Los Angeles Aviation Accident Attorneys
Aggressive representation after a plane, helicopter, or aircraft accident in California
Air travel remains one of the safest means of transportation, and yet aviation accidents do occur and can cause serious harm, injury, or even death to the passengers and crew members onboard. It is important to know your rights if you or a loved one is involved in an aviation accident, including helicopter crashes and commercial airline incidents. These types of accidents often involve complex state or federal laws that require the proper legal team in order to help you pursue maximum compensation for you and your family.
The Los Angeles aviation lawyers of McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP have secured multimillion-dollar results on behalf of our clients, including:
Our aviation attorneys understand the complexities of plane crashes and helicopter accidents. We have the experience and the ability to handle extensive cases, which has resulted in a reputation as one of the premier personal injury law firms in Southern California. Contact us today to learn how we can help.
Plane crashes are rare, but on the rise
A CNN report in 2019 said that the prior year was one of the safest years for air travel: there were “15 fatal airliner accidents in 2018, leading to 556 deaths.” While this is still exponentially lower than the number of car crashes in 2018, these numbers are still higher than the 2017 numbers (10 accidents and 44 deaths).
One of these fatal accidents was the Lion Air Flight 610 in October 2018, which led to 189 deaths. This was the first of two fatal plane crashes in five months involving a Boeing 737 MAX jet; the second, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, occurred in March 2019 and killed 157 people.
The fatal Boeing flights were similar in that both plans had an MCAS safety system which stalled, causing the noses of those planes to drop down. The pilots were not properly trained to deal with this malfunction.
Common causes of fatal airplane accidents
Defective parts are a leading cause of airplane crashes. Sometimes those parts have a design or manufacturing error, or the parts are not properly maintained. Other causes of fatal accidents include:
- Mid-air collisions with other planes, mountains, structures and birds
- Incursions on the runway (when an unauthorized aircraft, vehicle or person is on the runway)
- Negligence on behalf of the pilots
- Negligence on behalf of air traffic control
Accidents and injuries in airports like LAX
Most aviation-related injuries are not related to crashes. People can be seriously injured before they even step foot on a plane.
LAX is the fourth busiest airport in the world, serving more than 87.5 million passengers at 132 gates in nine different terminals. Per LAX’s website, it employs about 59,000 people directly.
With so many moving parts, accidents at LAX are inevitable, but smaller airports also have these risks. Contact McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP if you have sustained injuries in any California airport from:
- Slips, trips, and falls on wet or broken flooring, down sets stairs or escalators, over improperly laid rugs, or on automated people movers
- Broken handrails
- Slippery ramps
- Collisions with baggage carts
- Shuttle bus accidents
- Oversized gaps between the plane and passenger boarding bridge
Other Los Angeles area airports
McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP also handles claims arising from injuries at any private or commercial airport, including:
- Bakersfield Meadows Field
- Hollywood Burbank
- John Wayne SNA
- LA Ontario
- Long Beach
- Palm Springs
- Palmdale Regional Airport
- San Diego
- Santa Barbara Municipal
- Van Nuys
Common injuries on planes in Los Angeles
Aviation companies are common carriers, which means they owe their passengers a duty of care to keep them safe. While certain events are out of the airlines’ control – they cannot stop turbulence, for example – they are responsible for what happens inside the plane. You may be entitled to damages if your injuries are caused by:
- Failure to warn about turbulence by turning the seat belt lights on, or issuing a warning over the PA system
- Failure to lock drink and snack carts in place, allowing them to roll down an aisle
- Failure to supply oxygen masks or floatation devices in the event of an emergency landing or other event
- Falling carry-on luggage from compartments with broken or defective locks
- Acts of violence by airline personnel
- Defective seat backs
Failure or negligence on the part of any factor of your flight, including pilots, ground crew, manufacturers, airlines, mechanics and safety inspectors, need to be thoroughly investigated for liability.
Skilled representation for LA helicopter accident victims
Southern California is one of the most beautiful places on earth, and helicopter tours are popular with residents and tourists alike. According to a United States Helicopter Safety Team Press Release, published by Vertical, there were 121 helicopter accidents in the U.S. in 2018. The overall accident rate has dropped over the years, but the fatality rate has increased; 24% of all the crashes were fatal. These fatalities can be attributed to:
|Private or personal helicopters |
Utilities, patrol, and construction
Low altitude, loss of control of the aircraft and unintended instrument meteorological conditions contributed to about 47% of all fatal helicopter crashes.
Issues of liability in helicopter injury claims
If you or a loved one are injured while riding in a helicopter or a loved one dies in a helicopter accident, multiple parties may be held liable. The operator of the craft or the company itself would be responsible. If the cause of the accident is a defective part, the manufacturer may be liable too.
If the injuries occurred in a tour helicopter, it is critical that you bring a copy of the waiver you signed when you meet with your personal injury attorney. Tour companies often require that you sign these waivers – also called indemnity agreements, pre-injury releases and assumption of risk agreements – which supposedly prohibit you from suing in the event of an injury or death.
However, not all waivers are airtight. The waiver is designed to release the company from liability in the event of a known or inherent risk. Therefore, if the accident or crash was the result of the company or pilot’s negligence, you may still be entitled to compensation for any injuries you sustain. How the waiver is worded is an important part of your claim, so make sure you receive a copy. If the company refuses to supply it to you before you take your trip, do not get on the helicopter. If they refuse to comply with your request later, or attempt to reword the contract, the Los Angeles helicopter injury lawyers of McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP can request the signed document as part of the investigation.
Contact our Los Angeles aviation injury attorneys today
The Los Angeles aviation injury attorneys of McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP have more than 30 years of experience representing victims and their families. We have the resources you need in order to secure the most positive outcome for your case. To schedule a free consultation with an attorney, please call our office at 310.474.1582 or fill out our contact form.