Air Ambulance and Medical Helicopter Crashes (HEMS)


Air ambulances, including medical helicopters (also known as Helicopter Emergency Medical Services or HEMS) and medical transport planes, are supposed to save lives, not take them. In the event of an emergency medical helicopter crash, patients being transported for emergency care may suffer more severe injuries or even death. In addition, the heroic paramedics, flight nurses and pilots who are trying to save others may lose their own lives or be severely injured.

Factors contributing to medical helicopter accidents include flying in poor weather, at night or in an overloaded aircraft. In most helicopter medical transport operations, the pilot decides whether to fly, but often does so under pressure from responders on the ground such as police or ground paramedics. Even in the best flying conditions, medical helicopters can crash due to poor aircraft maintenance, poor oversight by sponsoring hospitals of helicopter operators and inadequate helicopter pilot training.

In addition, medical helicopters are sometimes used in situations that don’t warrant this effort, such as when a patient has non-life-threatening injuries. In such cases, ground ambulance transport could be the safer option.

Slack Davis Sanger aviation attorneys have extensive experience litigating air ambulance / HEMS cases. Aviation attorney Michael Slack has authored papers and given presentations about how to make air medical services safer. We invite you to download attorney papers and publications and/or contact us to learn more.

Complex helicopter crashes need strong technical and legal skills 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. This knowledge and deep insight into all facets of the aviation industry enables aviation attorneys, where appropriate, to file suit in jurisdictions most advantageous to our clients.

Slack Davis Sanger helicopter accident attorneys have extensive experience in a variety of helicopter crash claims. Slack Davis Sanger attorney Ladd Sanger adds specific insight as a licensed helicopter pilot.

Slack Davis Sanger offers clients the legal savvy, technical knowledge and financial resources to pursue cases against formidable adversaries. As always, our mission is to aggressively seek advantageous resolutions for our clients.

Slack Davis Sanger’ Successes in Handling Air Ambulance Helicopter Accidents

The following are summaries of recent or current cases litigated by Slack Davis Sanger Air Ambulance Accident attorneys:

Air Ambulance Crashes during Training, Causing Four Casualties

  • Attorney Michael Slack represented the family of Damon Talbott, a New Mexico State Trooper who was killed in October 2001 when the pilot lost control of the Medical Air Transport, Inc. helicopter. The case was tried twice, and both juries returned record verdicts for the plaintiffs. This lawsuit is significant as the first reported precedent nationally where a hospital was held liable for negligently selecting an incompetent air ambulance contractor.

Helicopter Destroyed, Causing Fatal Injuries

  • Slack Davis Sanger represented passengers of a medical helicopter that was destroyed upon impact with terrain in El Paso, TX, in February 2010. A fire ensued after the crash. A commercial pilot and two paramedics were killed as a result of the accident.

Medical Air Ambulance Crashes Due to Weather Conditions

  • A medical air ambulance crashed while attempting to pick up a patient in adverse weather conditions in Salt Lake City, Utah, in January 2003.

Engine Failure Causes Crash

  • Medical helicopter goes down in Skidmore, Texas, in January 2002. Two EMTs suffered serious injuries in crash-landing resulting from engine failure.

For an extensive listing of case profiles from the leading expert airplane and helicopter crash lawyers, please visit:

Track Record of Success and Fair Compensation to Families

Slack Davis Sanger attorneys are experienced trial lawyers with a record of outstanding verdicts in Air Ambulance crash cases. Additionally, we also have substantial experience and credentials as pilots and engineers. Our goal with each passenger or family we represent is to obtain the optimum recovery in the shortest time possible.

For two decades, the medical helicopter accident attorneys of Slack Davis Sanger led by Michael L. Slack, have fought and won lawsuits on behalf of the victims of air ambulance helicopter crashes. If you or a loved one has suffered severe, life-altering injuries or wrongful death, our attorneys can help you through this difficult time. Nothing is more important to us than getting you the help you need. We bring knowledge and understanding of an aircraft’s history and components to every case.

Slack Davis Sanger attorneys are aviation professionals with experience as aerospace engineers, pilots and flight instructors.