Aviation Accidents, Helicopter Crashes and Air Crash Litigation


The FAA reports that air travel is expected to double over the next 20 years. As the air traffic increases, so will the risk of passengers being hurt or involved in a fatal aviation accident. Complex aviation accidents, helicopter crashes and airplane crashes need the strong technical and legal skills of an aviation lawyer due to the many potential theories of liability under state, federal and international law. There may be product liability, negligence of a party, or a combination of both that will need to be carefully reviewed by an attorney. Our airplane accident attorneys know and understand the varied state, national and international laws that govern wrongful death and survivor actions in aviation cases. This knowledge enables them, where appropriate, to file suit in jurisdictions most advantageous to our clients. The multifaceted aviation industry demands strong technical and legal skills, and our aviation attorneys have gained a unique and deep insight into all aspects of this practice area.

Recognizing that this expertise could be applied proactively to benefit other aviation clients, Slack & Davis also offers aviation services to existing and prospective aircraft owners on their Business Jet litigation site.

The attorneys of Slack & Davis regularly handle these types of aviation cases:

The aviation accident lawyers of Slack & Davis, led by former NASA senior aerospace engineer and licensed pilot Michael L. Slack, are known nationally and internationally as one of the preeminent law attorneys representing victims of plane crashes and helicopter crashes. Having litigated or handled cases involving crashes in most of the U.S. states and around the world, Slack & Davis attorneys:

  • Have investigated, analyzed, litigated, settled and tried hundreds of air crash cases from major airline disasters to general aviation crashes involving dozens of different makes and models of airplanes and helicopters.
  • Bring knowledge and understanding of an aircraft’s history and components to every case.
  • Offer keen technical insight into what causes airplane crashes, helicopter crashes and other aviation accidents.
  • Are aviation professionals – aerospace engineers, pilots and flight instructors with hands-on experience and understanding of the relationships between human factors in the cockpit, aircraft, weather and air traffic control.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) website transportation fatalities statistics, approximately 450 fatal aviation accidents occurred in 2012. This includes non-U.S. registered aircraft involved in an accident in the United States. Read more about the FAA’s accident and incident data.

Common Causes of Aviation-related Accidents

Having gained deep insight into all facets of the aviation industry by litigating or handling cases involving U.S. crashes in most of the U.S. states as well as international crashes, Slack & Davis aviation lawyers have identified the most common causes of both major airline carrier and general aviation-related accidents, to include:

  • Poor pilot training
  • Faulty equipment
  • Structural, design or mechanical problems
  • Negligence of an employee associated with the airlines or airport

Understanding Federal Regulations and Guidelines

Both the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) oversee commercial and private aviation in the U.S. The FAA sets the standards and enforces regulations for pilot conduct, flight operations and aircraft manufacturers. The NTSB investigates every civil aircraft accident and makes recommendations to avoid future accidents.

Are you a Victim of an Aviation Accident? What to Expect When Involved in an Aviation Accident, Helicopter Crash or Plane Crash.

Aviation Accidents, Helicopter Crashes and Air Crash Litigation

After a commercial plane crashes, the airline’s insurance company will probably contact survivors or victims’ families offering a settlement and may also offer a cash advance to defray immediate costs resulting from the accident. Offers of this nature should not be accepted and documents should not be signed before speaking to an attorney who is knowledgeable in aviation cases. Accepting monetary compensation from an aviation insurer may have significant adverse consequences to the releasing party.

The laws pertaining to monetary recompense differ from state to state and can produce dramatically different results. In some states, a release given in favor of a liable party can significantly limit pursuit of claims against other potential defendants. In some instances, a settlement operates as an offset or deduction against further damages. Furthermore, in most aviation releases the insurers will certainly seek to include their other insured interests. Some of these insured entities may be jointly liable and owe the releasing parties additional damages. By signing a release that includes other potentially liable parties, the releasing party may be forfeiting claims against those other parties and be unable to secure additional compensation. This is a very complex area of the law and no release should be considered without first speaking with a qualified attorney.

Complex aviation accidents, helicopter crashes and airplane crashes need strong technical and legal skills because they involve many potential theories of liability under state, federal and international law. There may be product liability, negligence of a party, or a combination of both that will need to be carefully reviewed.

Aviation Accidents, Helicopter Crashes and Air Crash Litigation