Crop dusting, a dangerous business

Posted on Friday, August 21st, 2015 at 3:34 pm    

Louisiana residents are never surprised to see small aircraft flying overhead during the warm months of summer. Crop dusting is serious business for pilots in the area, and keeping soybeans and corn fields well fertilized and free of pests is a full-time job. Just as driving a car carries risks, air travel is no different, and for crop dusters, the long hours, low altitude and high speed can make for dangerous flying.

As you can imagine, the number of crop dusting accidents are nowhere near the number of accidents for other aircraft occupations. However, considering crop dusters make up such a small portion of pilots, any number of accidents is too many. For agriculturally dense states like Louisiana, roughly 20 percent of farm fields are dusted with something. Pilots traveling dangerously low, at speeds of 150 miles per hour, or more, make for some risky conditions.

Some pilots may feel confident in their ability to maneuver at low altitudes and react quickly to sudden obstructions. However, recent encroachment of weather and cell towers onto land that was once wide, open space, is presenting a new set of risks. For crop dusters, not only are the everyday aircraft risks still a concern, but added obstructions to their airspace means greater risk of a crash. For these pilots and their families, it is important to stay informed of new structures that may pose a threat to their safety. Negligence on behalf of the landowners may be in question if newly constructed towers are not made aware of the pilot.

Alleged negligence, resulting in personal injury may need the attention of a skilled injury attorney. For pilots, an attorney well versed in aviation law may be able to help identify negligence and seek compensation.

Strict liability in airplane accidents

Posted on Saturday, August 15th, 2015 at 3:42 pm    

Most of the time, when you hear about aviation accidents, it is assumed to be the result of either pilot error or mechanical failure.  In the case of pilot error, where negligence was found, the airline may be held responsible for the crash, accident or injury. When a defect on either the plane or a component of the plane is found to be the cause of the crash, accident or injury the manufacturer of the plane or component is held responsible.

The basic idea of holding manufacturers responsible for defective parts is known as strict liability. This concept was essentially created to put more responsibility on the shoulders of the manufacturers rather than on the individual using the plane or component when it failed. Some may ask how does strict liability help victims injured in an airplane accident. Well, unlike most other personal injury or wrongful death cases, negligence doesn’t have to be found for strict liability to place fault on the manufacturer. Simply knowing that a defective component led to the accident is enough to hold the manufacturer responsible. Also, strict liability can be found through either product defect or by a failure to warn individuals of its potential danger.

If you or someone you love has suffered an injury while in the air, the concept of strict liability may come into play. A skilled aviation accident attorney, well-versed in injury law can sort through evidence and identify the responsible party. With the help of an attorney, compensation may be awarded by the component manufacturer, pilot or both.

Can I get compensated for a turbulence related injury?

Posted on Saturday, August 1st, 2015 at 3:43 pm    

Crashes are not the only plane related accidents that cause injury. When someone tells you air travel is safer than driving, keep in mind that many injuries can happen while in-flight are unrelated to crashes.

Although it’s pretty difficult to sprain your ankle or suffer a concussion while riding in a car, it is very possible to suffer these types of injuries while riding in a plane. Passengers have experienced everything from minor shaking to major bumps which usually does not present any threat of injury. However, air travel can get a little rough, especially when turbulent air masses shake and jolt the cabin of the plane. If passengers are not warned of potential turbulence, these sudden, violent movements can cause serious injuries.

Even if turbulence is expected and passengers are prepared, other issues such as seatbelt malfunctions or unsecured baggage may cause injury. Although it is your responsibility as a passenger to listen to and follow the instructions of the pilot and staff, it is also the responsibility of the carrier to provide you with the safest travel possible.

If you experienced turbulence during air travel and suffered an injury due to pilot negligence or plane defect, a case may potentially be made. In-flight injury cases can be difficult and injuries related to turbulence can be even more so. Our skilled attorneys will examine every aspect of your case to determine if negligence or liability lies with the carrier, staff or pilot. Our attorneys know aviation law inside and out and have used this knowledge and our resources to help countless others injured during air travel.

Aviation accident kills one, leaves four others injured

Posted on Saturday, July 18th, 2015 at 3:44 pm    

There’s nothing on this planet quite like the feeling of flight. The exhilaration of taking off into the sky is only matched by the beautiful view of the earth from above. Of course, like anything involving high speeds and mechanical parts, there are inherent risks to flying or riding in a plane. There are always chances of a defect in a manufactured part or an oversight in maintenance that can cause a midair emergency. And, while most people think of private planes as the most common crashes, commercial crashes happen as well.

