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Aviation Accidents

Goldberg & Dohan, LLP handles aviation injury cases in conjunction with the renowned aviation law firm of Bohrer & Lukeman out of our New York City office.  Together we are committed to the representation of passengers injured during commercial and  general aviation, whether in-flight or in the course of boarding or disembarking the aircraft.  We also represent the estates of victims who have perished in aviation disasters.

As seasoned aviation, negligence and product liability attorneys, we are familiar with cases involving duties to warn, and breaches of express and implied warranties in the aviation field. We spare no expense in the retention of top engineers and experts to investigate the causes of aviation accidents and use all available government resources and agency data in the course of litigation.

We assume a focused and aggressive posture from the outset. We are a firm that knows the law, gathers the facts and is always prepared to litigate and go to trial when it is in our client’s best interest.

COMMERCIAL AVIATION ACCIDENTS

Commercial aviation traditionally refers to scheduled flights operated by large airlines, and is generally considered amongst the safest modes of travel.  Fortunately, airline disasters are rare. However, every year, thousands of passengers are injured in a variety of different “in flight” accidents, many of them seriously. We are experienced in all phases of commercial aviation litigation, from mass disaster litigation to the representation of passengers injured in individual accidents, whether on board the aircraft or in the airport.  Our firm has successfully litigated mass air disasters, emergency evacuations, turbulence injuries, and almost every other type of airport and in flight accident, while recovering millions of dollars for our clients. We are extremely familiar with the laws governing both international and domestic flights, and are equally comfortable in state and federal courts.

A common mistake made by many passengers, and even attorneys, is to assume that major airlines will settle cases early to avoid costly and protracted litigation. They assume the best and openly communicate with airline claims personnel without the knowledge of both the Montreal Convention governing international air travel or domestic aviation laws. In return, airlines frequently disclose nothing, including their in-flight accident reports and witness statements. The results are often detrimental to the passenger’s case and can permanently affect his or her right to cover.

We assume a focused and aggressive posture from the outset. We are a firm that knows the law, gathers the facts and is always prepared to litigate and go to trial when it is in our client’s best interest. Call or contact us today if you or a loved one has been injured during the course of a commercial aviation flight.

“IN-FLIGHT” ACCIDENTS

Our attorneys can help you if you or a loved one has been injured during the course of a flight.  In-flight injuries may be caused by a variety of events, including but not limited to:

Turbulence

Turbulence is one of the most common causes of in-flight injuries among passengers.  It can result from weather, the wakes of other aircraft, or clear air currents.  Our attorneys have successfully represented hundreds of passengers injured in turbulence-related accidents.  Most notably, attorney Abram Bohrer litigated the seminal case of Magan v. Lufthansa before the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which defined the rights of international airline passengers injured by turbulence.

Coffee and Hot Liquid Burns

Burns are serious injuries and can require immediate emergency medical care. Every year, many passengers are burned by the acts of flight attendants. Typically, flight attendants fail to exercise reasonable care when pouring scalding beverages into flimsy cups supported by thin plastic trays. Any movement of the aircraft, or that of another flight attendant or passenger, can cause an innocent passenger to become burned.  A serious burn can require skin grafting surgery and leave permanent scarring.  Morever, deep penetrating burns can permanently kill nerve endings and leave the affected area permanently discolored and numb.   Our firm has successfully represented hundreds of passengers, including numerous children, injured as a result of in-flight burns.

Service Cart Impacts

In-flight service carts loaded with drinks and ice can weigh hundreds of pounds. Aircraft aisles are narrow, and often, passengers fall asleep with limbs protruding into the aisle.  An impact between a service cart and a knee, elbow, ankle or foot can seriously fracture and permanently injure a passenger. Every year, many passengers are injured by direct impacts from these rolling metal carts. Flight attendants have a duty of care to passengers that requires them to make sure that no passengers are in harm’s way when the carts are being wheeled through the aisles.

Overhead bin malfunctions

Passengers are familiar with the announcement to be careful when opening overhead bins as their contents may have shifted during flight.  However, overhead storage compartments do not always function as intended.  Our attorneys have successfully represented numerous passengers injured due to serious impact from objects falling from overhead bins.

Assaults or Acts by Fellow Passengers

In the landmark ruling of Wallace v. Korean Air Lines, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that an airline could be liable to a sleeping passenger who was sexually assaulted by another passenger. The Court reasoned that long transcontinental flights where passengers sleep in close proximity to each other in darkened cabins places passengers at risk of an assault from other passengers.  Airlines that provide alcohol to visibly intoxicated passengers may also be held liable for the harm they cause to other passengers.

