Aviation Accident Attorneys by Your Side Fighting for Justice

Attorneys Ladd Sanger and Mike Slack

Usually, when we step onto an airplane or helicopter, we’re thinking about our destination, not the risks of air travel. Yet, unlike accidents involving other forms of transportation, aviation accidents are more likely to have a catastrophic impact. Loss of life, injuries, and property damages sustained in an airplane accident or helicopter crash often far outweigh those associated with a car accident. For over 25 years, victims of aviation accidents and their family members have chosen the aviation accident lawyers at Slack Davis Sanger to navigate the complex litigation rules associated with air travel to obtain just compensation for their losses.

Alarming Trends in Avoidable Tragedies

Aviation fatalities and accidents were starting to steadily decline until 2017. Since then, a rise in the number of these tragedies suggests that air travel has become increasingly dangerous, with 561 fatalities in 2018 and 231 fatalities in just the first five months of 2019. Unfortunately, many of the aviation accidents that occurred could have been prevented, if only more extensive pilot training, proper aircraft maintenance, stronger safety regulations, or a combination of these safeguards were in place. Behind the statistics are lives that have been shattered. Every family that is impacted is one too many.

If you or a family member has been a victim in one of these incidents, having a compassionate, hardworking attorney on your side can help you navigate the difficult and tedious work in the aftermath. Our team is made up of licensed pilots and a former NASA aerospace engineer who understand when a pilot, manufacturer, or airline is responsible for life-altering injuries and the loss of life. While we fight to secure justice for you, we also work to make flying safer and to help prevent catastrophic accidents from occurring again.

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Plane after crashTypes of Aviation Accidents

The demand for air travel is expected to double over the next 20 years. This exponential growth will bring challenges to an industry already plagued with safety issues, a pilot shortage, and aging fleets. Thousands of new planes, pilots, routes and airports will test what regulators might argue is an already precarious situation where passenger safety may take a backseat to profits.

The caring airplane accident lawyers at Slack Davis Sanger have a unique combination of skills and experience in the aviation industry to help advise victims and their loved ones in the event of an accident. Our attorneys have stood up to the major airline companies and aircraft manufacturers, including Boeing, Airbus, Southwest Airlines, Taquan Air, American Airlines, Robinson, and Beechcraft. We understand the hardship that a catastrophic accident can have on a family. We will work tirelessly on your behalf, so you can focus on your physical and emotional recovery.

The attorneys at Slack Davis Sanger regularly handle aviation accident and crash cases, including incidents involving commercial airplanes, private planes, helicopters, sightseeing helicopters, and international air travel.

Commercial Airplane Crashes and Accidents

These large-scale tragedies often involve multiple defendants, the National Transportation Safety Board, independent investigators, commercial airline carriers, and aircraft manufacturers. Air crash litigation and multiple layers of state, federal, and international law make these cases extremely challenging to take on. Defendants will often try to walk away from these tragedies with as little financial and regulatory consequences as possible, making it necessary for victims and their families to find hardworking attorneys with aviation experience who are fighting for their justice, as well as reform within the industry.

The aviation accident attorneys at Slack Davis Sanger have successfully represented passengers involved in commercial airline crashes across the United States, as well as in dozens of foreign countries. The attorneys at Slack Davis Sanger understand the nuances of federal regulations and the Montreal Convention, a treaty that dictates how cases involving international travel should be handled. Our skilled team can guide victims and their families through the difficult times that follow one of these life-altering tragedies.

Private Plane Crashes and Accidents

Although commercial airline crashes are more likely to make the headlines, commuter planes and air taxi charters that hold fewer than 30 passengers have much higher accident rates than flights on the major carriers. These types of private aircraft are governed by a less restrictive set of federal safety regulations than larger planes, although the impact on victims and families is just as heartbreaking in the event of a crash. These accidents are often more dangerous because plane maintenance and pilot training requirements are less stringent.

While smaller planes crash for the same reasons larger ones do—most often, pilot error—there are a few more reasons that this type of travel is more risky. Because the aircraft itself is a smaller version of its commercial counterpart, it lacks many of the redundancies that come into play when things go wrong: a second engine, a co-pilot, and a backup navigation system. While commercial pilots log many hours in flight, operators of private planes may only undergo annual training and more limited time in the cockpit. The experienced plane crash attorneys at Slack Davis Sanger apply their knowledge of private planes and business jets for the benefit of those who have sustained an injury or lost a loved one in a devastating crash.

