San Diego Aviation Accident Attorneys

CaseyGerry has been handling complex aviation accident litigation for over 50 years, helping families and individuals move forward after high-profile incidents, including the Reno Air Show catastrophe, the Asiana Airlines disaster in San Francisco, and San Diego’s historic PSA crash.

Call: 619-832-0590

CaseyGerry Has Handled Numerous 7 and 8 figure aviation cases to conclusion. 

Exemplar cases we have handled include:

  • Representation of individuals who were passengers in the Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crash at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) where the pilots crashed the Boeing 777 commercial plane upon landing, injuring hundreds of passengers.
  • Representation of victims injured as a result of unsafe modifications made to an upgraded World War II era P-51D Mustang Fighter plane while it was racing at the Reno Air Show.  CaseyGerry was successful in recovering over $10 million for its clients who were injured when the plane malfunctioned and crashed into the spectator section.
  • Representation of a family in the tragic death of a father and husband, a Qualcomm executive, killed in a midair collision on August 16, 2015.  He was piloting a Cessna 172 when it was struck by a Saberliner aircraft being operated on a military mission by BAE Systems, Inc.  The defendants in the action included the international corporation responsible for air traffic control at Brown Field Municipal Airport in San Diego County.  
  • Representation of a 12-year boy who was spending a day on the beach on the 4th of July in Carlsbad when he was struck by an airplane landing on the beach.  As a result of the carelessness of the pilot operating a Piper PA 18 Super Cub while towing an advertising banner over the coast on that 4th of July, engine trouble developed and the pilot landed on the beach on one of the most crowded days of the year, tragically striking the young boy who was playing in the shallow surf.
  • Representation of a San Diego resident and his wife when he was injured while piloting a Piper Comanche when an instrument software malfunction developed.
  • Ongoing representation of a family in San Diego who lost their father when a Cessna 182 airplane developed engine failure and was enveloped by smoke in the cockpit and oil on the windscreen causing the ensuing crash.
  • Ongoing representation of a family whose father passed away in a crash on September 3, 2015 while flying a Piper Cherokee with his certified flight instructor.  Engine failure caused the plane to crash into a neighborhood in Santee, near Gillespie Field, resulting in the death of both our client and the flight instructor.
  • Representation of the family of a decorated Navy Seal tragically killed while in a training exercise in San Diego County when his parachute unexpectedly deployed while he was still inside the aircraft.
  • Ongoing representation of a pilot’s wife in a helicopter crash occurring in Fresno, California on December 10, 2015.
  • Representation of a pilot in a tow plane whose aircraft crashed following careless operation of the glider airplane being towed.

To learn more about the scope of our aviation practice and our talented legal team, please contact us.

Casey Gerry has been handling complex aviation litigation cases for over 50 years, helping families and individuals move forward after high profile incidents, including numerous small airplane engine failure cases and in-flight midair collisions.  We were involved in San Diego’s historic tragedy involving the PSA crash and recently were one of the lead lawyers in the Reno Air Show catastrophe, as well as representation of clients in the Asian Airlines crash in San Francisco.  We have handled litigation related to engine failure, commercial airline actions, corporate aircraft, air racing, helicopters, banner towing, defective military equipment, and much more.

At Casey Gerry, we remain current at the forefront of knowledge of aviation law.  Several of our attorneys have completed private ground school, including Scott Cummins who flew as a licensed pilot and has specialized in aviation litigation for over 40 years.  Our team working together in the aviation area includes managing partner David Casey, Robert Francavilla (San Diego Trial Lawyer of the Year 2016), Scott Cummins, Jason Evans, and Adam Levine.

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 financial wherewithal to represent our clients against defendants and corporations that can be powerful and financially strong.

We understand the complexities of aviation law and work closely with our clients to help them find the right answers.  The challenges in aviation cases are unique and, having litigated many cases, we are better able to help our clients through the challenges that can be presented from federal and state preemption, coordinating litigation with ongoing investigations with the National Transportation Safety Board, to analyzing highly technical issues involved in aircraft maintenance, flight procedures, weather patterns, computer instrument performance, and engine performance.  We work with the leading experts in the United States to address these issues.

At CaseyGerry, we pride ourselves on thorough investigations and analysis, leaving no stone unturned and holding the responsible parties accountable. Using our time-tested and proven process, we help victims and their families maximize their recovery of damages, including lost wages, medical expenses, and fair compensation for their pain and suffering. We move quickly, stay aware of any changes to state and federal laws and court systems that affect our clients — and most importantly, we treat each client with compassion through their loss and trauma.

More and more people are getting on airplanes each year, meaning the likelihood of unforeseen disaster is increasing.

When a crash occurs – whether it is of a small private aircraft or a massive airliner – catastrophic injury and wrongful death often ensue. Families who face these outcomes often search for answers. At CaseyGerry we work closely with our clients to find them.