A small Alaskan carrier was recently operating a flight to the tiny community of Hoonah from the capital of Juneau when it crashed, killing one person and injuring four others. One of the injured parties was able to make an emergency call to 911 to let responders know that there had been an accident. The plane went down over rough, treacherous terrain, but rescuers were able to reach the injured and get them treatment. One is now in critical condition and another is in serious condition.

The crash marks the second commercial flight to crash in Alaska in the last month. On June 25, another aircraft went down in the state, killing nine people.

Unlike car accidents, aviation accidents often leave little to no evidence, because much of it gets destroyed in the crash. However, an aviation attorney can piece together all the evidence that’s available to determine who is at fault. If negligence can be proven on the part of the manufacturer, the pilot, the maintenance crew or some other party, the victims may be able to get compensation for medical expenses, funeral costs, pain and suffering and loss of wages.

A look at the statistics on general aviation accidents

Posted on Thursday, July 9th, 2015 at 3:44 pm    

As time goes by and the technology gets better and better in the world of aviation, you would think that the frequency of plane crashes would have slowly decreased. And they have, but only in commercial aviation. General aviation accidents have increased dramatically over the last decade, according to data from the National Transportation Safety Board, which looks at 1,500 accidents per year.

The NTSB looked at general aviation data over the last 10 years and compared it to data from commercial aviation. What they found was frightening:

  • By a long shot, crash rates in general aviation are the highest in all of civil aviation.
  • The rates of accidents involving personal flyers have gone up 20 percent in 10 years.
  • At the same time, the rate of fatal accidents has skyrocketed 25 percent.
  • According to the data, over 400 passengers and pilots are killed every year in general aviation.
  • The average works out to 6.8 accidents for every 100,000 hours of flight.
  • To give some perspective, these numbers are 40 times more than transport aviation and six times more than commuter operators.

What are the causes of these crashes? The NTSB theorizes that some of the newer displays that are being manufactured are often too complicated and don’t come with proper instruction. They recommend better vetting of pilots and increased training for maintenance crews, which often miss problems like old wiring and faulty circuits.

Of course, for the victims of these crashes, these data come too late. If you feel you’ve been the victim of pilot error or a manufacturing defect in a plane, an aviation attorney may be able to help you get compensation for your injuries.

Authorities investigating the cause of plane crash

Posted on Monday, June 15th, 2015 at 3:45 pm    

Imagine this scenario: a couple gets back from church one morning to discover that a plane has crashed in their backyard. They rush out to look for survivors and find the roof of the plane completely ripped off. One man is dead but one man has survived, though he’s severely injured. That’s exactly what happened in mid June in a small Texan town outside of San Antonio.

The injured man was transported to the hospital for treatment. Members of the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are currently investigating the crash. So far, the word is that the plane was attempting to land at Gillespie County Airport when the plane lost power. Presumably, the pilot tried to make it as far as he could, but came up short of the runway. Investigators aren’t sure whether the deceased man or the survivor was the pilot at the time of the airplane accident.

In aviation accident cases like these, it can be difficult for investigators to uncover evidence as it is often destroyed in the impact or the resulting fire. However, aviation attorneys are trained in rooting out what evidence is left to make a case. They will try to determine whether the pilot was distracted or took improper measures, but they may also look into manufacturing or maintenance errors that could have led to an engine failure.

If negligence is involved, the attorney may be able to fight for the victims to get compensation for medical expenses, loss of wages, funeral costs and pain and suffering.

Source:, “Victim killed in Hill Country plane crash ID’d; survivor taken to hospital,” Pat Barton, June 14, 2015

Family killed in tragic aviation accident

Posted on Monday, June 8th, 2015 at 3:45 pm    

For those who have dreamed of flying a plane for their entire lives, becoming a pilot is a glorious thing. That feeling of elation as you pull back on the yoke and lift off the ground is indescribable, especially after you’ve trained for years to make the moment happen. Unfortunately, even the best pilots can run into difficulties, from weather to poor tower communication and manufacturing defects in planes. And, unlike car crashes, which are often survivable, “>airplane accidents are usually fatal, especially when they involve small aircraft

On a recent Friday night, a 46-year-old man, his wife and young daughter were headed for Boerne, Texas in a small Beechcraft Bonanza. They took off a little after nine and, for reasons yet to be determined, the plane went down shortly thereafter. All three family members were killed in the crash and the plane was ravaged by fire. The couple’s 18-year-old daughter had just graduated from high school that night and the three were traveling.

