The aftermath of an airplane accident is especially difficult for survivors and families of victims as they deal not only with personal arrangements but the overwhelming considerations of legal actions against those at fault. While we can’t take away the tragedy and resulting pain, anger and hurt, we work with our clients to give them the power, information and means to take control during an otherwise bewildering time.
Aviation crashes, whether they involve large commercial airlines or small personal planes, are multifaceted and involve any number of detailed technical aspects. Our aviation team includes a former U.S. Department of Transportation Inspector General, a former U.S. Air Force navigator, an expert in aviation maintenance, a former professor of aviation, a former flight attendant and translators, among others. Proving causation is a complex challenge that Motley Rice approaches with confidence.
Our Experience in Private and On-Demand Aircraft Crash Cases
Our team of attorneys has the legal knowledge and experience, technical support, and financial resources to litigate against the legal teams of multi-billion-dollar defendants. We have represented crash victims and their families in numerous cases, including airplanes such as:
- Beech A36, general aviation
- Cessna 421B, general aviation
- Cessna 401B, general aviation
- Chalk's Ocean Airways d/b/a Flying Boat Inc. Flight 101
- Cirrus 22, general aviation
- Colgan Air Inc., d/b/a US Airways Express Flight 9446
- Continental Connection/Colgan Air Flight 3407
- De Havilland DHC3 Otter, Rediske Air
- Embraer EMB-500/Phenom 100
- Gulfstream IV
- Hudson River Mid-Air Collision
- Jet Logistics, Inc./Beech 58
- MH-60M Blackhawk Helicopter
- Mid-air collision F-16 and Cessna 150C
- Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
- Mooney M20R, general aviation
- Pinnacle Airlines d/b/a Northwest Airlink Flight 3701
- Piper PA-23-250, general aviation
- Piper PA-28-161
- Piper PA-32, general aviation
- St. Catharine’s Flying Club, Ontario Canada
- University of Michigan Health System, medical flight crash
- Websta's Aviation Services/Rockwell International Turbo Commander 690B
General Aviation: Personal and Small Aircraft Cases
All flights except scheduled commercial flights and military operations are categorized as general aviation. General aviation aircraft can range from small, single-engine aircraft to long-range business jets. Operations include corporate and recreational aviation, agricultural flights, traffic surveillance and news reporting, medical and emergency evacuations, firefighting and sport flying, among others.
Federal law does not have a standard of passenger care by which general aviators must abide. General aviation crashes typically result from causes such as:
- air traffic control errors
- defective products or parts
- faulty aircraft design
- inadequate maintenance
- pilot negligence or error
One or several of these factors can contribute to a crash, and while our aviation team thoroughly reviews any investigations conducted by agencies such as the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) or the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) following a crash, we also conduct our own extensive research into the incident.
On-Demand Aviation Cases
On-demand aviation offers individual travel benefits such as increased safety, security and flexibility in scheduling and destinations, and the use of general aviation planes and commuter aircraft opens up air spaces typically off limits to larger commercial airlines. With the introduction of the Very Light Jet (VLJ) market, on-demand flights are able to provide even more affordable options to travelers.
Where complications often arise with on-demand aircraft is with the burden of ownership following a crash. Air taxi systems and fractional ownership often allow individuals and businesses to purchase set numbers of flight hours each year, sharing in the cost of the aircraft’s maintenance and operations. At the same time, maintenance personnel, flight crew and flight booking may all be done by employees of different companies. Should that aircraft suffer an accident, questions arise concerning the accountability and/or liability of each involved entity, as well as those responsible for the entire operation’s oversight. Complicated contracts between parties can add to this confusion, making it difficult to pinpoint the responsible party or parties.
The Motley Rice aviation team is experienced in this type of complex litigation and can help ease the burden on victims and work to hold the appropriate parties responsible.
If you or someone you know is interested in filing a lawsuit due to wrongful death or personal injury as a result of a plane crash, contact Motley Rice aviation attorney and former U.S. Department of Transportation Inspector General Mary Schiavo by email or call 1.800.868.6456.