If you or a loved one have been involved in a plane crash, helicopter accident, or an incident involving another type of aircraft, the California aviation accident lawyers of Bisnar Chase can help.
Planes and helicopters have revolutionized travel, but an aviation crash can have serious consequences. Whether it is caused by technical trouble, equipment malfunction, or pilot error, an aircraft falling from the sky is likely to end in serious injuries or fatalities.
The experienced aviation attorneys at Bisnar Chase are here to help accident victims and their families fight for the compensation they deserve. We have the resources and passion required to pursue justice and win your personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.
Our firm works on a ‘No Win, No Fee’ basis and has a 99% success rate. Contact us now for a free consultation.
Types of Aircraft
People fly for a wide variety of reasons, from international flights to aerial tours of Orange County or Los Angeles. Some of the most common forms of air travel accidents include:
- Commercial airline crash
- Private plane, charter plane, or corporate flight incident
- General aviation (small personal planes)
- Military aircraft crash
- Helicopter accident
Commercial airline accidents involve scheduled flights, both international and domestic. Companies such as Delta and American Airlines run a huge number of flights, often using large passenger or cargo planes built by Boeing or Airbus.
In contrast, charter flights and corporate flights using private planes are unscheduled, and usually involve a single entity hiring an entire plane. This differs from general aviation, which mainly refers to pilots flying small personally-owned planes on short-range trips. These are non-scheduled flights, usually involving hobby flying for fun, or flying friends and family from A to B.
Helicopters are used for a range of aerial needs, from quick cross-city transport to commercial tours and police searches.
Beyond simple travel, the U.S. Army relies on a range of aerial crafts for missions, including combat and surveillance. Military aircraft range from fighter jets to transport helicopters.
All of these flight types are common in California. It doesn’t matter why you were flying; if you or a loved one has been harmed in an aircraft accident involving some form of negligence, you should take legal action. Contact our aviation accident attorneys in California for expert guidance.
Causes of Aviation Accidents
What are the top causes of aviation accidents? As with any accident involving complex machinery, there are several ways in which a catastrophic aviation disaster can occur.
- Pilot error:
Aircraft pilots have a difficult job and are responsible for the lives of their passengers. But pilots sometimes make mistakes, particularly when they are fatigued, distracted, impaired, or inexperienced. If a pilot makes a poor decision or fails to take the proper action to prevent an accident, they should be held accountable.
- Mechanical failure:
Aerial vehicles like planes and helicopters are complex pieces of machinery. Some accidents are caused by the failure of mechanical components such as engines, propellers, or landing gears.
- Runway or landing pad defects:
Most people do not think of the runway being the problem when it comes to an aircraft crash. However, a cracked or uneven surface can present a significant danger.
- Inadequate maintenance:
Planes and helicopters are just like cars and other motor vehicles in the respect that they need to be properly maintained. Proper inspections and maintenance must be carried out to prevent crafts flying with overused, outworn, or broken components.
- Violation of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations:
The FAA enforces strict regulations that must be followed at all times. These rules cover a huge range of factors, from keeping hazardous materials off of planes to decreeing safe altitudes. If these rules are violated, it could put passengers in harm’s way.
- Design or structural problems:
Problems with the design of the aircraft may not always be apparent during construction or testing. If a design or structural issue contributes to an air accident, an aviation accident lawsuit could be filed.
- Air traffic controller error:
It is the job of an air traffic controller to direct and coordinate incoming and outgoing aircraft safely and without delays. This is a vital job, and any mistakes can result in dangerous situations and potential accidents, particularly in the airspace around airports.
- Passenger problems:
In rare cases, the actions of a passenger could jeopardize the safe flight of an aircraft and put passengers at risk. An example of this could be an act of terrorism from someone onboard a plane.
- Weather and other causes:
In some cases, a no-fault aviation accident may occur. There have been examples of accidents being caused by severe weather conditions, or by birds flying into jet engines. In most cases, these rare instances are unavoidable.
Liability in Aircraft Accidents
Various parties could be liable for an aircraft disaster. If you have been involved in an incident caused by negligence or wrongdoing, you may file an aviation accident lawsuit against one or more of the parties listed below.
It is the job of your aviation accident lawyer to prove negligence and make sure the person or company responsible is held accountable. By doing so, we can make sure the victims are properly compensated for their injuries or losses.
- An individual
In some instances, the actions of an individual will make them personally liable. This may be the case with a pilot or passenger whose negligent behavior has caused an accident. Pilot error is one of the leading causes of aircraft crashes, and the pilot could be held liable – especially if they are operating a private craft.
- The airline
Depending on the circumstances of a commercial plane or helicopter crash, the airline or operating company might be deemed responsible. If the negligence of the airline or its employees have caused the crash, a lawsuit could be filed.
