Aviation Accidents

"So much of who we are is where we have been."

- William Langewiesche

The quote above is attributed to the American author and longtime pilot William Langewiesche, who knows a thing or two about flying. Some of his writing covers the topic of "human factors" in aviation, or the study of ways in which human error in the cockpit can lead to crashes.

Like Langewiesche says, so much of who we are is where we have been. Like many others, perhaps you've suffered through the heartbreak of losing a loved one, and you carry it with you. It becomes much of who you are.

You can't go back to who you were before the crash, but you can take steps toward justice.

Pursuing the rights of air crash victims is not new to the lawyers of Girardi | Keese.

Since 1972, we've handled more than 150 aviation crashes, both inside and outside the United States. Speak with us at 800-401-4530.

    General Aviation

    According to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, the rate of non-commercial fixed-wing accidents fell 12 percent in 2013. There was also an 18 percent decrease in fatal crashes.

    Over the past several decades, small plane safety has increased dramatically, but product defects, poor maintenance, pilot errors, and other safety issues continue to cause accidents.

    We help injured pilots, passengers, and the families of those who lost their lives in general aviation crashes involving small fixed-wing aircraft, such as Cessna and Piper. Learn more.

    International Air Accidents

    All aviation accidents are complicated cases. Where they happen is important, but where they are tried can make all the difference in the compensation awarded to injured people and the families of those who lost their lives.

    At Girardi | Keese, we have the experience and ability to handle aviation cases no matter where in the world they occurred. Our objectives are to get to the truth of what happened and achieve fair and just compensation for our clients.

    That often means trying the case in the U.S. whenever possible. When a plane crashed in Iran, for example, we tried the case in the U.S. Component defects were the primary issue and the manufacturer was based here. Learn more.

    Helicopter Accidents

    Helicopters are complex machines with a lot of moving parts. Helicopters often crash because of component failure, such as a design defect in the helicopter itself or a failure in the engine, turbine, rotor, or elsewhere.

    In other cases, as in many fixed-wing accidents, a helicopter crash may have been caused by pilot error or negligent maintenance.

    At Girardi | Keese, we have handled many types of helicopter cases, and have the experience, expert investigators and witnesses, and financial resources to get the facts. Learn more.

    Negligent Maintenance

    Pilots do "walk-arounds" of aircraft prior to taking flight. This is the pre-flight inspection. Pilots typically inspect the control surfaces (the ailerons, for example), among other things, such as simply making sure there's enough fuel in the tank for the flight. Though the methods may differ, both private and commercial pilots and crew should conduct thorough preflight checks.

    The reason is obvious: Conducting a proper preflight is crucial to maintaining safe operation of the aircraft - and could lead to the discovery of negligent maintenance that might cause a disaster.

    Not all aviation crashes are caused by poor maintenance, certainly, but in many cases, it was demonstrated as the primary cause. Learn more.

    Design Defects

    To some extent, there's a tug-of-war between profit and safety when it comes to the business of making airplanes.

    On one hand, manufacturers know that good design will lead to a safe and reliable aircraft. After all, a crash is bad for business.

    On the other, near-perfect design can be expensive. At some point, executives and employees may make a decision that puts profit margins ahead of safety, and in hindsight, may not even realize that the decision put the lives of pilots and passengers at risk. Learn more.

    Pilot Error

    The infamous "killing zone" of 50 to 350 flight hours is the most dangerous time for a pilot. At 50 hours of experience, for instance, a pilot knows just enough to be dangerous. At 50 hours, the pilot has confidence, but too little experience. Put another way, the chance of "pilot error" is high.

    In reality, there is always a chance of pilot error, for both high-time and low-time pilots. Safe flying requires thorough preflight checks, proper maintenance, plenty of experience, and excellent judgment. Learn more.

    Homebuilt and Experimental Aircraft

    Though historically fairly dangerous, building and flying your own aircraft can be a fulfilling activity. And, in terms of safety, there are signs of hope: According to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, homebuilt and experimental aircraft have registered the greatest improvement in accident rates as compared to the other categories.

    But that doesn't mean the activity is without its risks. A builder may improperly construct his aircraft and take his passenger on a doomed ride. There may be a fatal flaw in the design. A part may have a manufacturing defect. The pilot may not have enough experience.

    As in commercial aviation, flying has inherent risks. To minimize those risks, we must avoid poor design, negligent maintenance, and pilot error.

    Why Call Girardi | Keese?

    The aviation lawyers of Girardi | Keese, led by John Kelley Courtney and Keith D. Griffin, believe that it's important to reveal the truth behind aviation disasters. When it comes to these types of cases, the truth is not easy to find, but we have the resources, experience, and tenacity to persevere until we succeed.

    Call 800-401-4530 to speak with us today.