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Did you sustain injuries or lose a loved one in an airplane or helicopter accident? Was the crash due to someone’s error or careless actions? If so, contact Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC, and we’ll assist you with your legal case. You deserve financial compensation for the suffering you experienced. When another person or group is responsible for causing you harm, you have the right to hold them accountable. We’ll help you fight for justice and compensate you for your losses.
Despite technological advances and improved safety measures, airplanes and helicopters can crash for many reasons. In 2019, there were 20 fatal, commercial airliner accidents that caused 283 deaths. Although these seem to be relatively low numbers, even one accident is one too many. Our Lake Charles airplane and helicopter crash attorneys know how traumatic it is to get hurt or lose a loved one. The emotional harm and financial impact are extreme.
To recover the maximum compensation available and help you and your family move forward with your lives, call Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC at 337-800-8800 for a free consultation.
Commercial Air Travel vs. General Aviation
Commercial air travel is public, while general aviation is recreational or private. Most people have flown a commercial plane at some point in their lives, whether for business or vacation.
Private planes are typically smaller aircraft, such as Cessnas or helicopters, and typically account for more injuries than commercial flight accidents. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the total number of U.S. civil aviation deaths rose from 347 in 2017 to 393 in 2018. A total of 381 of those fatalities were related to general aviation flights.
General aviation includes the following:
- Non-commercial aircraft
- Small planes
- Air-ambulance airplanes and helicopters
- Charter flights
- Offshore helicopters
- Personal and business jets
- Tour helicopters and planes
Common Airplane and Helicopter Crash Injuries
Unfortunately, fatalities and debilitating injuries often occur when there’s an airplane or helicopter crash. Whether the aircraft is taking off, landing, or in flight, even the slightest error could cause devastating trauma. While it is possible to survive injuries sustained in an airplane or helicopter crash, the victim may require physical therapy, surgery, or lifelong medical assistance.
Some of the most common injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Broken bones
- Loss of limb
- Spinal cord damage
- Internal bleeding
- Permanent disability
- Psychological injuries, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
How to Determine Liability After an Airplane or Helicopter Accident
When you hire us, the first thing we’ll do is open a thorough investigation into the accident to determine who’s at fault. Various parties could be held liable for their actions that contributed to the crash:
- Pilot: Made an error or neglected safety measures.
- Airline: Negligently hiring an unlicensed or unqualified pilot or crew.
- Air traffic controller: Improperly directed the aircraft into another flight path or failed to follow Federal Aviation Administration regulations.
- Mechanic: Inadequate inspection, maintenance, or repairs on the plane or helicopter parts.
- Manufacturer: Defective design or manufacturing process that led to malfunctioning flight systems.
During our investigation, we’ll need to collect sufficient evidence to prove your injuries were the result of the aviation accident, such as:
- Airplane’s black box
- Repair and maintenance logs
- Pilot’s flight history
- Recalled or damaged parts
- Photos of the crash scene
- Video surveillance footage
- Eyewitness statements
- Copies of your medical records
- Documents associated with the crash
You’re Entitled to Compensation for Your Damages
When you get hurt in an airplane or helicopter accident, you’ll likely incur damages. Damages are the total losses suffered by an injured party. There are two types of damages you can seek in an insurance claim or a lawsuit.
Economic damages refer to actual losses resulting from an injury, such as:
- Past and future medical treatment
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Out of pocket costs
Non-economic damages are physical and emotional suffering endured due to an accident, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Permanent disability or disfigurement
- Loss of quality of life
- Loss of consortium
Insurance companies and jury members sometimes have difficulty calculating the total value of an accident victim’s non-economic damages. That’s because there isn’t a billing statement or invoice to refer to for things like pain and suffering. Determining a fair number will depend on various contributing factors, including:
- Availability of evidence proving liability
- Length of the recovery period
- Effects of the accident on daily life
- Emotional or psychological trauma experienced
- Type and severity of the injury
- The estimated cost of necessary future medical care
- Inability to return to work due to the injury
- Total economic damages
- Permanent impairment or disability resulting from the accident
- Duration of medical treatment
What to Do After An Aviation Accident
If you survived a helicopter or plane crash, there are immediate steps you can take to protect your rights to financial compensation from the at-fault party.
- Call 911. The airplane or helicopter operator must notify the National Transportation Safety Board and provide relevant details after any aviation accident type. If you’re alone when the crash occurs, call 911 to inform them of your location and request emergency medical services.
- Take photos. If your injuries aren’t too severe, inspect the condition of the accident scene and aircraft. Take pictures of the interior and exterior, as well as the surrounding conditions. You could also take a video to accurately depict the damage that occurred.
- Talk to other passengers. Speak to anyone else on the plane or helicopter and write down their names and contact information. It helps to have witnesses with the same recollection of events leading up to the crash.
- Go to the hospital. Seek medical treatment for your injuries. If your doctor refers you to other providers, follow their orders.
- Write down details. Recall everything you can about what happened and write it down. Be as detailed as possible. Even something that doesn’t seem relevant could end up helping your case.
- Seek legal representation. Hire a Lake Charles airplane and helicopter crash attorney.
Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Wrongful death refers to someone who dies due to another party’s reckless, negligent, or intentional conduct. The at-fault party could be an individual, company, or government entity. Liability could also lie with multiple parties, depending on the circumstances of the accident.
Louisiana law allows a limited number of people to pursue a wrongful death case after an airplane or helicopter crash. They include:
- Surviving spouse or children
- Surviving parent or parents if there isn’t a spouse or child
- If there’s no spouse, child, or parent, a surviving sibling
- Surviving grandparents if there are none of the above family members
There’s a statute of limitations for anyone who wants to sue the at-fault party for their loved one’s aviation accident. It’s a strict deadline you must follow; otherwise, you could lose your right to pursue legal action. The statute of limitations in Louisiana for wrongful death is one year. That means you have one year from the date of your loved one’s death to file suit.
If the deceased doesn’t have any surviving relatives, the estate could file a lawsuit in court. However, the only available damages are the economic losses suffered by the estate. Any surviving family member who decides to sue for compensation for their losses might be entitled to economic and non-economic damages.
Examples of economic losses include:
- Cost of damaged property
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical bills associated with the fatal injury
- The total value of household services
- Lost wages and benefits the deceased would have earned if they survived
Examples of non-economic damages include:
- Guidance, support, care, and companionship surviving family members lost due to the death of their loved one
- Pain and suffering the deceased experience from the accident before their death
Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC Legal Fees and Costs
We understand the financial burden you’re facing since the aviation accident. It’s overwhelming trying to recover from injuries while pursuing a legal case. We don’t want to add additional stress to your life, which is why we take airplane and helicopter accident cases on a contingency-fee basis.
You don’t have to pay upfront fees or costs for us to represent you. We’ll work hard to recover the financial compensation you deserve and won’t collect any legal fees unless we win your case. If we don’t win, you won’t have to pay us for our time and effort.
We also provide prospective clients with a free initial consultation. Our Lake Charles airplane and helicopter crash attorneys will be happy to meet with you to discuss the details of your situation. We’ll review the information you provide and determine the best legal options available.
We’re Ready to Fight for Justice
Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC has a dedicated legal team that will provide the one-on-one attention you deserve. We care about our clients and will always treat you like a priority. From start to finish of your case, we’ll be here to guide you through the complicated legal process and help you get back on your feet. You can count on us to fight alongside you to win the compensation you need to cover your damages.
If you or a loved one was the victim of an aviation accident, call Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC at 337-800-8800 to speak with an experienced Lake Charles airplane and helicopter crash attorney.