Dedicated to the pursuit of justice

California Aviation Accident Attorney

Although aviation is known for being one of the safest modes of transportation, accidents still occur and when they do, the consequences are often serious, or even deadly. At CaseyGerry, we provide highly-skilled representation to California aviation accident victims and their families.

With an outstanding record in aviation litigation, our attorneys possess the industry knowledge and experience necessary to help clients successfully navigate even the most complex of cases.

Why You Need a Lawyer after an Aviation Accident

Aviation is one of the most highly regulated and specialized industries in the country. When a disaster occurs, they demand an immediate investigation and require familiarity with state, federal, and international laws.

These complex legal matters should be handled by a personal injury law firm with the necessary experience, as quickly as possible. As with all personal injury cases, within the first week, critical physical evidence can be lost, and witnesses may be difficult to locate or could start forgetting important details. 

Having legal representation will also prevent you from having to deal with the airline’s insurance company or corporate attorneys. Ensuring that you have someone on your side working hard to see you recoup any losses and damages you’ve sustained and recover from your injuries. 

Why Choose Our Firm 

At CaseyGerry, we have litigated aviation cases for over 50 years, giving us first-hand knowledge of what it takes to pursue these types of claims. We have recovered billions of dollars in compensation on behalf of injured clients and their families and will work tirelessly to see that you are compensated fairly and fully. 

Our attorneys know how to work with government agencies, such as the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), that investigate aviation accidents, in order to quickly gain access to any evidence they have, such as: 

  • Flight plans
  • Voice recorders from the cockpit
  • Records from the air traffic control tower
  • Aircraft inspection and maintenance reports
  • Photos and videos of the accident
  • Training records for pilots and crew members
  • Records from the manufacturer of the aircraft about design and testing

Additionally, we have the resources to gather a team of independent experts who can reconstruct and analyze the incident. For the purpose of determining which parties can be held liable for your injuries, and to find any evidence of negligence that the authorities may have missed. 

We have represented clients in a wide variety of aviation cases in California, including ones that involve large and small airplanes, pilot training, chartered flights, banner towing operations, air races, helicopters, parachutes, gliders, and more. All of which require a deep understanding of aviation technicalities, such as piloting, airline operations, and weather and traffic control. 

Common Causes of Aviation Accidents

Aviation accidents can be the result of a variety of factors, but some of the most common include the following:

  • Pilot Error: approximately 50 percent of all plane crashes are due to pilot error, making it the most common cause of aviation accidents. Pilots have an extremely complex and difficult job, as aircraft have dozens of gauges and readouts that must be monitored. Any instance of miscalculation or a misreading can lead to a devastating crash. Other examples of pilot error include failing to follow FAA regulations, such as logging too many flight hours, falling asleep while in flight, being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, etc. 
  • Air Traffic Controller Error: when an aircraft operates, the pilot relies on support from ground control regarding critical information such as weather, fuel, and scheduling takeoffs and landings. If either of them fails to communicate, or the air traffic controller gives the wrong information, an accident may be the result.
  • Mechanical Defect or Failure: a mechanical defect or failure of any of the hundreds of separate systems that make up an airplane can cause a dangerous situation. These can occur due to the plane having a faulty design, a manufacturing defect, failure to properly maintain the aircraft, or when the maintenance completed is poorly done.
  • Weather: flying in severe weather conditions increases the risk of an accident occurring. Airplanes can be difficult to maneuver in low visibility conditions, such as fog or snow, or when there are high winds. 
  • Other Causes:  any other cause of aviation accidents, such as poor runway maintenance, sabotage (hijacking),  and surprisingly birds. Birds can get sucked into engines on takeoff, which can disable a plane and may force a pilot to make an emergency landing or crash.

Who Can Be Held Liable in an Aviation Accident? 

A number of different parties can be held liable for injuries or death related to an aviation accident, such as the following:

  • Airline Companies: All airlines have a duty to protect passengers. If a company fails, for example, by not regularly maintaining an aircraft or properly vetting their employees, they will be responsible for contributing to a serious and preventable crash. 
  • Pilots: pilots have a duty to operate airplanes in a safe and reasonable manner. If they fail to meet that duty or do not have the proper certifications for the aircraft they are flying, they can be liable for a resulting accident.
  • Other employees: the flight staff is required to be trained in emergency preparedness. Failing to ensure passenger safety in a dangerous in-flight situation could make them liable for any injuries. 
  • Maintenance and runway crews: these crews have responsibilities related to loading and docking commercial planes, maintenance, and pre-flight safety checks. If due diligence is not observed, they may be responsible if a flight is compromised. 
  • Airports: also play a role in ensuring passenger safety. They may be liable if, for instance, they fail to properly perform security screenings of passengers, or arrange safe transfers from the aircraft to the terminal.  
  • Air traffic control and the FAA: if there is an error in communicating leading to an accident. For example, by failing to clear a runway, mistiming takeoffs and landings, sending a plane into air space that is already occupied, or failing to take dangerous weather conditions into account. 
  • Airplane manufacturers: may be responsible for accidents caused by defective parts or a poorly designed plane. For example, they may have added features without testing them or failed to inspect the final product. 

Which parties can be held responsible will depend upon the nature of the accident. Personal injury or wrongful death claims that arise from aviation accidents typically fall under two different theories: negligence or product liability. 

Negligence

An injured passenger or their family member must be able to demonstrate that the defendant failed to provide the care that another reasonable person would have done under similar circumstances, and they suffered injuries as a result. Airline companies, pilots, maintenance crews, other employees, air traffic control, and airports are often subject to negligence claims following an accident. 

Product Liability

Under this theory, manufacturers or sellers of defective parts can be legally liable if one of those products fail and was responsible for another person’s injury or death. 

In some cases, there may be multiple liable parties, making matters even more complicated. 

We are Dedicated to Our Clients

If you or a member of your family suffered injury or death as a result of an aviation accident in California, contact CaseyGerry. Rather than accept a quick and unfair settlement that will likely be offered by an airline’s insurance company, we will fight for the compensation you deserve.

Call (619) 238-1811 or message us online to schedule your free consultation.