HELICOPTER ACCIDENTS - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. Why do I need an aviation
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.
attorneys will discuss your case with you without charge.
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?
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.
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
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
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
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
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