Aviation Accident Investigation
Early intervention by an aviation attorney is essential. Immediately after an aircraft accident, the injured person or the surviving family should hire an aviation lawyer to represent their interests and protect them. An experienced lawyer will advise them of what to expect if they are called to testify in any legal proceeding or if they must give a deposition. Most importantly, the lawyer can initiate a private investigation to help uncover the true facts of the accident. Inexperienced attorneys will wait until after the NTSB crash investigation releases their final report before starting their investigation as to the facts of a particular aviation accident. While an inexperienced attorney waits (sometimes between 6-12 months) for the final NTSB report, an experienced aviation lawyer will immediately begin their investigation. Time is essential and professional legal teams will often use that time to:
- Meet with fact witnesses or party representatives before the NTSB begins its “interrogation” to insure that the witnesses understand the manner in which the aircraft investigation will proceed and be advised of their rights.
- Properly preserve evidence, safeguard records, and avoid the spoliation of evidence.
- Get a commitment in writing that nothing divulged will be used in an Enforcement Action, if an FAA employee wants to ask questions of the client as part of an NTSB accident investigation.
- Conduct an extensive interview of the client and his or her family to gather background facts and history concerning the client.
- Interview the “Eye and ear” witnesses previously interviewed by the NTSB while their recollections of the aviation crash are fresh.
- Order medical records from all hospitals and medical providers in order to evaluate the injuries from the crash.
Further, it is critical that an aviation lawyer start obtaining some or all of the following items in order to be ready for the ensuing legal battle. Whether the aviation lawsuit involves an airplane accident, helicopter accident or any other type of winged aircraft crash, injury or death, a full investigation is in order. While not all of these items are needed immediately, most will have to be reviewed in depth before an aviation lawsuit can be filed against the negligent parties involved. The legal team should:
- Try and obtain the maintenance, accident and operational history of the airplane, helicopter or aircraft.
- Obtain photographic evidence from local photographer(s) and news stations that covered the airplane or helicopter crash.
- Obtain Airworthiness Directive Files concerning the aircraft involved.
- Request flight plans and ship logs of the aircraft(s) involved in the aviation accident.
- Request investigative reports of Federal, State, County and Municipal Law Enforcement, Emergency, Fire and Rescue Agencies.
- Request medical reports and hospital records from the client’s medical providers.
Other documents and reports to be requested include:
- Autopsy Reports or Injury Reports
- Service Bulletins
- Advisory Circulars and Other FAA Orders
- General Aviation Inspection Aids
- Patent Applications of any part or system that may have failed
- Hazard Reports
- Service Difficulty Reports
- Malfunction Defect Reports
- Overhaul and Maintenance Records
- Annual or Periodic Inspection Records
- Pilot, Airplane, Engine and Propeller Logbooks
- Certified NWS Weather Data
- FAA Facility Logs
- FAA Aircraft Certification Files
- FAA Airman License and Medical Files
- FAA Airman Training Records
- FAA Aircraft Title and Registration Records
- TRACON Radar Raw Data generated by ARTS
- NTAP Radar Raw data from the ARTCC
- CAMI Toxicology Reports
- Wreckage Scene Photos
- Wreckage Pattern Videotapes
- Airport Data
- Navigational Charts
- Instrument Approach Plates
- Reports from accidents involving similar aircraft or components
- NTSB and ICAO Safety Summaries and Recommendations
- Tape Recordings of “all” communications relevant to the accident
Contact a Helicopter Crash Attorney
If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed in a helicopter crash, then call us 24/7 for an immediate consultation to discuss the details of the accident and learn what we can do to help protect your legal rights. Whether the accident was caused by negligence on the part of the helicopter owner, hospital or corporation, the manufacturer or due to lack of training, poor maintenance, pilot or operator error, tail rotor failure, sudden loss of power, defective electronics or engine failure or flying in bad weather conditions, we can investigate the case and provide you the answers you need. Call Toll Free 1-800-883-9858 and talk to a Board Certified Trial Lawyer with over 30 years of legal experience or fill out our online form by clicking below: