Personal Injury Lawyers

Aviation Accidents

Rockford Plane & Helicopter Accident Lawyer

Have you or a loved one been involved in a helicopter, airplane, or other aviation accident or related injury in or around Rockford, Illinois? Or have you recently lost a loved one to an aircraft crash? As you deal with the trauma and grief associated with such an event, it’s also important to think about what comes next. In many cases, that will mean legal action against the party or parties responsible for the accident. As an experienced personal injury lawyer in Rockford, Illinois Paul M. Marriett would be proud to work with you on this case to seek the compensation you deserve.

What Causes a Helicopter or Airplane to Crash, or other aviation based injuries to occur?

Traveling in most aircraft is a safe experience. These machines are carefully maintained, the pilots are trained extensively, and plenty of safety equipment is onboard to prevent an accident from taking place. No mode of transportation is without its risks; aviation accidents do happen in Illinois and around the country though. For example the last reported year for the FAA in 2019 indicates that there were 441 fatal aircraft crashes around the United States. Take into consideration all of the associated risks as our skies and airports become more congested and the risks are very real for passengers, airport personnel, and citizens on the ground. With the National Transportation Safety Board operating as the repository for aircraft safety complaints and flagged events it is easy to see that even in a well-oiled system, mistakes do happen. With runway incursions, and other safety mishaps there have been some near-misses that could have proven catastrophic if pilots had not narrowly avoided crashes on the ground, or mid-air over the last few years.

So, what is it that can lead to an accident? Some of the likely causes are below:

  • Mechanical failure. This is one of the first places to look in the aftermath of a helicopter crash. If a vital component fails, there might not be anything left for a pilot to do to bring the aircraft down safely and avoid an accident. Obviously, engine failure would be high on this list, as a loss of power in an emergency, although it is possible for the pilot to regain control and land safely in some cases.
  • Poor weather conditions. Another issue that can lead to a helicopter accident is bad weather that either causes the pilot to lose control of the aircraft or leads to pilot disorientation due to a lack of visibility. Either way, accidents are often caused by conditions that are too dangerous for flying, and the helicopter would ideally be grounded in this scenario until the weather improves.
  • There needs to be clear communication during every flight to avoid obstacles and other aircraft in the area. This can mean communicating with air traffic control for instructions in specific airspace areas, and it’s possible that either the pilot or the controller can make an error that will lead to a dangerous situation.
  • Poor maintenance. This point goes along with the mechanical failure point we listed above – it’s possible that an engine or another vital component could fail because the maintenance that was performed on the aircraft did not meet the expected standards. Of course, it’s also possible that the maintenance was proper, but the design or initial build of the equipment was lacking, so plenty of investigative work needs to be done.
  • Personal injury cases ON aircraft. These situations are governed by an international agreement known as the Montreal Convention which governs what rights and claims may be brought by passengers who have been hurt or injured while on aircraft. This can mean injuries sustained from severe turbulence, falls, foreign objects in prepared food, etc.

In the big picture, it’s important to determine the cause of a crash or an injury so future accidents can be made less likely by learning from previous mistakes in this field. For your specific situation, it’s important to know why the accident occurred, so you can seek compensation from the party responsible for the crash or injury that injured you or potentially hurt or killed a loved one.

Potentially Liable Parties

As you review the list of possible crash or other injury causes above, you can already start to see who may be liable for the accident when damages are pursued. Here’s a partial list of the potential targets for a civil suit:

  • Pilot/Airline. If pilot error was to blame, that individual is an obvious target for the suit. More likely, the legal action will be aimed at the company that was employing the pilot, assuming the pilot was working for a business at the time of the accident.
  • The company that made the helicopter may also be deemed negligent in this case, if a known design or build issue contributed to the crash. Plenty of research and legwork will need to be done to prove this liability.
  • Maintenance company. Helicopters need to have maintenance performed regularly to remain in proper working order and to remain approved for use. If that maintenance falls short of expectations, which is something that can be reviewed through maintenance records and witness testimony, liability may fall onto the company doing that work.

Aircraft Accident Injuries

Unfortunately, it’s often very serious injuries that result from an aircraft accident if those on board are even able to survive the crash. Surviving passengers may have injuries such as burns from a fire that ignited after the accident, crushing injuries such as broken bones and spinal or brain damage, and much more. It will often be the case that prompt and ongoing medical treatment will be needed to save passengers who have been through a crash, and it might not be possible for those individuals to get all the way back to full health.

Statute of Limitations

Generally, most cases against private individuals and corporations must be commenced within two years of the date of injury. However, in aircraft related cases there may be claims that come from municipal, local, state, and federal actors which would likely reduce the statute of limitations to a one-year period. Additionally with this intricate area of law and international components of tort claims being controlled by these issues there is significant risk of missing important deadlines that may exist in a potential claim. Unless you have grounds to extend or “toll” the running of the Statute of Limitations you may be time-barred from pursuing your claim or claim(s) which would mean you cannot pursue the case at all and would be unable to recover any money or other relief for damages. As with ALL cases, discussing your case with an attorney as soon after an injury as possible is well worth it, and costs you nothing to find out what your rights are.

Contact A Rockford Aviation Accident Attorney

We offer telephone, in-office consultations, and routinely make visits to client’s residences, hospital rooms, nursing homes, and other off-site locations to make retaining our services as easy as possible. We’ve had friends and family members who have been injured while at work and will treat you the very same as we pursue an aggressive defense of any injury claim. Contact the Law Office of Paul M. Marriett office at (815) 391-0089 to schedule your free consultation with a Rockford personal injury lawyer about your aircraft related injury case in Rockford, Illinois or use the contact form on this page to receive a response within 24 hours.

Skip to content