- Aircraft manufacturer
If an accident is caused or influenced by the design of the craft, by poor construction, or by the use of faulty components, the vehicle or parts manufacturers could be held liable in a product liability lawsuit.
- Craft owner
In the case of private planes and helicopters, ultimate liability will often rest with the craft owner. This is the case if they have not fulfilled their responsibilities to hire a competent crew, make sure their vehicle is properly maintained, or abide by all safety regulations.
- Maintenance workers/companies
Proper maintenance is vital to keep crafts in the sky. If the airline or flight operations company fails to ensure proper maintenance, they will be liable for an accident. However, if maintenance is carried out but the work is sub-standard, there may be a liability issue for those responsible for working on the vehicle.
- Airport operators and air traffic controllers
Airport operators, including federal air traffic controllers, are responsible for coordinating takeoffs, landings, and the airspace around the airport. A mistake could see the airport (including the air traffic controller) named at fault.
In a lot of aviation crash cases, there will be multiple instances of overlapping liability. If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident, contact the California aviation accident lawyers of Bisnar Chase.
It is important to work with experts who have handled countless personal injury cases and wrongful death claims. Our injury attorneys will assess the incident and work with you to make sure those responsible are held to account.
Aviation Accident Injuries
By their very nature, aviation accidents usually result in severe injuries or death. Some of the most common injuries associated with plane and helicopter crashes include:
- Broken bones
- Head and brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Emotional trauma
In many cases, aviation incidents result in fatalities. If this happens, the families of those who have been lost may be able to file wrongful death lawsuit claims on behalf of their loved ones.
Aviation Accident Case Studies
Unfortunately, there have been several examples of victims being injured or killed in aviation accidents in California. These incidents mostly involved smaller planes and helicopters and occurred due to a variety of different factors.
All Passengers Killed as Airplane Crash Lands in Parking Lot
When: August 2018 / Where: Santa Ana, Orange County, CA
A plane with five people on board hurtled into a sudden nosedive before crashing into a busy parking lot in Santa Ana. The plane was headed for John Wayne Airport, but the pilot declared an emergency before reaching his destination. As the plane reached the ground, it crashed into several parked cars in a strip mall lot. No one on the ground was hurt, but the five people on board were killed on impact.
Five Victims Killed and Two Injured as Plane Crashed into Southern California Home
When: February 2019 / Where: Yorba Linda, Orange County, CA
Five people were killed when a small twin-engine plane plummeted from the sky and smashed into a house in Yorba Linda. The plane, which only had the pilot onboard, took off from Fullerton but started to break apart in mid-air after flying through a patch of poor weather. It started to dive toward the ground, trailing smoke and flames, before crashing directly into a house with four people inside.
Nine People – Including NBA Legend Kobe Bryant – Killed in Helicopter Crash
When: January 2020 / Where: Calabasas, Los Angeles County, CA
A helicopter with nine people on board crashed into a hillside while traveling to a youth basketball tournament in Thousand Oaks. The chopper was carrying Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant and his teenage daughter Gianna, as well as two other teens due to play in the tournament, and four parents. The helicopter ran into thick fog, before suddenly dipping and hitting the hillside at high speed.
Other Aviation Accidents in California:
2006 – Bell 412 Helicopter named Mercy Air 2
Private air ambulance Mercy Air crashed into mountain terrain near Hesperia. The pilot and two medical crew members were killed.
2008 – F/A-18 Hornet Crash
A military jet crashed into a residential area near San Diego. The pilot ejected but three houses were damaged or destroyed, and eight residents were killed.
2009 – Lockheed HC-130H Hercules (Coast Guard Plane) v AH-1W Super Cobra (U.S. Marine Corps Helicopter)
A Coast Guard craft on a rescue mission and a military chopper on a training flight collided in mid-air near San Clemente Island. All nine people involved were killed.
2014 – VSS Enterprise
The VSS Enterprise – an experimental craft designed for space tourism – crashed during a test flight over the Mojave Desert. One pilot was killed, another was seriously injured.
2020 – Delta Flight 89
The Delta flight took off from LAX but suffered engine trouble and was forced to dump fuel and return to the airport. While the plane landed safely, the dumped fuel landed on populated areas, causing a different form of aviation accident injuries for 56 people.
The statistics show that air travel is among the safest forms of travel. But it is not devoid of dangers. Here are some of the key facts and figures relating to aircraft accidents:
- More than 50 million flights take place every year (including both commercial and unscheduled)
- The annual number of passengers traveling by plane tops 4 billion worldwide
- The odds of being in a fatal plane crash are 1 in 205,552 according to the US National Safety Council (compared to 1 in 102 for car crashes)
- The top cause of airplane accidents is human error by the pilot or flight crew
- Fatal helicopter crash rates increased from 2016-2019
- The fatality rate – including all aircraft types – is 0.84 fatal accidents for every 100,000 flight hours
The number of total aviation accidents, including everything from huge airlines to single-seater private planes, is broken down by year below. The vast majority of the accidents listed (94%) occur through general aviation. This means that smaller planes are far more likely to crash or suffer mechanical faults than larger commercial flights.