GENERAL AVIATION ACCIDENTS

General aviation refers to flights other than those operated by airlines or the military. It generally calls to mind both owned and leased executive jets, pilot owned and operated propeller aircraft, gliders and other experimental aircraft. Air Ambulances are also included under the umbrella of general aviation. Recently there have been an epidemic of fatal crashes involving air ambulances and the industry is coming under increased scrutiny. Frequently, flights operated in general aviation originate from and terminate in small airports and do not require the filing of a flight plan. Litigation arising from general aviation accidents require extensive investigation and knowledge of a variety of laws and theories ranging from statutes of repose that protect the manufacturers of older aircraft from product liability claims, a careful study of weather and environmental factors, the experience, qualifications, judgments and actions of the pilot in charge, directions of air traffic controllers, aircraft maintenance and the functionality of the aircraft’s systems and instruments.

Tragically, many general aviation accidents result in the wrongful death of the aircraft’s pilots and/or passengers. Our firm has represented individuals injured and killed during the course of general aviation accidents. From the moment we are retained, we gather all relevant evidence and data and commence an investigation into the cause of the accident. We closely monitor all government investigations and retain and work with our own team of experts to develop often overlooked theories of recovery.

Call or contact us today if you or a loved one has been the victim of a general aviation accident.

HELICOPTER ACCIDENTS

Helicopter travel has entered the mainstream, and is no longer reserved for the military and special operations seen so often in the movies. We now routinely charter and use helicopters for air ambulances, law enforcement, corporate transportation, sight-seeing tours and other forms of recreation.  Most people, however, do not realize that helicopters are among the most dangerous forms of transportation, crashing up to 90 times more than fixed wing aircraft, often resulting in death and serious injury.

In the world of Aviation, helicopter accidents are, unfortunately, extremely common.  The NTSB, in its 2002 preliminary statistics, stated that out of approximately 1,700 helicopter accidents, 57% resulted in death.

When bringing a case involving a helicopter crash, our law team works closely with aviation and legal engineers, helicopter crash experts, and accident investigators from all over the world to not only uncover what went wrong, but to bring the strongest case against whomever is liable. Any and all legal theories and remedies under product liability law, negligence law and aviation law are pursued on behalf of our crash victims and their families, whether there has been a wrongful death or serious injury. We assume a focused and aggressive posture from the outset. We are a firm that knows the law, gathers the facts and is always prepared to litigate and go to trial when it is in our client’s best interest.

Call or contact us today if you or a loved one has been injured in a helicopter accident.

AIRPORT ACCIDENTS

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in an international or domestic airport, you need the services of attorneys who are familiar with airport accident law.   Our lawyers are highly experienced in the litigation of injuries and accidents that occur in airports.

Every year, tens of millions of travelers move through our world’s and nation’s airports. Unfortunately, thousands are injured during travel due to defective and dangerous conditions caused by the airlines, transportation authorities and their contractors. The most common causes of accidents are falls on jetways and boarding ramps, slippery floors, escalators and boarding staircases. Many travelers seriously injured overseas simply assume that there is no recourse for their injuries, or seek the advice of attorneys unfamiliar with aviation law only to be told that they do not have a case because they were injured outside of the United States. What most travelers and attorneys do not realize is that their rights might be governed by one or more sets of laws ranging from FAA regulations to the Montreal Convention governing international air travel.

Our airport injury attorneys have successfully represented hundreds of passengers injured in airport accidents. If you or a loved one is injured in an airport either in the US or overseas, call or email us today. There is no charge for a consultation and never a legal fee unless we recover money for you.

INTERNATIONAL & DOMESTIC INCIDENTS

An injured passenger should immediately seek the advice of an experienced aviation attorney to determine not only if he or she has a case, but what laws will apply to the action. Among the first questions the attorney will ask is whether the passenger was injured aboard a domestic or international flight.

A domestic flight is one which begins and ends within the same country. The passenger will usually not have to clear immigration and customs and does need a passport to travel. In the event of an injury aboard a domestic flight, the laws of the United States (or the country where it occurred) will govern the outcome of the case. Those laws will determine whether the passenger can bring certain claims, or whether those claims or barred by operation of law. There may be differences in statutes of limitations, which limit the time that the passenger has to bring a claim and certain other written notice requirements that make it mandatory for a passenger to seek counsel immediately.

There are also laws known as “statutes of repose” that protect aircraft manufacturers from claims brought as against older aircraft unless those aircraft are used in commercial aviation, and laws that “pre-empt” or restrict state law claims where the FAA or other federal authority has handed down certain rules or guidelines.

Although these rules are by no means absolute, the majority of accidents aboard general aviation aircraft occur during domestic flights, whereas international flights are typically run by commercial aviation carriers.

International flights are typically operated by commercial aviation carriers and are “longer haul” flights. Injuries that occur during the course of an international flight are governed exclusively by the Montreal Convention.

Read more about the Montreal Convention here.

If you, or someone you know is injured in an aviation accident, call our office now at 305-536-3400, toll free at 1-800-270-1710, e-mail us, or complete a free case evaluation for a consultation directly with one of our attorneys.

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