According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) helicopters have a higher crash rate than other aircraft. This fact can be attributed to risky operations that helicopters are involved in like medical evacuations, search and rescue, thrill-seeking and military operations. There is also a higher risk for potential malfunction from parts that are in constant motion like the main rotor, tail rotor, drive shaft and control instruments. A helicopter accident happens about 35% more often than other general aviation aircraft and commercial airplane accidents at a rate of 9.84 per 100,000 hours of flight time. If you or a family member is suffering from injuries in the wake of a devastating helicopter crash, you have the right to pursue legal action for negligence against those who are at fault.
If you have been injured in a helicopter accident as a passenger you need to understand your rights, the limited statute of limitations for legal action and the liability of the pilot, the flight company or helicopter components manufacturer. You need proper legal representation from an experienced aviation attorney with extensive knowledge in all general aviation aircraft accidents. The advocates at Johnson Attorneys Group have won thousands of cases in California and have the necessary resources to help you win or successfully settle your case.
What Causes a Helicopter Crash?
There are many different factors that can contribute to a helicopter accident. Different aviation agencies and federal, state and local law enforcement officials may be involved with the investigation depending on the details and location of the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators will determine how and why the aircraft crashed. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) enforces US regulations for airport operation and aircraft manufacturers and may also become involved in the accident investigation. Here are some common helicopter accident causes:
- Weather Conditions – Inclement weather can be a major factor in a helicopter accident. Fog, strong winds, heavy rain, hail or unexpected snowfall presents a pilot with challenges that can contribute to an accident.
- Mechanical or Electrical Failure – Mechanical and electrical components that are poorly manufactured, improperly maintained or misused can cause a malfunction resulting in a helicopter accident.
- Pilot Negligence – Human error like unsafe operation, failure to comply with rules or regulations, an improper pre-flight check or a misjudged landing are all preventable causes of helicopter crashes due to pilot negligence.
Helicopter Accident Injuries
Helicopter crash victims often suffer very serious trauma and sometimes life-threatening injuries that require emergency medical care and may require long-term rehabilitation and medical treatment. Some common helicopter accident injuries include:
- Spinal Cord Injuries – A spinal cord injury can occur from loss of blood supply or traumatic damage to the spine or neck causing partial or complete loss of muscle function and sensation. Injuries to the spinal cord in the neck can cause quadriplegia (paralysis of both the arms and legs). Lower back spinal cord injuries can cause paraplegia (paralysis of the legs).
- Burn Injuries – Exposure to flames, fuel, and flammable gases can severely damage delicate skin and tissue. Painful third-degree burns sustained in a helicopter crash can cause swelling, blisters, scarring or disfigurement, shock and sometimes death. Inhalation injury can also occur from breathing in smoke from the crash scene.
- Brain Injuries – Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) occurs when the brain collides with the skull from the sheer force of impact or if the head is struck or penetrated by an object. Near drowning incidents can occur if the helicopter goes down over a body of water, lack of oxygen may cause survivors to sustain severe neurologic morbidity.
- Lower Extremity Injuries – Extremity trauma in the hip, knee and ankle joints and thigh, leg and foot bones are common in helicopter accidents due to the force of vertical velocity impact as the helicopter crashes down to earth. Injury to the lower limbs can include fracture, sprain, contusion or even amputation.
If you or a family member has sustained injuries as a passenger in a helicopter accident, do not hesitate to call an experienced aviation lawyer to help safeguard your legal rights and ensure you get the maximum compensation for any expenses incurred as a result of the accident:
- Medical Expenses including Rehabilitation
- Future Medical Expenses and Cost of Life Care
- Loss Wages and Future Loss or Income Reduction
- Pain and Suffering
- Funeral Expenses
- Loss of Consortium (damages suffered by a spouse or family member)
- Punitive Damages (if defendant displayed an intent to harm or disregard safety)
You Need More Than Just an Attorney – You Need a Helicopter Accident Advocate
Litigation for helicopter accidents may involve many different legal issues, it is important to choose legal representation by an experienced general aviation personal injury attorney to work effectively with investigating officials and insurance companies. If you or someone you love is dealing with serious injuries resulting from a helicopter crash, it is very important to take action and contact an experienced, qualified aviation accident injury attorney to assemble your legal case so you can begin healing and the process of moving forward. Call Johnson Attorneys Group at 1-800-208-3538 for your complimentary, free case review. Learn more about clients we’ve helped by viewing our case results.