Helicopter Crash Litigation: What to Expect
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
One of the most important jobs for an airplane accident lawyer is to be prepared for the recent uptick in helicopter accidents. So far this year there have been 15 accident cases through June of 2019 in the United States, and as a result, 27 people have been killed. According to the U.S. Helicopter Safety Team (USHST), this could be the worst record in years.
In some cases, like the helicopter accident in New York City in Manhattan in June 2019, the visibility was so poor that the pilot could not see the tops of the buildings which caused him to miss the landing pad, crash, and lose his life. Although this crash was due to bad weather, it was also due to the pilot’s lack of training to fly in bad weather.
The National Safety Board has yet to rule on the causes of these latest crashes, but in most cases, there could be accident litigation, and the pattern of litigation usually involves a common approach by airplane accident lawyers.
Factors to Consider in Litigation
There can be several factors that could cause accidents involving a helicopter crash, and all of these have to be considered. One of the most common and one that most product liability lawyers look at is the possibility of pilot error during an aviation disaster. If pilot error can be substantiated, then it will be hard to make a case for a second factor which is poor aircraft design and a manufacturing defect. Although both can be present in an accident, pilot error is usually what the manufacture tries to establish so they can avoid paying claims.
Other factors might be maintenance failure, helicopter pad negligence, air traffic control, obstructions, crew members, and poor weather conditions. All these factors can and do lead to helicopter failure.
What are the Steps to Prepare a Case?
An airplane accident attorney, when preparing a case to address a claim in a helicopter crash, attempts to find out what happened and why it happened. This is very important in a helicopter crash case because of the size of the aircraft, and the limited number of people directly involved can affect how the case might go under aviation law.
The first thing that has to be established is a team of experts who are familiar with the type of helicopter in the crash, and the systems that control the helicopter. There are a lot of different types of helicopters made by several companies, and because of the large market for these aircraft, companies are designing and producing these aircraft at a high rate. There is always the possibility for design error, and sometimes the smallest technical problem can lead to a tragedy.
Once the team is in place, it is the airplane accident attorney’s responsibility to dig deeply into the facts surrounding the case. This search usually involves taking oral and written depositions from all parties connected to the design and manufacture of the aircraft, the passengers, the pilot, and the maintenance history. Here is where the work begins, and here is where the attorneys get below the surface to uncover the real causes.
In many ways, the airplane accident attorney, as well as the product liability attorney, becomes an expert in the events of the helicopter flight that may have led to the accident.
Once the evidence has been collected, and the case has been prepared, the litigation involves presenting the findings to a jury. In Michigan, as in all states, the jury procedure is very clear, but it is always good to consult with an airplane accident attorney to understand the court procedures that will take place.
A helicopter crash can take only seconds, but the investigation can take much longer. The law offices of Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. at Cochranlaw.com 866-MICH-LAW are prepared to help you through any litigation that could involve a helicopter crash. We can offer our experienced legal advice and our respect for attorney client relationship to help you through your case. Contact our law firm for a free consultation with our aviation accident lawyers. We never charge a fee unless a recovery is made.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.