Los Angeles is full of glitz and glam, and there are services and activities here that you cannot find anywhere else. One of these experiences is air tours. While you can find them in some areas of the country, they seem to be everywhere in LA. They may be a great way to tour the city from the skies, but they are also a significant cause of accidents and fatalities.
The most infamous helicopter accident to occur in Los Angeles involved Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gigi. While this tragedy ultimately expanded the discourse surrounding the potential dangers of helicopter travel, many people still do not believe it will happen to them.
Aviation crashes like these are happening more and more frequently. In addition, police and fire helicopters are also susceptible to these accidents. Last month, a helicopter assisting firefighters crashed. It was a privately owned aircraft, and the pilot and two occupants sustained injuries requiring transport to a trauma center.
Causes of air tour collisions
Helicopter tours do not have the same oversight as other forms of helicopter travel. Privately-owned companies operate these tours, and the regulations they must follow are clearly outlined. Pilots are subjected to additional rules and must have adequate flying experience. However, pilots may participate in dangerous maneuvers for the purpose of entertaining their passengers. In the end, such reckless acts sometimes result in fatal accidents.
Leading factors that cause Los Angeles helicopter tour accidents are:
- Weather conditions
- Import aircraft maintenance
- Negligent operation
- Defective parts or design
- Negligent hiring practices
- Insufficient experience or pilot training
Weather is unpredictable in Los Angeles, and it can change drastically in seconds. The weather can restrict a pilot's vision, which may cause difficulties when maneuvering the aircraft. Helicopter pilots require less training than airline pilots, and therefore, less supervision. Airplanes have the capability to withstand changes in weather that helicopters and smaller planes do not. When you combine these factors, there is no question why these incidents occur.
What are the risks of scenic helicopter tours?
Helicopters are ideal for sightseeing tours, because they are smaller than typical aircrafts and provide scenic views. While these benefits are great for tourists, there are also inherent risks. Sightseeing companies will look for exciting landscapes to fly over, such as volcanoes, oceans, canyons, or mountains. These areas can be hazardous and may potentially place the pilot and passengers in danger.
In addition, many sightseeing companies purchase older aircrafts to save money. Unfortunately, these helicopters often require additional maintenance and may have significant defects, making them unsafe for air travel. Further, many older aircrafts do not have the same features as bigger planes, and cannot effectively communicate with air traffic control.
The sightseeing company and aircraft pilot must know and adhere to flight schedules, routes, and flight altitudes. There is often no co-pilot to monitor sudden changes, and the pilot is solely responsible for both navigating the helicopter and serving as a tour guide at the same time.
Helicopter crash injuries are severe
Among all accidents, air tours often result in the worst injuries for survivors. Most often, these accidents result in death for the occupants, because there is no way to stop or slow the helicopter down once it begins to plummet. The likely outcome is death, and families of the occupants may recover damages for the pain and suffering the victim experienced before their passing. Injuries can range from moderate to severe for survivors, depending on how the helicopter accident occurred.
Helicopter accidents are notorious for causing serious injuries, including:
- Amputation injuries
- Loss of eyesight
- Burn injuries
- Crush injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Neck and back injuries
- Skull fractures
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Loss of hearing
- Permanent disfigurement
When a loved one dies during an air tour, the family may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim under California survivor statutes. Spouses and children of the deceased may be eligible to file these claims and recover damages for injuries and suffering the person experienced before their imminent death. Do not allow these negligent parties to get away with these egregious actions.
Securing damages for your injuries after a helicopter accident in Los Angeles
Mechanical failure, human error and gross negligence are often the cause of these accidents. You should file an injury claim if you suffer a catastrophic injury from a Los Angeles helicopter tour accident. You can file a lawsuit to potentially recover compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
- Lost wages
- Loss of future income
- Medication costs
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages, if applicable
Waivers and liability for Los Angeles helicopter tours
When you purchase a scenic tour, you must sign a waiver. This waiver is supposed to shield the companies from liability under certain circumstances. However, these waivers do not shield companies from wrongful death or injury claims that result from negligence. Our attorneys will ask you to bring the waiver to your free consultation.
McNicholas & McNicholas is a family-owned law firm, and we understand that it is essential for you to receive compensation for your losses after an aviation accident. If you lost a loved one in a helicopter accident, we can file a wrongful death claim on your behalf. Call our Los Angeles attorneys today at 310-474-1582, or submit our contact form to schedule a free consultation.
Please note that this blog is not to be construed as legal advice. Because every case is fact-specific, you should consult directly with an attorney to obtain legal advice specific to your situation.
For more than three decades, McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP has built a reputation as one of California’s leading law firms. Founded by a family of attorneys spanning three generations, John McNicholas and sons, Patrick and Matthew, have tried hundreds of cases to jury verdict on behalf of clients. Learn More about McNicholas & McNicholas