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Aviation Accidents

Nationwide Injury Lawyers for Aviation Accident Victims

Aviation accidents, although rare, are one of the most serious types of accidents a person can be involved in. Commercial and non-commercial airplane crashes are most often deadly for all crew members and passengers on board. People on the ground may be at risk of serious injury or death as well. Until July 2013 when the Asiana Air Flight 214 crashed in San Francisco, the U.S. had not seen a fatal large commercial airplane accident since the February 2009 crash outside of Buffalo, New York that claimed 50 people's lives. General aviation accidents kill hundreds and injure thousands of people each year. These accidents are therefore an important part of our practice.

From our aviation litigation team national headquarters in New York City, the experienced trial attorneys at Killackey Law Offices, APC, Macaluso and Associates, and Napoli Bern Ripka Shkolnik, LLP represent those who have been seriously injured or lost loved ones in commercial and general aviation accidents. Our personal injury attorneys recognize just how devastating these accidents can be and strive to provide only the highest quality counsel in seeking justice for the injured and wronged. With more than 150 years of combined experience, our trial lawyers understand what it takes to fight for justice in these cases. These are also highly technical matters that may require a complete investigation and accident reconstruction to determine the precise cause of the collision.

With our experience, reputation, resources and determination, we have the ability to accurately assess the cause of an airplane accident in order to seek justice for those who have been injured or who have lost their lives. You can learn more about our services in these cases by contacting Killackey Law Offices, APC for a free case evaluation. Our aviation litigation team includes fully-staffed offices in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California, Delaware, Illinois and Florida to serve clients across the U.S.

Our Experience with Aviation Accidents


The trial attorneys within our aviation litigation team have extensive experience dealing with aviation accidents. Listed below are some of the prior commercial aviation cases the team's trial attorneys have handled:

  • Spantax Flight 995: This charter flight from Madrid-Barajas Airport to New York via Malaga Airport was caused by the detachment of fragments from a recapped tread on the right wheel of the nose gear. 50 were killed and another 110 were hospitalized.
  • American Eagle ATR-42-312: Our firm represented injured passengers who sustained serious injuries while escaping this burning plane. This accident occurred at San Juan, P.R. airport after the plane collided with a ground power unit.
  • Pan Am flight 103: Also known as the Lockerbie bombing, this severe aviation incident killed everyone on board (243 passengers and 16 crew) and an additional 11 people on the ground.

An attorney from our aviation litigation team also successfully represented 104 survivors of the Costa Concordia cruise ship that capsized off the coast of Italy in January 2012. While we have experience in federal court and have proven our ability to successfully handle cases in this arena, the case was successfully kept in state court. This testifies to the experience our team's trial lawyers have in dealing with international transportation accidents.

Two trial attorneys in our aviation litigation team are also pilots, giving them the advantage over attorneys who do not have this type of insight. Attorneys on our team not only have experience handling aviation litigation in state and federal courts, but they have thousands of hours of collective flight experience. Lawyers on our team have even achieved record verdicts and settlements in aircraft injury and wrongful death cases.

One of the trial attorneys on our team has been practicing law and specializing in aviation accidents for 25 years. He has experience handling both foreign and domestic aviation disasters and in total has handled more than 200 of these types of cases including commercial aviation disasters, general aviation accidents involving aircraft and helicopters and military accidents.

Commercial and General Aviation Accidents in the U.S.

Aviation accidents are investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Personnel from both agencies will analyze the evidence in order to determine who or what caused the accident. Regardless of the cause, the families of the victims, as well as those who survive, deserve answers. Our experienced attorneys will provide you with solid legal advice and will pursue justice so that you and your loved ones can gain closure. We have highlighted two key topics discussed by the NTSB below:

Runway Safety
The risk of an airplane accident is particularly high during takeoff and landing. The runway presents a very limited environment for large aircraft to maneuver. Ground collisions and overrunning or undershooting the runway during takeoffs or landings may occur due to poor weather conditions, limited visibility and errors by air traffic control. Take the August 2006 crash of Comair flight 5191, which occurred after the pilot attempted to take off from the wrong runway. 49 of the 50 passengers and crew on board were killed.

Air Traffic Control
Air traffic controllers play a key role in keeping the skies and runways safe for commercial and non-commercial aircraft throughout the U.S. Though millions of flights are effectively handled by skilled professionals even in trying circumstances, there are situations where a lack of professionalism, negligence or even intentional misconduct may have catastrophic outcomes. The NTSB places a strong emphasis on the need for every air traffic controller and pilot to make the right choice in every situation they are faced with.

What causes airplane accidents?

There are different situations that may lead to an airplane accident. We have highlighted several of these below. An accident may be caused by one or a combination of these factors:

Pilot Error and Negligence
Pilots have an obligation to use all of their knowledge and experience to properly control their aircraft. In spite of the fact that many of today's aircraft have sophisticated navigation and safety systems in place, even the best aircraft will not be able to prevent a collision if the pilot makes a serious mistake or does not know how to use these systems. Pilots also should not rely solely upon technology and should be familiar with how these systems can malfunction. A single mistake, intentional act or instance of negligence may cause a deadly crash.

Air Traffic Controller Negligence
If an air traffic controller is not vigilant in providing pilots with information and commands regarding airspace, takeoff and landing, the results may be catastrophic. Without proper information, two aircraft may collide midair, a pilot may overshoot a landing or a serious runway accident may occur that leave many injured.

Equipment Malfunction
Every single part of an aircraft must be in proper working order to ensure maximum safety. Equipment may malfunction if it has a manufacturing or design defect or is improperly maintained. Airline companies or manufacturers may be held accountable for crashes caused by equipment malfunction.

Weather and Other Adverse Events
There are some events that pilots, air traffic controllers and airline companies simply cannot control. Particularly severe weather can not only interfere with visibility but can affect the sensitive equipment on an aircraft. Flocks of birds can even pose a real threat to aircraft if they collide with and breach the windscreen or fly into the engine.

The Montreal Convention

The Montreal Convention is a treaty concerning the victims of international aviation disasters. Under the terms of this treaty, airlines could be held responsible for anyone who is injured because of an unexpected occurrence during the course of an international flight. The Montreal Convention is complex, but the personal injury lawyers at our firm understand and can apply these laws for our clients who have been injured during air travel.

Personal Injury Attorney Serving Victims Nationwide

At Killackey Law Offices, APC , our team is committed to representing those who have lost loved ones or who have been injured not only in aviation accidents but in any incident related to air travel, such as accidents at airports or on runways and injuries caused by airline personnel. Our team consists of attorneys and pilots who have extensive experience with relevant state, federal and international laws.

We can talk to you about which party or parties may be held legally responsible for your injuries or loss in order to seek compensation on your behalf. You may be entitled to money for medical expenses, lost earnings, emotional trauma, pain and suffering. You can trust our experience and our success in pursuing claims in the complex area of international aviation law.

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