Helicopter Crashes and Accidents

Athletes, executives, musicians, government officials, celebrities, and even commuters may opt for a charter helicopter to avoid the hassle of security lines, delays, and other inconveniences of modern travel. In a medical emergency, patients may be transported to a medical facility by an air ambulance, medical helicopter, or medical transport plane. Offshore oil workers may take a helicopter ride to a job site. Unfortunately, the passengers in each of these scenarios are at a higher risk of a crash or accident when compared to flying on a commercial airline.

Helicopters are more vulnerable to bad weather, have more moving parts than airplanes, and are more difficult to handle when a novice pilot is at the controls. Rescue missions can take place in areas with quickly changing weather or poor weather conditions, putting passengers at even further risk of bodily harm. These types of aircraft have greatly reduced visibility at night, making it even more critical to have a highly experienced pilot. Inexperienced pilots, who aren’t held to the same standards for training and flying hours as commercial pilots, may have to make split-second decisions that can have a life-long impact on victims.

Slack Davis Sanger has a long history of successfully helping families secure just compensation for losses associated with helicopter crashes and accidents. With a licensed helicopter pilot on our team, we are able to provide our clients with specialized knowledge in this field.

A helicopter losing controlHelicopter Tour Crashes and Accidents

Vacation spots advertise helicopter tours as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see a destination from a unique perspective. Passengers may not realize that operators often cut corners with safety measures and that pilots may not have the skills nor training to navigate difficult and unfamiliar terrain in these exotic locales. Investigators working to put together the pieces after these crashes have found that tour helicopters may not be equipped with doors or with harnesses that are too difficult or too complex to get out of in emergency situations.

Sightseeing tours in places like the Grand Canyon and Hawaii can lead to disaster if pilots become distracted or are unfamiliar with the area, leading to collisions, either with other aircraft or nearby land features. Having caring and compassionate advocates working on your behalf after one of these accidents can help you and your family chart a new path forward.

International Plane Crashes and Accidents

An increase in the number of low-cost airlines with transatlantic flights and new stripped-down options from traditional airlines has meant that flying abroad is easier and cheaper than ever before. Carriers are often forced to take shortcuts when operating on razor-thin margins, and passenger safety is usually put on the back burner. When tragedy strikes on an international flight, passengers and their loved ones have a daunting journey ahead of them to seek compensation for what are often catastrophic losses. Although every aviation accident claim is complex, these crashes and incidents require an even deeper knowledge of international laws and agreements related to passenger safety.

Not only will your legal strategy need to take into account global treaties, including the Montreal and Warsaw Conventions, but your legal team will also need to evaluate a broader range of jurisdictions to determine where to try your case to have the best chance of a favorable outcome. Only a select group of law firms has the experience and knowledge to take on these kinds of cases. Slack Davis Sanger has established a reputation as one of the best.

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Emotional Distress After an Accident

Individuals who are involved in a serious plane or helicopter crash or accident can experience mental suffering related to the traumatic event, in addition to the often long road to recovery after what may be life-altering physical injuries. Panic, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, and self-directed guilt are some examples of what a plane crash victim may experience in the days, weeks, and months following the accident. These forms of mental anguish may impact not only the victim, but also loved ones. The legal team at Slack Davis Sanger brings caring and compassion to its work with victims to recover damages in these cases to help individuals and their families adjust to a new life after one of these tragic events.

Determining Liability After a Catastrophic Aviation Accident

Determining who is at fault in the event of a plane or helicopter accident or crash can be difficult, as usually more than one party is responsible. A full investigation can take an extended period of time to reach a conclusion, and not all firms are equipped to be a resource for victims and their families over the long haul.

The most common causes of aviation accidents are:

  • Pilot error, whether because of loss of control, flying into terrain, or another issue
  • Air traffic controller or maintenance team error or miscommunication
  • Mechanical defects or component failure
  • Lack of fuel
  • Collision with another aircraft
  • Flying too low
  • Poor weather or turbulence
  • Fire or smoke
  • Abnormal runway contact

Based on why the incident occurred, liability may be placed on one or more parties, including:

  • The aircraft’s owner and operator
  • An airline
  • The plane or parts manufacturer
  • The companies contracted to supply maintenance

Victims and their families can file a personal injury or wrongful death claim to seek compensation for their losses, including:

  • Medical expenses after the accident, as well as for future care
  • Income and future earning potential
  • Emotional distress
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium for the spouse of the victim

The settlement may also involve punitive damages to the parties responsible for the tragedy. The aviation attorneys at Slack Davis Sanger pursue every possible avenue for our clients to get the compensation they deserve after one of these serious accidents.

