Aviation Accident Overview
Flying is generally a safe means of transportation. However, when aviation accidents do occur, they often result in serious injuries and fatalities. The most common causes of both commercial aviation and general aviation accidents include:
- Pilot error
- Mechanical failure
- Federal Aviation Administration regulations violations
- Structural or design problems
- Negligence of Flight Service Station employees
- Negligence of Federal Air Traffic Controllers
As a vertical takeoff and landing vehicle, a helicopter faces special challenges. Many fly at low altitudes, where collisions with trees, towers, tall buildings and power lines are a risk. The helicopter accident rate is nearly eight times the accident rate for commercial airlines and a third higher than the crash rate for general aviation aircraft.
Emergency Medical Service Helicopters
Emergency medical service or EMS helicopters are special helicopters used to rescue people from precarious situations or to transfer critically ill people to the hospital. They are used to evacuate people stranded on mountain tops or to rush people to distant hospitals.
Unfortunately, there has been a recent increase in EMS Helicopter crashes. Missions that are intended to save lives are resulting in the deaths of not only the people intended to be rescued but the rescuers as well. Extreme circumstances including bad weather, high altitudes, night flying and landing in hazardous landing zones contribute to the increased risk.
Descent and landing accidents account for 36% of all aviation accidents. There are five stages of the descent and landing process. These include descent, approach, landing, go-around or aborted landing, and taxi. When a problem occurs during any of the five steps, an accident could result. Although not all accidents result in death, there is an increased likelihood that injury and fatalities may occur.
Pilot error is the primary cause of all general aviation accidents. Pilot errors that have led to accidents have included disregarding weather conditions, negligent or inadequate preflight planning, inadequate flight experience, and irresponsibility during flight, faulty maneuvers, intoxication while flying or failure to follow procedures.
It's also possible that mechanical failure caused or contributed to an accident. It may be that a mechanic negligently failed to detect or properly repair a component of the plane. If a mechanical failure is the results a defect in the design or construction of an airplane or one of its components, the plaintiff may seek to establish a products liability claim against the manufacturer of the component or the airplane. To establish such a claim, the plaintiff must show that the manufacturer of the component that caused the accident failed to detect a defect in the particular component that was used in the airplane that had the accident.
Airplane accidents are incredibly complex. They may have more than one cause and numerous responsible parties. It sometimes takes months or even years for the exact cause or causes to be determined. It is thus important to consult an experienced aviation attorney who can evaluate your claim, research the facts, and help you recover the compensation to which you are entitled.