As San Diego’s oldest plaintiff’s law firm, we bring our extensive experience and knowledge in serious personal injury and product liability cases into the courtroom for our clients, whether an individual or a group of victims. The challenges in an aviation accident case are complex because so many elements are involved – from a multitude of federal and state agencies to aircraft maintenance issues. Our aviation accident attorneys will take into account the finest details – from weather to the wreckage itself. Were maintenance standards ignored or was there a design flaw? Were there air control oversights or pilot error?

Airplane Safety Tips

Whether you are flying in a small single engine plane or a 747, a safe, smooth flight is everyone’s priority. While most airplanes are safe, you can make your flight even safer by following these guidelines:

  • Pay attention to the flight attendant safety briefing at the beginning of your flight and read the safety briefing card.
  • Buckle up. Keep you and your family safe by wearing a seat belt at all times while seated. It is especially important to keep your belt fasted during take-off landing, taxiing, turbulence, and whenever the fasten seatbelt sign is illuminated.
  • Use an approved child safety seat or device if your child weighs less than 40 pounds.
  • Keep overhead storage bins free of heavy articles, if possible, since a falling heavy bag can cause serious injuries.
  • Do not bring any hazardous materials onboard
  • Follow the airline’s carry-on restrictions.
  • Follow the airline’s Portable Electronic Device (PED) policy.

For more information on flight safety, visit //

Who is most commonly the responsible party in an aviation case?
Responsibility varies depending on the circumstances, but liability most commonly falls on one or more of the following parties: the owner of the aircraft; the pilot; the manufacturer or designer of the aircraft or one of its component parts; a maintenance or service provider; or a leasing company.

Who plays a role in the investigation?

While CaseyGerry conducts its own investigation using our teamof experts, several federal agencies also conduct investigations following crashes or other incidents involving aircraft safety.

These agencies can include the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) which is a federal agency that investigates a wide variety of transportation-related crashes or safety problems, including those involving aircraft. The NTSB normally takes control of any wreckage or remains of an aircraft involved in a crash, and releases it to any parties involved in aviation accident litigation after the government’s investigation is concluded.

While the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) typically governs aircraft safety and sets regulations for civilian aviation, the FAA’s Office of Accident Investigation and Prevention may also be involved in post-incident investigations,

In some cases, such as if sabotage or a criminal act is suspected, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) may also play a role.

What is the NTSB and its role?

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency. It is responsible for investigating every civil aviation crash or significant safety-related incident in the United States – and charged with determining the probable cause, promoting safety, and assisting victims and their families.

What is the FAA and its role?

The Federal Aviation Act of 1958 created the Federal Aviation Agency. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) adopted its present name in 1967 when it became a part of the Department of Transportation. The agency’s major roles include:

  • Regulating civil aviation to promote safety
  • Encouraging and developing civil aeronautics, including new aviation technology
  • Developing and operating a system of air traffic control and navigation for both civil and military aircraft
  • Researching and developing the National Airspace System and civil aeronautics
  • Developing and carrying out programs to control aircraft noise and other environmental effects of civil aviation
  • Regulating U.S. commercial space transportation

What is the sterile cockpit rule?

The sterile cockpit rule was first introduced in 1981 by the FAA after a series of incidents caused by flight crews becoming distracted by unnecessary conversations and activities during the flight.

Federal statutes, including Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) 121.542 and 135.100 state that:

  • “No certificate holder shall require, nor may any flight crewmember perform, any duties during a critical phase of flight except those duties required for the safe operation of the aircraft.”
  • “No flight crewmember may engage in, nor may any pilot in command permit, any activity during a critical phase of flight which could distract any flight crewmember from the performance of his or her duties or which could interfere in any way with the proper conduct of those duties.”
  • “[C]ritical phases of flight include[] all ground operations involving taxi, takeoff and landing, and all other flight operations conducted below 10,000 feet, except cruise flight.”

What are the most common causes of a plane crash?

According to recent statistics, the five most common causes are pilot error; mechanical failure; weather; sabotage; and human error including mistakes by air traffic controllers, dispatchers, fuelers, or engineers.

What are different types of aviation cases?

There are two basic types: commercial aviation cases involving companies who transport passengers for a fee and general aviation cases involving privately-owned aircraft.

What kind of insurance do aircraft operators carry?

With “general aviation” – involving privately-owned aircraft – the minimum coverage is $100,000 per passenger. Commercial aviation policies vary, but are regulated by FAA standards.

Is there a statute of limitations with aviation claims?

There are timing and venue factors which are important in aviation lawsuits. While there is no statute of limitations specific to aviation accident cases, there may be various statutes of limitations that apply, depending on the type of liability involved. Also, sometimes a legal concept called a “statute of repose” can come into play, limiting the time a lawsuit can be filed based on how long a part or the aircraft has been in service. The time period varies – depending on the jurisdiction.