Los Angeles Aviation and Helicopter Accident Attorneys
Representing Clients in Severe Injury and Wrongful Death Claims after Devastating Aviation Crashes
Aviation accidents are a highly specialized area of personal injury law. Because airplane and helicopter crashes are rare, very few law firms have handled these cases—and even fewer have the resources we possess at Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP, to go the extra mile to investigate and successfully pursue aviation accident cases.
The Los Angeles sky is nearly as congested as its roads. More than 63 million people fly in and out of LAX each year, not to mention the many large and small airports in Southern California and across the state. Helicopters zip across Southern California, including private business helicopters, sightseeing tours, and transportation helicopters going to and from recreational areas or accident sites and hospitals. When crashes occur, they often result in life-threatening injuries.
Major airline crashes are relatively rare. However, most airplane crashes here in California, and nationwide, involve small, privately owned planes.
Authorities also report more than 100 helicopter crashes each year in the United States, and the news in Southern California regularly reports stories about helicopter accidents in the region.
Airplane and helicopter crashes can leave passengers and operators injured, killed, or missing. The victims and their families incur overwhelming losses and expenses and deserve justice as much as those injured on major domestic or international flights.
Claims arising from aviation accidents can prove highly technical and can involve millions of dollars in losses. Not every injury law firm is prepared to successfully handle these cases.
At Greene, Broillet & Wheeler, LLP, we know we can get the results our clients deserve in the most challenging cases, including those involving aviation accidents. If you suffered catastrophic injuries or lost a loved one in a plane or helicopter crash, do not hesitate to call our office at (310) 576-1200 or send us a confidential email for a free case evaluation.
Obtaining Maximum Results in Aviation and Transportation Accident Cases
The team at Greene, Broillet & Wheeler, LLP, commits all necessary resources to fully investigate what happened and who is responsible in our aviation cases. Our goal is to prove that our clients deserve to be fully compensated for all of their harms and losses. We are widely known for building strong cases for thousands of clients and the families of people injured or killed in negligently caused accidents, including airplane crashes involving private pilots and major carriers, as well as helicopter crashes.
For example, we secured a significant (confidential) settlement for a passenger on Singapore Airline Flight SQ006 who suffered massive burn injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder when his plane crashed due to a pilot who used the wrong runway. Luckily our client survived the crash, but he suffered devastating physical and mental injuries. Our relentless approach ended once we obtained just compensation.
We have obtained billions of dollars in settlements and verdicts in claims stemming from highly complex transportation issues, including:
- $4.9 billion verdict – Clients who suffered severe burns and lost loved ones due to exploding gas tanks on GM vehicles.
- $73 million verdict – After the tread separated on a Ford E350 15-passenger van, a jury awarded victims $50 million in punitive damages due to Ford’s defective design of the vans.
- $58 million verdict – Christine Spagnoli helped obtain the largest single plaintiff’s personal injury verdict in California—which included a record $48 million in non-economic compensatory damages—for someone who suffered severe burn injuries caused by a defective O-ring.
- $36.1 million verdict – A car hit a little girl because of the dangerous location of a school bus stop, and the bus driver and company should have known about and reported the dangers.
- $32.5 million verdict – This client sustained catastrophic intestinal injuries from a motor vehicle accident.
- $25.9 million verdict – After a deadly church van rollover accident, a jury returned a verdict against Ford Motor Company and First Baptist Church for both defective design and negligent maintenance of the van.
- $22 million verdict – A wrongful MTA police pursuit led to a car hitting and crushing a woman; the accident crushed one leg and caused the partial amputation of the other.
- $17.9 million verdict – A tire defect led to a crash that paralyzed our client.
- $16 million verdict – A defective tire led to the death of our client’s family member.
- $14.4 million verdict – An asphalt company failed to properly maintain an asphalt truck, and it led to the deaths of multiple victims.
