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Matthew Albrecht | Founder & Attorney | Albrecht Law, PLLC
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Aviation Accidents in Spokane, Washington

Aviation accidents may be rare, but when they occur, the outcome is often binary: people either survive or perish. If you’re here, you have likely experienced the devastating loss of a loved one or suffered severe injuries in an aviation accident. You’re probably dealing with overwhelming physical pain and emotional turmoil, and may be concerned about the financial burden that comes with the loss of income. It’s understandable that you are searching for a reliable personal injury law firm to assist you with your aviation accident claim.

If you, a family member or someone else you love has been a victim of an aviation accident, our aviation attorneys at Albrecht Law want to help. To us, you are more than just a case. At Albrecht Law, you are known.

What Causes Aviation Accidents?

Chronicled by the Aviation Safety Network, aviation accidents have decreased despite an increase in passengers, with pilot error being the main cause rather than terrorism. Civil aviation accidents typically occur during landing mistakes and errors in flight planning, fueling, take-off, and general aircraft handling.

Equipment malfunction is another common cause, often due to factors such as poor maintenance, insufficient training, or defective equipment. Determining fault and identifying all liable parties to seek compensation, recover damages, and increase your chances of a successful claim are crucial.

Bad weather is a third cause of aviation accidents. While some may think this is an “Act of God” and not eligible for a claim, it is not always the case. If a flight proceeds despite awareness of impending threatening weather, the pilot may be considered negligent for any resulting accidents. If you have been affected by an aviation accident, whether through injury or the loss of a loved one, our Spokane aviation accident lawyers are here to assist you in pursuing compensation.

What are the Most Common Injuries Aviation Accident Victims Sustain?

Common injuries that can occur in aviation accidents include:

  1. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs): These can result from head trauma during a crash or sudden changes in speed or pressure.
  2. Spinal cord injuries: These can happen due to the impact of a crash, leading to paralysis or other long-term disabilities.
  3. Broken bones and fractures: The force of impact during an aviation accident can cause severe bone injuries.
  4. Burns: If a plane catches fire or explodes upon impact, passengers may suffer from burn injuries, which can be life-threatening.
  5. Internal injuries: The sudden deceleration or impact during a crash can cause damage to organs such as the liver, spleen, or kidneys.
  6. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): Witnessing or experiencing an aviation accident can result in psychological trauma that may manifest as PTSD.

These serious injuries incur expensive medical bills for aviation accident victims and their families. Tragically, fatal accidents also occur in the aviation industry, leaving loved ones without a source of income.

Types of Aviation Accident Cases

At Albrecht Law, our airplane accident lawyers represent clients who have suffered injuries or the loss of a loved one in various types of aircraft and aviation accident cases, including:

Commercial Aviation Accidents

Commercial aviation accidents refer to any incidents or accidents involving aircraft operated by airlines or other commercial entities for the purpose of transporting passengers or cargo. These accidents usually occur during the operation of scheduled or chartered flights, including domestic and international flights.

Commercial aviation accidents can encompass a wide range of incidents, including:

  1. Crashes: These involve the complete loss of control of an aircraft resulting in an impact with the ground, water, or another object.
  2. Collisions: These occur when two or more aircraft collide in mid-air, on the ground, or during takeoff or landing.
  3. Runway incidents: These involve accidents during takeoff, landing, or taxiing on runways, such as runway overruns, undershoots, or collisions with objects on the runway.
  4. Structural failures: These accidents result from failures in the aircraft’s structure or components, such as engine failure, fuselage damage, or wing detachment.
  5. Fires and explosions: Accidents involving onboard fires or explosions, which may occur due to mechanical failures, fuel leaks, or other hazards.
  6. Incidents during emergencies: These include accidents that happen during emergency landings, evacuations, or other critical situations.

Air travel accidents can lead to various consequences, including injuries, fatalities, property damage, and psychological trauma. Regulatory bodies, such as the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) have established strict safety regulations and procedures to minimize the occurrence of commercial aviation accidents and enhance passenger safety.

