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Houston Aviation Accidents Lawyers

Airplane and helicopter crashes are considerably more dangerous and are often more devastating than other vehicle accidents. In the event of an airplane or helicopter crash, pilots and passengers are at a high risk of serious injuries or death.

If you or someone you love has been involved in an airplane or helicopter accident caused by the reckless or negligent actions of another party, you may be able to take legal action. The experienced Houston aviation lawyers of Williams Hart understand what you are going through and are prepared to help explain your legal options. Contact our offices at (866) 471-2146 to speak to a compassionate attorney today.

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Why do I need a Lawyer?

An aviation accident case can be much more complicated compared to other personal injury claims and often requires a high-level understanding of aviation as well as the law. When you are overwhelmed by injuries, unexpected expenses, or the loss of a loved one, the last thing on your mind should be learning how to handle a legal proceeding in an unfamiliar industry. An experienced aviation lawyer

Aviation law is a unique combination of federal laws that govern the conduct of the airlines as well as tort law, which is what allows citizens to recover from injuries just like yours. To have the best chances for success with your aviation accident claim, you need to get the help of an attorney who has direct experience in these areas. Williams Hart has a team of aviation attorneys in our Houston office who have successfully won many aviation accident cases for our clients. We know the law, and we can help you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries and other damages.

In addition to dealing with the particular set of laws that apply to aviation accident cases, these claims may also require a fair amount of investigation and expert testimony. Independent investigations and expert testimony can give your case the comprehensive support you need to prevail. If you try to do this on your own, you would need to find the proper investigators, find reliable expert witnesses, and fund these expensive endeavors out of your pocket.

When you work with an aviation attorney at Williams Hart, we take care of these details for you. We have an expansive network of qualified individuals who can complete additional investigations into cases, as well as working relationships with qualified aviation experts. We also cover the upfront costs of using these resources, and you pay nothing unless we win your claim. This way, you get to choose from the best team to provide information about your case.

Why Choose Williams Hart?

When you choose Williams Hart, you will be represented by a team of compassionate attorneys who have dedicated our lifelong practice of the law to helping accident victims get relief from their injuries. You are entitled to just compensation for the injuries you have received, and our experienced aviation attorneys are ready to work with you as we fight for your rights.

At Williams Hart, we do everything in our power to go above and beyond your expectations. We have decades of experience in providing support to injured clients and their families, with an excellent success rate. We take on cases of all sizes and fight with the same aggression for individual clients as we do for our largest corporate clients.

When you choose Williams Hart, you will join thousands of satisfied clients who we have helped seek justice. Our success rate with settlements and at trial is why we are included in the best legal reviews, including The World’s Premier Guide Best Lawyers, Super Lawyers, and Avvo. We are also highly ranked by other lawyers in Martindale-Hubbell’s Peer Review Rated listing for Ethical Standards and Legal Ability. When other attorneys show their trust of our firm, you know that you can trust us with your claim, too.

Causes of Helicopter and Airplane Accidents

Victims of airplane and helicopter crashes may experience severe physical injuries as well as emotional and psychological damage. If your loved one did not survive the accident, you might be able to pursue a wrongful death claim against the person or party accountable for the loss of support, companionship, and financial costs. Some of the most common causes of plane and helicopter crashes include:

  • Air Traffic Controller Error
  • Negligence by the Airline
  • Airplane or Helicopter Pilot Error
  • Pilot Intoxication
  • Helicopter or Airplane Defects and Malfunction
  • Runway Problems

Cases involving airplane and helicopter crashes are complex and require the experience of a trusted attorney to hold the negligent party responsible for the pain they have inflicted upon you and your family.

One of the essential aspects of your claim will be identifying the at-fault party. Aviation accidents are complex, and there are many possible liable parties, including:

  • Pilots
  • Flight attendants
  • Air traffic control staff
  • The airline
  • The manufacturer of the plane or helicopter
  • The owner of the plane or helicopter

Multiple parties may be considered at-fault in your claim. A lawyer from Williams Hart will be able to investigate your case to identify all the possible liable parties and hold them accountable.

Cases We Handle

At Williams Hart, we can help injury victims from any type of aviation accident get the compensation you deserve. We regularly handle cases involving:

  • Helicopter Accidents: Helicopter accidents are especially frequent in Texas, as helicopters are commonly used in many areas of the oil and gas industry. Mechanical failures and pilot error are the most recurring causes of helicopter accidents.
  • Light Aircraft Accidents: Recreational aviation is on the rise throughout the United States, and accidents are increasing in frequency. Due to lower airspeed, survival rates of light aircraft accidents are much higher, but mechanical defects in overused recreational aircraft are often to blame for the accidents that do occur.
  • Corporate Aircraft Accidents: If you have sustained injuries onboard a corporate aircraft due to a misplaced jetway, faulty stairs or any other situation, we can help you with your claim so that you receive compensation for your injuries.
  • Commercial Aircraft Accidents: Whether you were injured in a crash, a loss of cabin pressure, or another type of incident that caused injuries, we can help.
  • Injuries at the Airport: Injuries at the airport are all too common, from mishandled baggage carts to slip and falls on the slick airport floors and more.