- $13.8 million verdict – Our client was paralyzed and suffered brain damage after an LACMTA bus crashed
As you can see, we represent victims suffering all types of catastrophic injuries in a wide range of complex transportation and other accident cases—and we have obtained more $1 million cases than any other law firm in California. We handle cases involving defective vehicles, negligent operators, and other dangerous conditions, as we often find at issue in aviation cases as well.
At Greene, Broillet & Wheeler, LLP, we willingly take on the toughest cases, including complicated aviation accidents. We have full confidence that our ability, experience, and resources can allow us to successfully represent clients dealing with disabling injuries or a loss in the family. Call our office to speak with a member of our team for free today.
We Can Help Clients After Any Kind of Aviation Accident
Commercial plane crashes. In many ways, commercial flights are the safest way to travel. However, the risk of an accident increases during some particularly dangerous times of a flight, specifically takeoff and landing. Data indicate that about 48 percent of plane crashes occur when a plane is descending and trying to land, while 13 percent happen during takeoff and initial ascent.
When a commercial flight crashes, the result is often a large-scale tragedy involving many victims. Many parties are involved in subsequent investigations and legal claims, including the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the commercial airline carrier, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), plane manufacturers, and more. These cases often involve complex issues of liability and multiple defendants, as well as numerous state and federal aviation regulations. Our attorneys are well-equipped to navigate these highly complex claims.
Private plane crashes. While major commercial airline crashes make the news, we may not hear about the numerous accidents that happen involving commuter planes, private jets, charter planes, and other smaller aircraft. In fact, planes that carry 30 or fewer passengers have a substantially higher rate of crashes than large commercial planes. While fewer people are involved in these accidents, the effects of a crash are no less devastating for victims and their families. Owners and pilots of these planes must comply with a different set of laws than larger airlines, and liability issues may differ than in commercial plane accident cases. Our legal team knows how to adapt our investigation and approach in each case depending on the type of aircraft involved.
Helicopter crashes. Many people make use of helicopters in Southern California, including tourists, government officials, athletes, executives, celebrities, news crews, medical teams, and more. Offshore workers may even use helicopters to commute to jobsites on a daily basis. While a convenient form of transportation, helicopters put passengers at a higher risk of accidents than plane passengers. The risk increases, in part, due to a helicopter’s susceptibility to adverse weather conditions, the many opportunities for malfunctions or maintenance problems, and a common lack of training of novice pilots to handle risky situations.
Common Causes of Airplane and Helicopter Accidents
The many potentially liable parties in any given situation make aviation claims especially complex. At any point, numerous things could go wrong that could lead to a tragic crash. Aviation accidents may take place due to any of the following causes:
Operational error. It takes a crew to safely launch and land an aircraft, as well as help it navigate the skies. Every pilot of every aircraft should have the necessary valid licenses and proper training to operate that particular aircraft. However, just like any type of transportation accident, human error often leads to catastrophic circumstances. People other than pilots can also make mistakes that lead or contribute to a crash. Some examples of operational errors include:
- Failing to fly the craft within its operational limitations
- Operating an aircraft in unsafe weather or environmental conditions
- Not properly planning or mapping out the flight
- Operating while fatigued or impaired
- Failing to follow all safety regulations regarding operation
- Improper training of operators
- Negligent hiring of possibly dangerous operators
- Improper supervision or audits of flight personnel and procedures
- Faulty operational procedures or manuals
- Inadequate inspection, maintenance, or repairs
Mechanical malfunctions. When a critical component of an aircraft malfunctions or fails, it can easily cause the plane to crash. In some cases, even the best pilot cannot successfully keep a malfunctioning plane or helicopter from crashing. Some forms of negligence that can lead to malfunctions include:
- Defective design
- Defective manufacture
- Defective installation or assembly
- Inadequate testing of a part
- Improper quality control measures
- Improper use
- Inadequate inspection or maintenance
- Inadequate cooling or lubrication
Electrical systems commonly malfunction on aircraft. When an electrical source or component stops working, many things can go wrong. Such malfunctions may take place due to inadequate testing, inspection, or maintenance, or because the manufacturer defectively designed the electrical component.