Small Plane Crashes

Small plane crashes refer to accidents involving smaller aircraft, such as private planes, recreational airplanes, or small commuter planes. These crashes can occur for various reasons and encompass different types of incidents, including:

Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT): CFIT accidents occur when an aircraft unintentionally collides with terrain, obstacles, or water due to pilot error, poor visibility, or navigation system failure.

Loss of Control Inflight (LOC-I): LOC-I accidents involve situations where the pilot loses control of the aircraft’s attitude or flight path, leading to a crash. Factors contributing to LOC-I include mechanical failures, extreme weather conditions, or pilot incapacitation.

Mid-Air Collisions: These accidents occur when two or more aircraft collide while in flight. Factors such as airspace congestion, pilot error, or inadequate air traffic control can contribute to mid-air collisions.

Runway Incidents: Runway accidents involve incidents during takeoff, landing, or taxiing. This includes runway excursions, where the aircraft veers off the runway, as well as collisions with objects on or near the runway.

Mechanical Failures: Small plane crashes can result from mechanical failures such as engine malfunctions, structural issues, or problems with control systems.

Small plane crashes can lead to injuries, fatalities, property damage, and emotional trauma. The severity of these consequences depends on several factors, including the type of crash, impact forces, and available safety equipment.

Regulatory bodies and aviation organizations work to support safety measures for small aircraft, an effort that includes pilot training and certification requirements, maintenance standards, improved technology, and airspace management.

Helicopter Crashes

Helicopter crashes are aviation accidents involving helicopters, which can occur for multiple reasons. Improving safety in helicopter operations relies on a thorough understanding of the causes outlined below:

Pilot Error: Pilot error is a leading cause of helicopter crashes, and includes such factors as spatial disorientation, loss of situational awareness, improper decision-making, or inadequate training.

Mechanical Failure: Like any aircraft, helicopters can experience mechanical failures that lead to accidents. Engine malfunctions, transmission failures, or problems with critical components can contribute to crashes.

Weather Conditions: Adverse weather conditions, such as fog, heavy rain, strong winds, or low visibility, can significantly impact helicopter operations and increase the risk of accidents.

Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT): Similar to small planes, CFIT accidents occur when a helicopter unintentionally collides with terrain or obstacles due to poor visibility, navigation errors, or inadequate terrain awareness.

Loss of Tail Rotor Effectiveness (LTE): LTE is a phenomenon specific to helicopters where the tail rotor loses its functionality, leading to an uncontrolled spin and potential crash. Factors like low airspeed, high power demands, or abrupt control inputs can trigger LTE.

Wire Strikes: Collisions with power lines or wires are a significant hazard for helicopters, especially during low-level flying or in remote areas without proper visual aids.

Human Factors: Other human factors, including fatigue, distractions, stress, or substance impairment, can contribute to helicopter accidents.

Safety Measures and Mitigation

Helicopter operators and regulatory bodies implement various safety measures to mitigate the risk of accidents. These measures include pilot training and proficiency requirements, regular maintenance and inspections, adherence to weather minimums, improved technology and equipment, and enhanced safety protocols during critical flight phases like takeoff and landing.

Investigation and Learning

Following a helicopter crash, aviation authorities conduct thorough investigations to determine the cause and contributing factors. Lessons learned from these investigations help improve safety standards, training programs, and operational procedures in the industry.

