Houston Helicopter Accident Attorneys
Representing Victims of Helicopter Accidents in Houston, Texas & Nationwide
Helicopters are used in a number of areas for travel including the military, private transportation, news industry, air ambulance, and offshore transportation, among others. The U.S. alone runs one half of the global helicopter fleet, and we are experiencing accidents at a far too alarming of a rate. In fact, data compiled by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) showed that there were more than 140 civil helicopter accidents in 2008, with nearly 30 of them proving to be fatal. This led to an accident rate of 3.67 per 100,000 flying hours and 1.22 per 100,000 departures. Unfortunately, these accidents almost always lead to severe, life-threatening injuries.
International statistics show that over 35% of the helicopter accidents occur in this country alone. For every 100,000 miles traveled in flight, a helicopter has a 40% greatly likelihood of an accident than your average aircraft used for passengers and cargo. As accidents are continually on the rise, researchers note that in order to improve the safety on the fleet is to be more aware of what is taking place in the cockpits of the helicopters. The ability of the pilot to control the helicopter determines the safety, or lack thereof, of the occupants on board. When poor judgment is present, lives are placed at risk. Time and time again individuals are becoming the victims of human error in helicopter crashes.
Injured in a Texas Helicopter Crash? Seek Help Today!
If you or someone you care about has been injured in a helicopter crash—or if you lost someone you love— you need experienced legal counsel, and you need it now. At Arnold & Itkin, we know how much is on the line in the wake of serious aviation accidents such as this. Our team is composed of trial lawyers serious about helping injury victims. We have recovered billions of dollars in verdicts and settlements on our clients' behalf. If you have been victimized in a helicopter accident, we encourage you to reach out and contact our firm as soon as possible. Not only can we help determine which laws apply to your case, but we can also help walk you through the process, step-by-step.
With our firm on the side, you don't need to feel alone.
Throughout the years, we have gained a reputation for being compassionate attorneys who truly care about our clients. We have been known to travel to our client's homes, hospital rooms, and to promptly answer calls or texts whenever they are sent. We understand that we are more than just your attorney: we are your advocate.
$1.67 Million Recovered for Victim of Helicopter Accident
We have successfully represented helicopter accident victims in the past. For example, in 2013, we recovered $1.67 million for a man injured in a helicopter accident on the way to a platform in the Gulf of Mexico. In this case, the helicopter's tail rotor stopped functioning, causing the pilot to perform a controlled emergency landing on water. However, the flotation devices had been improperly installed—this led to the helicopter rolling over in the water. The helicopter company argued the two other passengers had not been injured due to the soft landing and non-violent rollover. They also alleged our client had pre-existing conditions. Despite these claims, we recovered $1.67 million.
Common Causes of Helicopter Accidents
Due to the volatile nature of helicopter crashes, there are obviously many different situations that can lead to a crash or an accident.
These causes can typically be grouped into the three main categories.
This refers to helicopter accidents caused by some form of human error—usually by the pilot. For example, it could mean that the pilot did not operate within the aircraft's operational limitations or it could mean that they operated in unsafe conditions.
This refers to accidents that are caused by the failure of some component of the aircraft. This could mean that the component was improperly designed, was never tested, or was manufactured incorrectly (ex: with poor quality materials).
The third cause refers to accidents caused by some malfunction in the electrical components of the aircraft. This can stem from an electrical source that malfunctions, an electrical short, inadequate design, testing, or improper quality control.
Human Error as the Primary Cause of Helicopter Accidents
While countless amounts of research continue to show small numbers for airworthiness failures in helicopter accidents, the primary cause points back to human error. Research conducted by Bell Helicopter Textron shows that between 1985 and 2004, about 75% of all accidents were due to human errors, while other concerns were divided among the remaining 25%. According to years of research, this helicopter company learned that in nearly all human error-related accidents, poor judgment was at the root level. What then, leads to poor judgment on the part of the pilot? The primary concern is lack of training on how to handle possible accident situations or how to properly assess and respond to risks.
The History of Helicopter Crashes
Implementing Safety into the Design
Air travel is one of the many remarkable inventions in recent history. In the early 1940's helicopters began to take flight; along with this new technology came many accidents. With every incident, engineers and pilots alike would learn from their mistakes and the experience, seeking to improve whatever they could. Understanding the value of safety, as well as the importance of this new technology, helicopter safety greatly improved over the years. Even though civil and military helicopters were invented, safety improvements for one often benefited both fleets.
In time, engineers have been able to develop various risk management techniques and hazard identification methods in order to warn a pilot of the helicopter's airworthiness before they take off. These new programs have allowed for accident prevention with regards to the mechanical failures of the aircraft. As techniques have been discovered over the years, the safer the fleets have become.
Accident Causes in the Early Stages
From the first flight of the helicopter until the 1960's, a common cause of accidents was due to the failure of the aircraft mechanics, rarely including failure of the engine. It is believed that engine failure was the least likely cause of an accident because by this time in history enough development had been done for the use of an engine, whereas the idea of flying a helicopter was entirely new. When compared to other forms of aircraft, the helicopter required different forms of maintenance, and the causes of accidents varied as well. Other than simple maintenance errors, due to the earlier stages of the industry, the majority of the accidents were caused by human error or other causes unknown at the time.
Increased Performance in the 1960s
As more time was spent learning about the aircraft, engineers were continuing to implement great improvements on safety. Not only were they designed with more efficient materials to improve aerodynamics, the likelihood of "part failures" were significantly dropping.
Three levels of protection were decided upon for safety in helicopters:
- Fail-proof helicopter design
- Backup system in the event of a design or mechanical failure
- Prevent fatal injuries for all occupants in the aircraft
Contact Our Houston Helicopter Crash Attorneys for a Free Consultation: (888) 493-1629
Regardless of whether you were injured during a helicopter tour or if you were being transported to work on a drill site or on an oil platform, it is important to contact a knowledgeable attorney who can help to protect your legal rights. At Arnold & Itkin, we are trial lawyers who are committed to our clients' success. We know high winds and inclement weather can cause a crash, just as much as we know that crashes can be caused by improperly trained pilots. Regardless of the cause, you can trust our personal injury law firm to protect your legal rights. With years of trial experience and countless successful cases, our law firm will work tirelessly to help you and your family obtain the compensation you deserve after the wrongful death of a loved one or personal injury. Contact us today for further information on how we can help you.
To schedule a free consultation with helicopter injury lawyers, fill out our online form or call (888) 493-1629.