Bay Area Air Traffic Control Lawyer

In their thirty-five years of experience handling Bay Area aviation accident lawsuits, the lawyers at Sterns & Walker have handled numerous accidents attributable to negligence on the part of air traffic controllers, and failure of the ATC system.

Human error is frequently cited as a major factor in the majority of aviation accidents.  When we hear about human error, we most often think of pilot error, or error of the ground crew, such as mechanics and maintenance personnel.  But how many accidents where human error was a factor were caused by the air traffic controller?

National Transportation Safety Board

A 2007 report by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) attributed the cause of four recent aviation incidents to air traffic controller fatigue.  A spokesman for an association of air traffic controllers acknowledged that controllers are “absolutely more tired now than they have ever been,” due to an understaffed system that forces controllers to work overtime.  In most of the accidents covered in the report, the controllers responsible had only about a nine-hour rest period between shifts.

The twin issues of traffic and weather are also significant factors in these accidents, as weather issues tend to cause a buildup of traffic on the ground and in the air near airports.  In addition, air traffic control can often fail to provide necessary warnings to VFR (visual) aircraft, with a claim that obligations are owed only to IFR (aircraft flying by instruments on designated flight routes).  Circumstances, however, may show this is not true, that warnings should have been issued, and the ATC should be held responsible (e.g. Hudson river crash).

Cause of Accident

In the many cases Sterns & Walker have handled over the years, we have seen plenty of cases where the human factor was unfairly targeted or overly-emphasized, when equipment failures were the primary cause of the accident.  Our aviation accident attorneys work with a team of expert investigators and consultants to find the true cause of the accident, and  zealously pursue actions on behalf of our clients for whoever is responsible.

For legal representation in a lawsuit against air traffic controllers, airplane manufacturers, or other entities responsible for an aviation accident, contact a Bay Area Air Traffic Control Lawyers of Sterns & Walker today.