Wrongful Death Claims in an Aviation Accident

Our experienced aviation lawyers can represent you if you have lost a loved one in an aviation accident. Whether the fatal accident occurred in a private plane, a commercial air carrier, or a helicopter accident, the best law firms:

  1. Understand Wrongful Death in Washington: Wrongful death refers to a claim filed on behalf of the deceased individual against the party responsible for their death due to negligence or intentional harm. In the context of aviation accidents, it involves seeking compensation for the loss of a loved one’s life due to a plane crash or a helicopter crash.
  2. Determine Liability: Establishing liability is essential when pursuing a wrongful death case. Proving liability involves identifying the party or parties whose negligence or wrongful actions contributed to the accident. An aviation case could involve multiple defendants, and potential liable parties may include airplane manufacturers, maintenance providers, airlines, pilots, air traffic controllers, or other individuals or entities involved in the operation or maintenance of the aircraft.
  3. Gather Evidence: Building a solid case requires collecting relevant evidence. This effort may involve obtaining accident reports, witness statements, expert opinions, maintenance records, and any other documentation that supports the claim. Experienced aviation lawyers work with experts in aviation accident investigation and reconstruction to gather and analyze this evidence.
  4. Prove Negligence: To succeed in a wrongful death claim, you must prove that the defendant(s) acted negligently or breached their duty of care, which directly caused the accident and resulting death. This effort requires demonstrating that the defendant(s) failed to adhere to industry standards, regulations, or safety practices, leading to the fatal crash.
  5. Seek Damages and Compensation: Wrongful death claims seek compensation for various damages, including but not limited to:
    • Funeral and burial expenses
    • Medical expenses incurred before the victim’s death
    • Loss of financial support, including future earnings
    • Loss of companionship, guidance, and emotional support
    • Pain and suffering endured by the deceased before their death
  6. Know the Statute of Limitations: The statute of limitations sets the time limit within which a wrongful death claim must be filed. In Washington, the statute of limitations for wrongful death cases is three years from the date of the decedent’s death.
  7. Offer Dedicated Legal Representation: For victims and their families, pursuing a wrongful death case from an aviation accident requires the guidance of an experienced attorney who can counsel them through the legal process, handle negotiations with insurance companies or other parties, and advocate for their rights in court if necessary.

Who Has the Right to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Washington?

In certain states, the surviving family members of a deceased person can file a wrongful death lawsuit. However, in Washington, the responsibility to pursue most wrongful death claims falls on the personal representative (also known as the “executor”) of the deceased person’s estate. Typically, if the deceased person had a will, they would have designated a personal representative. In cases where there is no will or the named personal representative is unable to serve, the court can appoint someone to fulfill this role. Although the personal representative must initiate the wrongful death lawsuit, any damages awarded will benefit the deceased person’s survivors.

How Can Aviation Accident Attorneys Help Me?

Our Spokane aviation accident attorneys can help victims of an airplane crash in multiple ways, such as:

  • Conducting a thorough investigation of the plane crash, including air traffic control, aircraft maintenance, crew members, and all contributing factors
  • Accurately accounting for your damages, including injuries, medical bills, and lost wages
  • Protecting the value of your aviation accident case
  • Handling all the required legal services, so you can focus on your recovery

Our personal injury lawyers have extensive knowledge of aviation law and years of experience representing victims of plane crashes. While it might be tempting to go it alone, statistics reveal that those who pursue a plane crash claim without the representation of experienced aviation accident lawyers most often receive much less in compensation than those who seek the help of a competent legal team.

Trust the Aviation Accident Attorneys at Albrecht Law with Your Case

Federal regulations prioritize aviation safety. However, aircraft accidents remain an unfortunate possibility for air travelers despite these efforts. Serious accidents still occur, and when they do, you need knowledgeable and experienced aviation accident lawyers on your side.

Whether the incident occurred in a small plane, commercial airline, or helicopter, you can trust our legal team to pursue just compensation for injuries sustained or the wrongful death of a loved one.

We have published books on nearly every area of law we practice—not just any books, but the Washington Legal Reference Guides frequently cited as the authority by Washington State Court of Appeals and Washington State Supreme Court. Employing cutting-edge technology, we serve our clients as efficiently as possible. Most importantly, at Albrecht Law, you are known. We carefully accept a limited number of clients and cases so we can give your case the time and attention it deserves.

To schedule a free consultation, contact us at (509) 495-1246(509) 495-1246 or complete our online form. We are here to serve you.

Albrecht Law PLLC — Our Clients Are More Than Just Cases

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