Girardi | Keese

NTSB Announces Decision After Fatal 2011 Copter Crash, Part 2

The last post brought an update on the NTSB's investigation into a fatal helicopter wreck that killed three people back in 2011. The NTSB concluded that the pilot made a dangerous and faulty decision to continue the flight despite bad weather for which the copter was not certified.

Even when the responsible party is a victim of a fatal crash, other parties may share liability to the other victims' families in a wrongful death suit. The legal doctrine that makes this possible is called "respondeat superior." 

Respondeat superior applies when an employee somehow injures another person while in furtherance of his or her employment duties. The exact details vary widely depending upon the law that governs an individual case-but, generally, this means that companies are responsible for personal injury or wrongful death claims involving their employees mistakes committed while on the job.

In a case like this, the doctrine would likely apply to make the helicopter pilot's employer liable to the victims of the crash.

Source: ModernHealthcare.com, "NTSB rules in 2011 Mayo Clinic helicopter crash," Jennifer Kay, 19 June, 2013

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