Dedicated to the pursuit of justice

Aviation Litigation

San Diego Aviation Accident Attorneys

Over 50 Years of Aviation Litigation Experience – Experience When It Matters Most

As San Diego’s oldest plaintiff’s law firm, we have extensive experience representing the people and families tragically affected by serious aviation accidents. We use that experience to navigate the complexity of aviation cases. This includes understanding various factors that might have been involved, from poor maintenance or faulty parts to air traffic controller or pilot error.

We coordinate the pursuit of these cases with ongoing governmental investigations to gain access to the wreckage and other evidence as soon as possible. We also bring together a team of experts to analyze and reconstruct the incident, to find out what happened, who is responsible, and who must be held accountable.

Our personal injury attorneys also represent clients who have sustained injuries related to other types of air travel incidents. Airports, airlines, and their employees have a duty to keep passengers safe from harm and to keep their premises free from dangerous conditions. Air travel passengers who suffer injuries due to someone else’s negligence deserve to be compensated.

First-Hand Knowledge

Aviation litigation has many complex legal issues and can involve state, federal, and international laws, depending on the case facts. Understanding the laws and relevant legal elements is critical for a successful aviation accident claim.

Beyond knowledge of the applicable laws, aviation litigation is highly technical. Your injury claim should only be entrusted to an attorney who has a thorough understanding of aviation technicalities, such as weather and traffic control, piloting, and airline operations.

At CaseyGerry, we are at the forefront of aviation litigation. We have handled aviation cases involving small and large airplanes, helicopters, gliders, parachutes, pilot training, chartered flights, air races, banner towing operations, and more.

Additionally, several of our attorneys have completed private ground school and have been in the cockpit, including Scott Cummins who flew as a licensed pilot and has specialized in aviation litigation for more than 40 years. Working with Scott Cummins, our aviation team includes managing partner David S. Casey, Jr., Robert J. Francavilla (San Diego Trial Lawyer of the Year 2016), Jason C. Evans, and Adam B. Levine.

Airplane Injury Liability

Determining liability in aviation accidents can be complicated, especially when you do not know the cause of the accident. Airlines and airports sometimes remain quiet for months and sometimes years after an accident regarding causation and important relevant facts. Injured passengers and their families often get the run around when they reach out with accident inquiries.

To further complicate matters, multiple parties may be responsible for airplane accidents, and potential defendants are quick to blame other parties. Depending on your case facts, responsible parties may include one or more of the following:

  • Airlines
  • Airports
  • Maintenance crews
  • Pilots and other employees
  • Air traffic control and the FAA
  • Airplane manufacturers

Liable parties often have significant resources and powerful legal representation. Defendant insurance companies are typically responsible for paying injury claims, and they can be challenging to work with. To ensure that your case and right to compensation is protected, you need experienced and knowledgeable attorneys who are not afraid to take on heavily resourced defendants.

Insurance Company Interviews And Negotiations

If you have been injured or lost a loved one in an airplane accident, you should be aware that defendant insurance companies are never on your side. Their goal, especially in accidents involving multiple injury victims, is to settle your injury claim for the least amount possible.

Insurance companies cannot be trusted to provide you with any information that helps your claim. Not only are they not required to tell you the cause of the accident, but they are also not required to tell you how much compensation you are entitled to receive. Your attorney will help value your injuries and damages so that you do not accept a settlement offer that does not fully and fairly compensate you and your family.

Insurance companies will often contact you soon after the accident before you have even had a chance to speak with an attorney. These calls are designed to benefit the insurance company, and they can be detrimental to your case. Adjusters often try to use something you said in a phone call to reduce the value of or deny your claim. They might also attempt to pressure you into accepting an unfair settlement offer.

You will not have to communicate or negotiate directly with defendants and their insurance companies when you have legal representation. Your attorney will handle the negotiations and advise you on the adequacy and fairness of settlement offers. Plaintiffs who have experienced legal representation typically secure larger settlements than those who handle claims on their own.

Common Causes Of Aviation Accidents

As previously mentioned, determining the cause of an airplane accident can be difficult, especially when potential defendants are not forthcoming with information. Your attorney will investigate your accident, hire necessary aviation experts, and interview witnesses to narrow down the cause of the accident. See below for common causes and contributing factors in aviation accidents.

  • Pilot Error – Needless to say, pilots have immense responsibilities when it comes to air travel. They must manage preflight safety checks and precautions, communicate with and follow air traffic control orders, and make critical plane operation decisions. Factors that often contribute to pilot errors include falling asleep in flight, logging too many flight hours, intoxication, inexperience, and general judgment errors.
  • Air Traffic Control Error – Air traffic control specialists keep air traffic moving by directing and timing incoming and outgoing airplanes. They are also responsible for the control of airplane traffic on the ground. Errors can result in accidents due to failing to clear runways and landing strips, sending aircraft into occupied air space, mistiming landings and takeoffs, and failing to account for dangerous weather conditions.
  • Airport and Airline Negligence – Airports and airlines play a significant role in ensuring passenger safety. The importance of employee training and their execution of duties cannot be overstated. Competent passenger security screening is also crucial to passenger safety. Preflight safety procedures and precautions must be strictly adhered to, including required safety inspections, airplane maintenance, and the proper loading and securing of cargo. Any airport or airline negligence can lead to an aviation catastrophe.
  • Manufacturing Design or Defect– Because of the potential for disaster, airplane manufacturers are held to a high standard of care. Any design or manufacturing defects could impact hundreds of lives. Common defects that lead to airplane emergencies and accidents include defects with landing gear and communication devices. Other dangers may involve wing or propeller components, onboard computer systems, engines, and engine controls.

Other types of airline incidents that frequently result in passenger injuries include falling luggage in the cabin, hot tea and coffee spills, beverage cart accidents, and failing to protect passengers from other aggressive and violent passengers.

Regulations And Requirements

The airline industry is heavily regulated and is subject to government oversight. Your attorney will examine licenses, practices, policies, and records to determine if there were any noncompliance or regulation violation issues. Evidence of licensing problems, maintenance violations, and other noncompliance can be used to demonstrate the defendant’s negligence.

Compassionate and Strong

When a crash occurs, whether it is a small private aircraft or a massive airliner, it has a catastrophic impact on families. In helping families face these devastating tragedies, we are able to bring our extensive experience, history of results, and aviation knowledge to bear on our clients’ behalf. Our firm is in its 70th year and we have the resources to represent our clients against defendants and corporations that can be powerful and financially strong.

Fatal Aviation Accidents

If your loved one suffered fatal injuries in an airplane accident, our attorneys are available to discuss potential recovery options for you and your family. In some fatal injury cases, surviving family members and the decedent’s estate may seek compensation under wrongful death claims and survival actions.

Our Commitment to Clients

We understand the complexities of aviation law and work closely with our clients to help them find answers. Having litigated many cases, we help our clients through the challenges that present themselves, like coordinating litigation with ongoing investigations by the National Transportation Safety Board, fighting legal issues including preemption, and analyzing highly technical issues of maintenance and flight procedures, weather patterns, and computer and engine performance. We work with the leading experts in the United States to address these and other issues.

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