The graph below shows the number of deaths related to the major forms of transport over a one-year period – including aviation accident fatalities. Car accident victims are not included, due to the sheer number of incidents; there were 13,477 car accident deaths in the U.S. in 2017.
The figures show that more people die as a result of car, motorcycle, train and boat accidents. But air incidents still claim hundreds of victims per year.
When it comes to aviation accidents specifically, the following figures show the most common causes of airplane incidents, broken down by percentage.
Errors made by the pilot of flight crew accounts for more than half of all incidents, while mechanical failure is also a significant cause. Weather is a factor in many crashes, but is rarely the sole cause.
Aviation Accident Lawyers in California
As you can see from the case studies above, there have been plenty of aviation accidents in the skies above California in recent years.
Crashes can be deadly, not only to those on board but to unsuspecting victims on the ground if a crash occurs in a populated area.
Southern California has a huge number of airports – easily exceeding 100. These include everything from major operations running international flights to the many smaller bases used only by private planes.
The most used airports across Southern California include:
- Los Angeles International (LAX)
- San Diego International Airport
- Long Beach Airport
- John Wayne Airport (Santa Ana)
- Bob Hope Airport (Burbank)
Aviation Accident Laws
There are a huge number of laws governing our skies. From regulations on flying height and airport landing approaches, enforced by the FAA, to strict aircraft maintenance rules established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Different laws will apply, depending on the type of aircraft involved.
When it comes to accidents, aviation incidents are treated very similarly to other personal injury claims in the eyes of the law. This means that aviation accident victims have the right to take legal action when injuries have been sustained due to negligence.
A plaintiff can hire an experienced aviation accident attorney to investigate the incident. They will build a case using evidence to prove fault, allowing them to file a lawsuit against one or more liable parties – such as the pilot, the airline, or a plane manufacturer.
In some cases, a federal employee such as an air traffic controller could be to blame for the accident. This may involve a slightly different process using the Federal Tort Claims Act. The aviation laws can be a minefield, and victims should trust an experienced lawyer to navigate their case.
For guidance on your aviation lawsuit, and to maximize your chances of securing the best compensation payout possible, contact the California aviation accident attorneys of Bisnar Chase now.
Aviation Accident Lawsuit FAQs
If you or a loved one have been involved in an aircraft accident, you probably have questions. Refer to our frequently asked questions below, and do not hesitate to contact our experts for legal advice if you need more information.
No. If an injury is sustained in any form of aviation accident as a result of negligent behavior, liability applies. A crash does not need to have occurred for a lawsuit to be filed. For example, if overhead luggage was not properly secured and injures a passenger, the airline could be liable due to flight crew negligence.
You have two years from the date of an accident to file a lawsuit, according to the California statute of limitations. We know that an aircraft accident can be potentially devastating, and legal timelines will not be your primary concern. Let Bisnar Chase work for you and share the load.
You may be able to take legal action on behalf of a loved one. If a person dies in an aviation crash, their family members can seek aviation accident compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. They may be compensated for the relationship and support they have lost.
At Bisnar Chase we provide a free consultation with no obligations and a ‘No Win, No Fee’ guarantee. If we do not win your case, we don’t get paid. Contact Bisnar Chase at www.BestAttorney.com or call (800) 561-4887.
No Win, No Fee Aviation Attorneys
It can be a huge benefit to victims and their family members to hire a law firm that works on contingency, also known as offering a ‘No Win, No Fee’ promise. But how does a ‘No Win, No Fee’ guarantee really work?
Essentially it means that all costs relating to your case – from filing paperwork to carrying out investigations and hiring experts to give technical testimony – are advanced.
Bisnar Chase will cover these costs, helping to make sure that victims are not left paying out of pocket. If we win, we will receive a pre-agreed percentage of the settlement or verdict to cover our expenses, with the rest of the money going straight to the victim or family. If we do not win for you, we will not receive a penny.
Hiring the Right Injury Lawyer
Aviation accident cases can be complicated, often involving significant crashes and lengthy investigations. That’s why hiring the best aviation lawyers in California is vital. The helicopter and airplane accident attorneys at Bisnar Chase have a long and well-established record of success when it comes to dealing with personal injury and wrongful death claims.
We put in the hours to build the strongest case possible for you. We will leave no stone unturned, carrying out our own investigations to establish liability in your case. Our firm has been operating for more than 40 years, establishing an outstanding 99% success rate. To date, we have won more than $650 million for our clients.
Our law firm has secured top results throughout California and has offices in Newport Beach, Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino. We take pride in securing the communities in Orange County Los Angeles County, and throughout Southern California.
Our top-rated team is skilled and compassionate, and believes in offering superior representation.