Passengers on a commercial airplane

The Role of Automation and Human Error

While technological advances and automation are intended to make flying safer, recent accidents suggest otherwise. Computers have replaced pilots during many parts of a flight.

Because of this heavy reliance on automation, pilots have less hands-on flying time, giving them less experience with critical decision-making skills necessary to handle potential problems they may encounter in the air. To make matters worse, federal regulators are not always aware of software updates that manufacturers implement, so pilots can be unprepared when things go horribly wrong.

The aviation accident attorneys at Slack Davis Sanger will work endlessly to bring justice to the victims of these accidents, as well as to advocate for stronger regulations within the industry to safeguard passengers. With added safety measures, we can make flying safer, both now and in the future.

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  • "I would like to thank all of your team, who I felt went above and beyond to take care of us and to be great listeners, even when I’d fall apart on the phone speaking about my father. I would highly recommend you and your firm to anyone in a similar situation, and I would be happy to speak to any prospective clients to provide a verbal reference."

    Theresa M.

  • "I first met Mike Slack when I mediated a case involving a plane crash in which Mike represented the plaintiff. I was very impressed with his knowledge, preparation, and approach. More than a year later, I asked Mike to investigate a matter for a family member of mine. He handled the investigation with skill, tenacity, and care. I think Mike is a terrific lawyer."

    Paul Bardacke

  • "Slack Davis Sanger represents the ultimate in professionalism combined with a true caring attitude."

    Colonel Ray Toler

  • "I am still amazed at how, through this difficult legal process, Mike Slack and his team consistently maintained a diligent direction to resolve this case in our best interest. We experienced an extraordinary sense of grace and humanity as we struggled through this tragedy. These are truly extraordinary people with extraordinary ability."

    Victor McLerran

  • "All law firms should operate and handle their clients just as you do!"

    Rebecca F.

  • "I am still amazed at how, through this difficult legal process, Mike Slack and his team consistently maintained a diligent direction to resolve this case in our best interest. We experienced an extraordinary sense of grace and humanity as we struggled through this tragedy. These are truly extraordinary people with extraordinary ability."

    Victor McLerran

  • "It is to your credit to have Ladd Sanger on your team. His intelligence, skill, and hard work were invaluable to our case."

    Peter B.

  • "A disaster affecting the lives of many families led to our relationship with the Slack Davis Sanger team. While we never could be compensated fully for our loss, the team at Slack Davis Sanger removed much of the burden associated with dealing with the courts and corporate attorneys, allowing us to devote more of our attention to dealing with the very real burden of personal loss associated with losing loved ones to tragedy. They actively listened to what was important to us and crafted a legal strategy designed to meet our goals."

    Victor McLerran

  • "The whole staff at Slack Davis Sanger went above and beyond to make sure that we not only got the best settlement and verdict, but that we were aware, knowledgeable, and comfortable with all that went on before, during, and after the trial. They have the best staff — “the A team” — that anyone could ask for. They all worked hard together and still had compassion for us. They are the team you want in your foxhole."

    Leon Hagerman

  • "Caring, sincere, genuine, loyal, dependable, reliable, trustworthy, compassionate, extremely knowledgeable, and resourceful. How can I ever thank Mike Slack and his legal assistant enough? They went out of their way — even meeting with us at the hospital or the Ronald McDonald House."

    Carol B.

  • "I know I speak for my whole family in expressing appreciation for the genuine care and support provided by Slack Davis Sanger during the lengthy process of working through our legal system. They provided frequent personal contact, without prompting, and someone was always available to answer any question or just listen to our comments and concerns. I feel that we were always treated with respect — individually and as a family."

    Larry McLerran

  • "Slack Davis Sanger came highly recommended to me by a colleague. From my first meeting with Mike Davis, I knew my sisters and I had made the right choice. Emotionally, dealing with the situation was difficult for us. Slack Davis Sanger managed all of the details and people day-to-day, involving us only when necessary. This law firm delivered — and more."