Through a personal injury claim, you may be able to recover compensation for your medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, rehabilitation costs, disability, and disfigurement, pain and suffering, and more. The exact amount of compensation you can receive will vary depending on the details of your accident.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Aviation Accidents

Being hurt or losing a loved one in an aviation accident likely means that you have many questions about your rights to fair compensation for the harm you’ve suffered. We have answers, so call us at (713) 352-7071 to discuss the specifics of your case, and read a few answers to some frequently asked questions below.

What kinds of compensation could I be entitled to?

The compensation you could collect will depend on numerous factors, including the nature of your injuries, the cause of the injuries, and the liable parties involved. Many aviation accident cases are ultimately resolved through settlements that are intended to provide for all of the damages a person is facing or will face because of their injuries, but lawsuits may need to be filed when an insurance company does not make an acceptable settlement offer. When a victim can prove their case in court by a preponderance of the evidence, they could be awarded compensatory damages that often include both economic damages and noneconomic damages.

Economic damages are the tangible costs to a victim that can be calculated and proven, such as:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Property damage
  • Home modifications
  • Medical devices
  • Funeral expenses and burial costs (if the victim doesn’t survive)
  • Loss of financial earnings and support

Noneconomic damages could also be awarded for other psychological or emotional harm that cannot be quantified, like:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium
  • Disfigurement
  • Post-traumatic stress

Settlements are far more common because insurance companies are determined to avoid the costs involved in taking a case to trial. For this reason, many settlements are agreed to right as trials are set to begin.

What roles do the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) play following an aviation accident?

The NTSB and FAA are both federal agencies, but the NTSB is not affiliated with the FAA. The NTSB conducts independent investigations into all civil aviation accidents in the United States. The NTSB “Go Team” commences an investigation of a significant accident at the scene and assembles the technical expertise needed to solve complex transportation safety problems.

The Go Team’s immediate boss is the Investigator-in-Charge (IIC), but every investigator is responsible for operations relating to the history of the accident flight and crewmembers’ duties, documentation of airplane wreckage and accident scenes including calculation of a flight’s pre-impact course and latitude, examination of engines and engine accessories, studying components of a plane’s hydraulic, electrical, pneumatic and associated systems, air traffic services reconstruction, weather data, study of human performance, and documentation of impact forces and injuries, evacuation, community emergency planning and all crash-fire-rescue efforts.

Title 49 U.S.C. §40113 gives the FAA Administrator the authority to conduct investigations concerning aviation safety, and Title 51 U.S.C §50917 provides the FAA with authority to investigate commercial space launch mishaps. The FAA conducts studies to determine involvement in any one of the nine FAA areas of responsibility, which include:

  • The performance of FAA facilities or functions
  • Performance of non-FAA owned and operated air traffic control (ATC) facilities or navigational aids
  • Airworthiness of FAA-certificated aircraft
  • Competency of FAA-certificated airmen, air agencies, commercial operators, or air carriers
  • Adequacy of Federal Aviation Regulations
  • Airport certification safety standards or operations
  • Security standards or operations and/or hazardous materials
  • Airman medical qualifications
  • Violations of Federal Aviation Regulations

What happens if I was injured in an international aviation accident?

International flight accidents can be more complicated than most domestic flights because the site of a crash can impact where a person can file suit. When a person must file a lawsuit in another country other than the United States, their compensation may be subject to certain limitations (commonly referred to as “damage caps”).

The Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air is better known as the Montreal Convention, adopted by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a specialized agency of the United Nations. The Convention establishes a limit of 113,100 exclusive drawing rights (SDR), which is equivocal to about $170,000 in United States dollars.

International flight accidents can prevent people from filing claims in the United States, and American victims may be forced to file specific actions in foreign courts. It is critical to have an experienced attorney when attempting to recover compensation for an international aviation accident.

Aviation Accidents: How Often Do They Occur?

According to the FAA, there were 108 accidents, 17 fatal accidents, and 29 fatalities in 2016. This was fewer accidents than the 121 reported in 2015 but the same number of fatal accidents and a higher fatality total than the 28 in 2015. In 2014, there were 138 accidents, 21 fatal accidents, and 37 fatalities, while there were 146 accidents, 30 fatal accidents, and 62 fatalities in 2013.

The FAA stated that these figures translated to a 3.45 accident rate per 100,000 flight hours, a 0.54 fatal accident rate, and a 0.93 fatality rate in 2016. There was a 3.67 accident rate, 0.52 fatal accident rate, 0.85 fatality rate in 2015, a 4.26 accident rate, 0.65 fatal accident rate, 1.14 fatality rate in 2014, and a 4.95 accident rate, 1.02 fatal accident rate, 2.10 fatality rate in 2013.

NTSB aviation accident statistics for 2017 showed 29 accidents for U.S. air carriers operating under 14 CFR 121 during scheduled flights and two nonscheduled flights. There were also 43 accidents for U.S. air carriers operating under 14 CFR 135c for on-demand flights and eight commuter flights.

According to the NTSB, there were 1,233 United States general aviation accidents, including 203 fatal accidents causing 330 fatalities. There were also 1,316 United States civil aviation accidents that included 211 fatal accidents causing 346 fatalities.

The NTSB also reported that 16 foreign registered aircraft accidents included three fatal accidents causing three fatalities. One unregistered aircraft was involved in one fatal accident causing one death.

Contact Us

At Williams Hart we pride ourselves on providing our clients with reliable representation for even the most challenging cases. If you or someone you love has been the victim of a helicopter or airplane crash, contact our offices at (713) 352-7071.

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Have you or a loved one been injured in an accident?

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