General Aviation and Helicopter Accident Litigation
Along with the firm’s unique experience in commercial aviation disasters, Baumeister & Samuels has extensive experience litigating general aviation accidents, including, but not limited to, corporate aviation, all types of fixed wing aircraft and helicopter accidents. We have obtained significant victories against airframe and component manufacturers of general aviation and rotary wing aircraft, as well as against corporate operators, maintenance facilities, air traffic controllers, pilots and flight instructors.
Litigating the general aviation case requires the same strong, specialized expertise and dedication that is involved in the commercial aviation context. General aviation litigation can present a multitude of problems given that the crash of a small aircraft or helicopter may involve numerous causes including product defect, improper maintenance and possibly pilot error. An independent investigation is often times necessary as it is quite common in the general aviation context for the official investigation to be unable to pinpoint the exact cause of the accident. For example, in a recent case we represented the family of a young man who was killed as the result of an inflight engine fire. While the official investigation found that the fire was caused by unknown reasons, our independent investigation confirmed that the fire was caused by a well known problem associated with the design of the fuel pump. Our work resulted in a substantial settlement on behalf of the family.
In addition, litigation arising from a general aviation accident will undoubtedly require an analysis of extensive legal issues, including, but not limited to, statutes of repose, product liability laws, choice of law issues as well as the application of various state laws to damage claims. Our attorneys have authored numerous papers on these topics and have the necessary experience and expertise to properly analyze the myriad of legal issues presented by such litigation.
We have litigated, and continue to litigate, against some of the largest general aviation and helicopter airframe and component manufacturers including:
• Embraer S.A.;
• Bombardier, Inc.;
• Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation;
• Textron Inc.;
• Bell Helicopter;
• Raytheon Aircraft Corporation;
• Piper Aircraft Company and its successor The New Piper Aircraft, Inc.;
• Mooney Aviation Company, Inc.;
• Eurocopter Deutschland GmbH;
• Avco Corporation;
• Honeywell International, Inc.;
• Continental Motors, Inc.;
• Teledyne Technologies Incorporated; and
• HydroAire, Inc.
In addition to the firm’s extensive aviation product liability experience, we have successfully litigated against the United States of America as a result of air traffic control negligence, and have litigated dozens of cases against fixed base operators for improper maintenance practices, and have pursued claims against pilots and flight instructors. We recently resolved a case involving pilot error overcoming a potential workers’ compensation defense. The litigation provided a substantial settlement to the family of the passenger killed in the accident.
The following is a brief list of just a few of the more recent general aviation and helicopter accidents in which the firm has been retained:
• Crash of Raytheon 390 Premier I corporate jet aircraft on December 17, 2013 near Atlanta, Georgia;
• Crash of Bell Helicopter Model 407 on October 9, 2012 near Coolbaugh Township, Pennsylvania;
• Crash of Eurocopter AS355 F1 helicopter on September 15, 2012 in West Windsor, New Jersey;
• Crash of Bell Helicopter Model 206 near Kapuskasing, Ontario on November 2, 2011;
• Crash of Cessna U206G near Leverett, Massachusetts on December 5, 2010;
• Crash of Beech B-60 near Madison, Alabama on January 18, 2010;
• Midair collision between a Piper PA-32R-300 aircraft and Eurocopter AS350 helicopter over the Hudson River in New York on August 8, 2009;
• Crash of Sikorsky S-92 near Newfoundland, Canada on March 12, 2009;
• Crash of Raytheon Bonanza B36TC near North Garden, Virginia on June 14, 2006;
• Crash of Hall Lancair IVP near Vermontville, Michigan on May 31, 2004;
• Crash of Piper Saratoga aircraft near Waterbury Oxford Airport, Connecticut on December 20, 2002;
• Midair collision between a Mooney M10 aircraft and Piper Lance aircraft at Essex County Airport, New Jersey on November 15, 2002; and
• Crash of Sikorsky S61L helicopter near Wendle Creek, British Columbia, Canada on August 8, 2002.