    Kyle Smith

  • "Donna Bowen was very kind and supportive, both personally and professionally, throughout my ordeal."

    Elizabeth A.

  • "When we got into this I had no idea what to expect. You have all been honest and supportive through this whole process. This whole time I have felt like someone was on our side. That is not something we get very often. I can only hope that if someday you need something from me...I can deliver like you all have for us. If you ever need a reference, no one could explain it like me. We love the fact that your team is still fighting the good fight. I hope you nail those bastards until they have no choice but to fix the problem and make sure it never happens again."

    Kathleen C.

  • "I cannot say enough good things about the entire staff at Slack Davis Sanger. We contacted Slack Davis Sanger to pursue a wrongful death case. They fought the greatest fight for my kids. They knew the aviation industry and left no stone unturned. Their courtroom strategy and manners are equaled by no other. Thanks for your compassion and helping us through this time."

    Kathy Hagerman

  • "Thank you again for all of your good help. Since losing Nick, the love of my life, it has been an emotional roller coaster, but I am making progress and standing strong as he would want me to do. Aside from all of the other estate things I have had to attend to, through this law case, your efficient and thoughtful communications have been very kind and helpful. You have performed your job perfectly."

    Sandra T.

  • "On behalf of my siblings and I, we thank you and your team for taking on our case following our father’s passing from a tragic vintage plane crash in Arizona. As you know, we were originally working with another firm and just getting started when a family member referred us, insisting you were the best choice for our situation. With one phone consultation, I knew you were the one who would take care of us. During the time of our first call, I found you to be professional, fair, understanding, and, most of all, you confirmed my instincts on how a settlement would be processed given all the family dynamics and other concerns (i.e., multiple states, multiple claimants, etc.). I immediately felt you would have our backs and best represent our family."

    Theresa M.

  • "During the ultimate mediation process, you demonstrated the confidence, expertise and determination to do what was best for all of us while helping to guide our decisions during what was a very emotional time. While our lives will never be the same without our beloved father, we are grateful for a settlement which allows us to do something positive in our lives while honoring his memory."

    Theresa M.

  • "I found the Slack Davis Sanger legal team very professional and competent. The attorneys and staff took the time to make me feel comfortable with all the proceedings. I would highly recommend the Slack Davis Sanger team and would not hesitate to use them again."


  • "Thank you for all of your help with this case. This has been a difficult process and I couldn’t have done it without you."

    Charlotte L.

  • "It was obvious to me, very early in the process, that my family was in need of an advocate that could match the legal resources of the airline involved. Through the recommendation of a family attorney in Austin, I was most fortunate to contact Mike Slack with Slack Davis Sanger LLP. I had not been on the phone with Mike for more than 10 minutes when I knew that this was the man and legal team that would represent my family."

    Victor McLerran

  • "Our firm has worked with the attorneys and staff at Slack Davis Sanger since the firm was formed in 1993. They have assisted our clients with personal injury matters and have served as our co-counsel in planning for our clients’ personal aircraft ownership and operations issues and needs. Our experience and our clients’ experience with Slack Davis Sanger has been outstanding. We recommend the firm highly and always look forward to working with the lawyers and staff there."

    Stephen Saunders

    Saunders, Norval, Nichols & Atkins, L.L.P.

Why Slack Davis Sanger?

What We Offer

Decades of Experience

Decades of experience investigating, analyzing, settling, and trying hundreds of air crash cases.

Skilled Lawyers

Skilled lawyers who understand the constellation of state, national, and international laws that govern aviation wrongful death and survivor actions.

Aviation Industry Insights

Aviation industry insights from our pilot-attorneys, including a former aerospace engineer along with fixed-wing plane and helicopter pilots.

Knowledge of Jurisdictions

Knowledge of which jurisdictions will be most advantageous to your case.

24/7 Dedication

24/7 dedication to getting you the compensation you deserve — because nothing is more important.

Reputation & Track Record

A reputation and track record that command respect.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there any place I can go to find out whether the airline, tour operator or charter operator I am flying with has had any crashes or other problems?

What types of damages can be recovered in an aviation accident?

Who can be held responsible if I lose a loved one in an airplane crash?

What is the statute of limitations for aviation accidents?

What do the statistics tell us about the most dangerous part of a flight?

What are discounted fee arrangements in commercial airline cases?