Compassionate Lawyers by Your Side Following A Private or Small Plane Accident

Attorneys Ladd Sanger and Mike SlackMost people generally associate flying with traveling on a commercial airline. However, more than 90% of the approximately 220,000 registered aircraft in the United States fall into a category called “general aviation.” These smaller types of aircraft hold fewer than 30 passengers and are subject to different regulations than commercial planes.

Unfortunately, while the airline industry as a whole has made great strides in improving accident rates, there has been little to no improvements in the rate of passengers injured or killed in private and small planes. Some of the reasons these flights can end in tragedy include the fact that, when compared to their larger, more regulated counterparts, pilot training requirements are limited, private planes don’t have the same safety measures and backup systems, and pilots tend to have less experience and fly less frequently, making them less prepared in potentially dangerous situations. Slack Davis Sanger aviation lawyers are pilots, as well as experienced litigators who understand the specific issues surrounding private plane regulations and air crashes, and have a history of obtaining favorable outcomes in lawsuits for clients.

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private planePrivate Plane Crash Lawyers with the Experience and Knowledge to Pursue Justice

In 2014, there were no commercial airplane crash deaths. During the same time period, however, 260 people lost their lives while traveling on general aviation flights and chartered commercial flights, both of which are smaller, privately-owned aircraft. Why is being a passenger on a small plane so much more dangerous? First of all, since regulations for these types of planes are more lax, these aircraft tend to have more mechanical defects and receive less frequent maintenance. Private planes are often operated by amateur pilots, whereas being a commercial airline pilot is a full-time job. As such, pilots of private planes are sometimes less capable of managing these complicated machines. Small-plane pilots also run out of fuel at a much higher rate than commercial pilots, which can lead to deadly consequences.

Representing surviving families in private plane crash cases requires special sensitivity. It also requires the ability to project, document, and recover potential future earnings of the deceased. Complex private plane crashes need strong technical and legal skills due to the many potential theories of liability under state, federal, and international law. This knowledge and deep insight into all facets of the aviation industry enable Slack Davis Sanger airplane accident attorneys, where appropriate, to file suit in jurisdictions most advantageous to our clients.

We bring knowledge and understanding of an aircraft’s history and components to the following types of small and private plane crashes:

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Charter and Tour Air Crashes

Charter and tour air operators often transport busy executives, travelers, high-profile athletes, musicians, government officials, and celebrities. In most of these cases, pilots might feel tremendous pressure to maintain schedules and fulfill flight commitments, even when unsafe conditions arise. Flying at night in poor weather or piloting an overloaded aircraft are just two errors in judgment among many that can be recipes for disaster. Slack Davis Sanger aviation lawyers are experienced litigators who understand the specific issues surrounding charter and tour regulations and air crashes, and we use our in-depth knowledge to fight for your interests.

Business Jet Crashes

Some companies transport executives on business jets, because they offer privacy, enhanced security, and an environment that’s more suitable for getting work done. Flights that can’t land at larger airports, due to weather or other reasons, can be diverted to smaller airstrips, which also makes flying on business jets more flexible. However, municipal runways may be in poor condition or can be made out of dirt instead of asphalt, which raises another set of risks for passengers. And although these types of aircraft tend to be operated by professionals and not hobbyists, relaxed rules as compared to commercial airlines increase the risk of a serious crash. Like many airplane crashes, litigating accidents involving business jets requires a unique skillset — one which the lawyers at Slack Davis Sanger possess.

Warbird planeWarbird Crashes

Warbirds are vintage military planes that are now owned by civilians. These historic aircraft may be as much as 70 to 80 years old, with many dating back to just prior to World War II. In a growing number of cities, individuals can pay to take a warbird ride, and these planes are common attractions in local airshows, often on the schedule to showcase military-style maneuvers and other in-air acrobatics. The inherent dangers of flying in a plane with older parts and components, along with the differences in how warbirds are built and fly, mean passengers are at a higher risk of serious injury and even death in a crash. With accomplished attorneys who are also licensed pilots and experience with these types of cases, Slack Davis Sanger is well-positioned to represent victims and surviving family members in accidents involving warbirds and other specialty aircraft.

International Plane Crashes and Accidents

If flying on a charter or private plane is riskier than taking a commercial flight, one can expect that flying in one of these types of aircraft in another country might also be more dangerous. Pilots in other countries may not be subject to the same requirements as U.S. pilots, and regulations concerning the condition and maintenance of aircraft abroad tend to be less restrictive than those in the U.S. Enforcement of existing laws may also be uneven in other countries, and principles of international law may make proving the cause of an accident less straightforward than in a domestic crash.

Slack Davis Sanger international airplane accident attorneys have extensive experience in a variety of private plane crash claims, offering 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.

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Private planeProduct Liability & Defective Products

An investigation by USA TODAY found that defective components and dangerous aircraft designs were to blame for a large number of injuries, crashes, and deaths in small planes. After conducting extensive research, the report concluded that while National Transportation Safety Board officials routinely place responsibility on pilots for accidents, a pattern of equipment problems has been covered up by manufacturers, who have kept using parts proven to be defective for years after a crash. In some cases, companies that produced these faulty parts have refused to issue a recall or only partially recalled a product, and at times have failed to acknowledge the problem at all. Slack Davis Sanger attorneys draw upon extensive experience in product liability and defective products cases to apply these principles to small plane crashes and accidents that forever change the lives of families involved.

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  • "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

  • "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.

  • "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.

  • "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

  • "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.
  • "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.

  • "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

  • "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

  • "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.

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

    Colonel Ray Toler

  • "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

  • "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.

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

    Elizabeth A.

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

    Rebecca F.

  • "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.

  • "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

  • "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 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

  • "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

  • "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 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."



Why Slack Davis Sanger?

What We Offer

Decades of Experience

A long history investigating, analyzing, settling, and trying hundreds of small- and private-plane-crash cases.

Skilled Lawyers

Lawyers with a solid grasp of the complicated set of state, national, and international laws that may apply to your case.

Aviation Industry Insights

With pilots and an aerospace engineer on your side, you can rest assured that our attorneys understand the industry and the nuances associated with litigating your case.

Knowledge of Jurisdictions

A legal strategy based on where to file your case for the best opportunity for a positive outcome.

24/7 Dedication

Our top priority is to move as quickly as possible to get you the biggest settlement, so you or your family can adjust to life in the aftermath of a devastating incident.

Reputation & Track Record

Successful resolution of cases against industry giants, as well as in lawsuits involving charter planes and private plane crashes.

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 are some questions I can ask an operator to learn more about how safe my charter plane will be?

If I was a victim in an overseas small plane crash or accident (or if I lost a loved one), how do I know Slack Davis Sanger can take on a case in the country in which the incident occurred?

What types of damages can be recovered in an aviation accident involving a small plane or charter?

Who can be held responsible if I lose a loved one in a small plane crash?

What is the statute of limitations for small plane aviation accidents?

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