Can I Recover Damages for Injuries Caused by a Helicopter Crash?

October 5, 2022 General

Can I Recover Damages for Injuries Caused by a Helicopter Crash?

Depending on the facts of the case, here in Louisiana, persons injured by a helicopter crash are entitled to seek compensation for their injuries and/or for damage to property. This is also true if you are injured in a helicopter crash. Legal liability for a helicopter crash is similar to how liability is determined for a Louisiana automobile accident or another type of accident.

In general, legal liability will depend on the cause of the crash, including the actions of the pilot and various factors involving the owner of the helicopter. Helicopters and other aircraft are heavily regulated by both federal and state authorities. These laws and regulations impose significant duties on pilots and owners to safely maintain and operate their aircraft. Violations of any of these laws and regulations can be deemed violations of those duties which, in turn, can lead to legal liability for any injuries or fatalities caused.

That being said, there may be factual circumstances where a helicopter crash will not result in legal liability. Generally, there must be some negligence proven or violations of statutes or regulations. But sometimes, weather or other non-human factors can predominate as causes. For example, as reported here, in December 2021, an ex-marine Baton Rouge native was killed in a Louisiana helicopter crash. The pilot was a paramedic and local volunteer firefighter with very extensive flight experience. He was the only person aboard the helicopter when, as reported, his helicopter hit an electric transmission line causing the helicopter to crash into the I-10 Bonnet Carre Spillway near New Orleans. The pilot was on his way to pick up passengers in New Orleans. Heavy, low-lying fog was determined to be the main factor causing the crash.

If the crash had injured persons on the ground, they would have been entitled to make insurance claims and/or file personal injury litigation. Based on just the facts reported, there may not have been negligence. But, certainly, other facts must be investigated, and there are many other possible sources of negligence. For example, it would be necessary to investigate the repair, service, and maintenance records of the helicopter in question. Were there any defects in the equipment that could have caused the pilot to be unable to locate the transmission lines or otherwise contributed to the accident? Also, what was the weather forecast at the time of take-off? Was heavy fog expected, or was it an unforeseen “Act of God?” Communications with ground control must also be investigated. In this reported case, there seems to be no “pilot error.” But in other cases, pilot error can be the basis for awarding compensation to injured victims.

Aside from negligence, there may be other legal claims that can be made. For example, product liability may be a possible legal cause of action if there were any defects in the helicopter’s design or manufacture. This type of legal action may apply also if there were lapses in maintenance and repair.

Our Attorneys Can Help 

For more information, contact the Louisiana personal injury lawyers at Mansfield, Melancon, Cranmer & Dick LLC. We have a proven track record of success handling many types of Louisiana personal injury cases, including car accidents, boating accidents, motorcycle accidents, premises liability accidents, and cases involving nursing care facility abuse/neglect. Contact us by calling one of our offices: New Orleans at (504) 500-1108, Baton Rouge at (225) 612-0800, or Lafayette at (337) 409-0003. You can also request a free consultation by using our “Contact Us” page.