failure, according to the NTSB.

Personal injury lawsuits have revealed numerous cases of negligence caused accidents. Investigators have found mechanical failures that should have been corrected as well as improperly maintained flight logs and equipment. Data recorders and voice recorders have also revealed to aviation lawyers many instances of pilot negligence.

Recoverable Damages in An Airplane Crash

If you were hurt in an airplane or helicopter crash, the jurisdiction where your incident occurred will determine what damages you may recover. In a crash, often there will be a choice of jurisdictions, especially if the flight originated in one state and the crash occurs in another. A thorough analysis of the jurisdictional options is important before you file an aviation lawsuit. Since most states base personal injury damages on common law, typically you may recover for your past and future medical bills, past and future lost wages, pain and suffering. In wrongful death cases, since the cause of action is statutory as opposed to a common law claim, each state’s wrongful death statute will apply.

At The Bradley Law Firm, we hold pilots, airlines, maintenance companies, brokers, and manufacturers accountable if their negligence causes a serious accident. Because of the unique laws and regulations that govern the aviation industry, hiring an attorney that specializes in aviation matters is essential.

Legal Expertise Regarding Aircraft Accidents

Our airplane crash lawyers have handled personal injury and wrongful death cases for decades. If you or a loved one has been involved in an airplane or helicopter accident, contact us for a free consultation. One of our experienced attorneys will meet with you in person and will advise you on how best to handle your case.