Questions & Answers


1. Why do I need an aviation attorney?

Simply stated, you might NOT need an aviation attorney. It may well be that the case could be settled without the need for an attorney experienced in aviation accidents. But chances are whoever is responsible will not provide prompt and fair compensation. You will need someone to advise you as to the adequacy of any proposed settlement, and generally that means someone who handles aviation accidents as a major part of his or her practice. Even if you do not proceed to litigation, hiring an aviation attorney on an hourly basis to review what is being offered and to advise you on the settlement is money well spent, and could protect you from making a decision which you might regret later.


2. How Much Will It Cost for Me to Hire an Aviation Attorney? No one should be afraid to contact an aviation attorney because of expense.

Generally, aviation attorneys will discuss your case with you without charge.

Most aviation attorneys that represent the victims of helicopter accidents work on a contingency fee basis instead of on an hourly fee basis. They charge a percentage of the recovery as part of the fee. This fee is variable depending on many factors, including the type of case, the difficulty, etc.


3. Is the Fee Negotiable?

It should be, and you should beware of attorneys and firms that will not explore with you all aspects of the fee that is to be charged. In
some cases, an hourly fee is better for the client. In other cases, a sliding scale fee would be appropriate—for example, 20% if settled before suit, 25% is settled after commencing suit, 30% if discovery is initiated, and 33% if tried.


4. Why Do I Need An Attorney to Investigate? Doesn’t the National Transportation Safety Board and/or the Federal Aviation Administration investigate the accident?

The NTSB and the FAA do investigate aircraft accidents. This is primarily the responsibility of the NTSB. Generally, these organizations do a good job, but occasionally something is overlooked, missed or simply not reached because of time and personnel constraints. It can be over a year before the NTSB
publishes its Factual Report and even longer before it announces its “Probable Cause.” That is too long to wait before beginning one’s own investigation.

We take the government’s investigations and go further to determine what actually occurred. We hire technical experts— pilots, maintenance personnel, engineers, aircraft designers, materials experts, metallurgists, weather experts, air traffic control experts, operations experts, fuel, avionics—whatever we need to fully explore and analyze all potential causes of an accident. We need to know what really happened so we can provide the best possible representation.


5. My child was serving in the military and lost his life in an aircraft accident in the which did not involve combat. What are my rights?

Product liability suits involving military equipment can be very difficult. Several U.S. Supreme Court decisions involving service members’ injuries have greatly restricted service members’ or his/her family’s ability to bring suit, to recover, or even to find out what really happened. In our view, this repeats the tragedy, and these laws need to be changed.

We have been successful in representing military families despite these judge-made obstacles. We have developed a high experience level in the prosecution of these cases, but the potential success of any case, especially in this area, turns on the facts of a particular accident.

We welcome the chance to review these cases with the military families and to be of assistance in these matters. We welcome the opportunity to help— we are veterans and we appreciate the sacrifices service members make. This is our chance to say “thank you.”


6. How long will it take for my case to be resolved?

Some cases are resolved within months, while others take years. We work hard to make sure that we do everything within our power to get to a successful conclusion at the earliest possible moment. We understand that litigation is not easy for families, and we try to eliminate the burdens as best we can. But we know that the best way is get the matter resolved quickly and successfully.

Our experience, our knowledge, and our energy help us expedite the process. We have a good reputation for hard work and tenacious representation. Our opponents know that we mean business, and that we will provide the best possible representation for our clients.