Any mishap in the air, whether operational or mechanical, can lead to tragedy. In most cases, the lives of passengers and their families are never the same again. For aviation accident victims to exercise their legal rights to full financial recovery, they need to identify the exact cause of a preventable crash.
After serious aviation accidents, the National Transportation Safety Board is the government agency responsible for conducting investigations and issuing reports on possible safety violations and causes. The NTSB will likely issue a preliminary report within 30 days and then a probable cause report months later. The NTSB investigates every plane and helicopter crash in the United States—examining air traffic control tapes, maintenance logs, pilot training logs, and more.
NTSB investigations often do not go as far as needed to identify all sources of liability in a crash. The NTSB often contends with an enormous case backlog, so its goal is to identify causes and wrap up cases as quickly as possible. It does not have the same incentive our attorneys do to investigate whether multiple causes may have led to an accident. Also, the NTSB relies heavily on the aircraft and parts manufacturers to examine their own equipment after a crash. That conflict of interest must be fully investigated to protect the victims claims from being swept under the rug.
With additional investigation, our legal team can get the full picture of what really happened to lead to the crash. Our team uses trained and experienced technical aviation experts who assist us in gathering and analyzing evidence the NTSB did not have time to recover.
At Greene Broillet & Wheeler, our California aviation accident lawyers may start with the NTSB determination, but we don’t end there. We look at every possible cause, from pilot error to air traffic control error to airplane component malfunctions. If a government report leaves questions unanswered, we begin our own investigation and bring in our own experts. The NTSB report is a starting point, not a substitute for a diligent investigation of your case.
Liability for Aviation Accidents
Airplane and helicopter accidents can cause astronomical losses for victims and their families, including:
- Current medical bills for past care
- Costs of a lifetime of medical care for permanent, disabling, or disfiguring injuries
- Lost income due to treatment and physical limitations
- Future lost earnings due to disabilities or death
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Loss of love, companionship, and guidance, and household services after a wrongful death
To seek compensation for these losses, which range into the millions of dollars, you must identify the parties you can hold liable for causing the accident. In many cases, multiple parties are involved.
Once we conduct a thorough investigation to discover all of the causes of the crash, we then look to which parties were responsible for errors that led to those causes. We couple our investigation with our skilled legal analysis to determine fault. Some defendants in aviation cases may include:
- Individual pilots
- Employer of the pilot or operator company
- The designer, manufacturer, or seller of the aircraft or certain aircraft components
- Flight instructor or flight school
- Owner of the aircraft
- Party that leased the aircraft
- Maintenance crew
- Air traffic control employee or contractor
- Control tower operator
- Publisher of the maintenance or operational manuals
- Publisher of the flight chart and approach procedural manuals
- Owner or operator of the airfield or helipad
- Weather providers to pilots and operational crews
- Owners of any dangerous cell or TV towers, building, or other obstructions or hazards to aircraft
This extensive list of possible defendants is not exhaustive. It is our job to handle every step of the aviation investigations and litigation for our clients, and we take this job seriously. We commit all necessary resources to help our clients and their families recover multimillion-dollar settlements and awards to which they are entitled.
Consult Our Knowledgeable Southern California Aviation and Helicopter Accident Attorneys Today
At the law firm of Greene, Broillet & Wheeler, LLP, our committed attorneys represent the victims and families of those hurt or killed in plane or helicopter crashes. These complex situations may bring tragic outcomes, but we work to ensure victims or their families can obtain justice and move forward with the full financial support they deserve.
To speak to Los Angeles helicopter and airplane crash attorney, please contact Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP. From offices in Santa Monica, we represent clients in the Los Angeles area, throughout Southern California, and the entire state. We also consult with attorneys and clients nationwide. Call us today at (310) 576-1200 or email us through our contact form to discuss your case.