Local authorities came to the scene within a few minutes and were able to retrieve the bodies, but it was too late. The National Transportation Board and the Federal Aviation Administration were scheduled to conduct an investigation into the possible causes of the accident.

In crashes like these, much of the evidence is destroyed, but an attorney who specializes in aviation accidents may be able to sort through the evidence that remains to piece together whether it was caused by a manufacturing defect, the weather or pilot error.

Source:, “Plainview family of 3 killed in plane crash, teen just graduated from high school (UPDATED),” Sarah Rafique, May 29, 2015

Getting compensation in the aftermath of a plane crash

Posted on Sunday, May 17th, 2015 at 3:46 pm    

When you think of a plane crash, in all likelihood, you think of the major ones that are plastered all over the news ? pilots with death wishes, faulty equipment and regulation violations that leave hundreds dead and world in mourning. In reality, though, small plane crashes happen all the time, but they aren’t always reported to the media, so we don’t often consider the damage they can cause to property and life.

Sorting out the details in the wake of an accident is a complex issue. There are several courts which handle cases and there are many possible defendants ? from the manufacturer to the owner and even the federal government. The plaintiff must be also able to show that the defendant failed to follow the industry standards of safety when it comes to engineering, regulations and the aircraft itself. But that can be difficult without a trained eye, the evidence of negligence can be easy to overlook in the wreckage.

All personal injury and death claims related to aviation are regulated by the ideas of product liability, negligence or a combination of both. In other words, did the manufacturer sell a defective product that led to the crash, did the pilot fail to do what a reasonable person would do in the situation, or did the injuries arise from a combination of both?

Damages that can be recovered include medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, emotional distress and punitive damages. Our Airplane Accidents page can give you a better idea of our experience in the field.

Recovering compensation after an aviation accident

Posted on Monday, January 26th, 2015 at 3:46 pm    

Injured victims of airplane accidents in Louisiana are entitled to seek financial compensation from the liable parties. However, one of the biggest challenges in determining liability after an aviation accident is the fact that much of the evidence has often been destroyed in the crash. If you were injured in an airplane or helicopter accident, our firm may be able to help you seek the compensation that you deserve.

With a long list of clients in the aviation industry, our attorneys are well prepared to overcome the challenges that are inherent in airplane and helicopter accident investigations. After conducting a painstaking investigation into all of the available evidence from the crash, we can help you get to the bottom of who was at fault. Whether an accident was the result of a mechanical problem, pilot error or an air traffic control issue, our next step will be to help you pursue an appropriate award for damages.

Some of the damages that are most often sought by airplane and helicopter accident survivors are medical costs, pain and suffering and lost wages. If you were piloting a small aircraft that crashed because of another party’s negligence, we may be able to help you recover compensation for property damages as well. Our attorneys are also prepared to help family members pursue a wrongful death claim after losing a loved one in an aviation accident.

Although the majority of aviation crashes involve private aircraft, our attorneys are also very familiar with the federal and state regulations that affect commercial aircraft accident claims. Take a moment to visit our page on airplane accidents to learn more about the process of filing a claim after an aviation accident.

How aviation accident attorneys help victims in Louisiana

Posted on Monday, October 27th, 2014 at 3:48 pm    

In the event of a small plane crashing upon take-off from a private airfield, a helicopter crash or any other kind of aviation accident, the biggest challenge is the fact that the impact destroys the majority of the evidence. Overcoming that particular challenge involves collecting and studying the remaining evidence to determine the cause. Whether it was mechanical failure or pilot error, it is imperative that the cause is found in a timely manner and the appropriate legal action is taken.

Accidents also happen that involve commercial airlines although they are more common with small private aircraft. In commercial airline cases, the laws are not quite the same as they are for private aircraft crashes as laws pertaining to common carriers regulate them. Commercial airlines are held to a higher standard of caution than private aircraft owners and operators. Showing that the airline failed to meet that standard is imperative when a serious accident occurs.

If you or a loved one have been the victim of a private or commercial aviation crash, you have the legal right to pursue adequate compensation for damages when carelessness is the cause. Those damages could include payment for wrongful death, lost wages, pain and suffering, and medical bills.

At Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson of Lake Charles, Louisiana, our attorneys have handled a great number of aviation accident cases, so we have the experience necessary to help our clients receive the compensation they need. To find more information, please view our page on aviation accidents.

Source: Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC., “Lake Charles Airplane Accident Lawyers”, October 23, 2014

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