Houston Helicopter Accident Attorneys

Representing Victims of Helicopter Accidents in Texas & Nationwide

The United States alone runs one half of the global helicopter fleet, and we are experiencing accidents at an alarming rate. International statistics show that over 35% of the helicopter accidents occur in the U.S. For every 100,000 miles traveled in flight, whether it's for private or military transportation, the news industry, an air ambulance, or offshore transportation, a helicopter has a 40% higher likelihood of an accident than any other aircraft.

According to data compiled by the NTSB and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), there were 94 civil helicopter accidents in 2020, with 19 of them causing 35 fatalities. As helicopter accidents continue to occur, researchers note that in order to improve the safety on the fleet, we must be more aware of what is taking place in the cockpits. 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, people are becoming the victims of human error in helicopter crashes. If this happened to you or someone you love, call (888) 493-1629. We're here to help.

Record-Setting Aviation Accident Attorneys

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Injured in a Texas Helicopter Crash? You Deserve the Best Attorney.

Houston is no stranger to helicopter accidents. The region's thriving offshore industry means helicopter travel is common for workers as a means of getting to and from platforms. Tourists and civilians embark on helicopter tours or charter helicopters to travel short distances. When these helicopters are improperly operated or poorly maintained, pilots and passengers may suffer life-changing injuries or may not survive to fly again.

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, our Houston aviation accident attorneys know how much is on the line in the wake of helicopter accidents. Our team is composed of trial lawyers serious about helping injury victims.

We have recovered more than $20 billion on our clients' behalf.

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.

Our Texas Offshore Helicopter Crash Lawyers Help Workers & Their Families

As the nation's energy hub, many offshore workers disembark from the Houston area via helicopter to spend weeks working on the water. With more than 4,000 oil rigs operating in the Gulf of Mexico, helicopters serve an important role in transporting workers, supplies, and other essential needs. As a faster mode of transportation than sea vessels, they are an invaluable aid to the workers and crew who spend months at a time at sea. However, they are also extremely prone to accidents.

In fact, the possibility of a helicopter crash makes the journey to and from oil platforms the most dangerous aspect of working offshore. One report found that there were 28 fatal accidents and 147 deaths between 2013 and 2018. The most common cause of these accidents was found to be "controlled flight into terrain or water." In other words, many offshore helicopter accidents are preventable. According to data provided by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), from 1983 to 2009, 139 people have died in helicopter crashes in the oil and gas industry alone.

The risk of being involved in a helicopter accident is so high that many major oil companies require accident survival training for workers and visitors headed to offshore platforms.

Some of the leading causes for offshore helicopter crashes include:

  • Dangerous weather conditions: Varying weather conditions in the Gulf of Mexico can make flying dangerous. Rain and gusty winds dramatically increase the risk of crashing, especially when attempting to land on the destination platform.
  • Pilot error or negligence: The majority of accidents are attributed to pilot error, though many of them also list adverse weather conditions as a contributing factor.
  • Improper or lack of training
  • Mechanical failure: This also means that it's important for the destination rig to maintain their own safety equipment, such as warning lights and communication devices so that the helicopters can transport their loads safely.
  • Lack of maintenance: Regular maintenance is imperative to ensure that all instruments, equipment, and mechanisms function properly.

Without taking the proper safety measures in every situation, even a small issue can lead to a major accident. Though safety measures such as underwater air systems, enhanced flotation devices, and bigger windows for passengers to escape from in a crash continue to improve the safety of flights, this transportation method continues to carry a high risk of danger for both pilots and passengers, especially in a maritime setting. Reports show that the risk of getting killed while on the job is seven times higher for offshore workers, the most dangerous part of their jobs is simply getting to work.

$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.

A 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 more techniques have been discovered over the years, fleets have become safer.

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
  • Prevention of fatal injuries for all occupants in the aircraft

Contact Our Houston Helicopter Crash Attorneys at (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 oil platform, it is important to contact a knowledgeable attorney who can help to protect your legal rights. At Arnold & Itkin, we 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 or mechanical error. Regardless of the cause, you can trust our Houston 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.

To schedule a free consultation with our Houston helicopter injury lawyers, call (888) 493-1629.

Common Questions

  • What Are Common Causes of Helicopter Accidents?

    There are many different situations that can lead to a crash. Operational errors refer 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 they operated in unsafe conditions. Mechanical malfunction refers to accidents caused by the failure of some component. This could mean the component was improperly designed, was never tested, or was manufactured incorrectly. Electrical malfunction 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.

  • How Often Does Human Error Cause Helicopter Accidents?

    While countless amounts of research continue to show small numbers of 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 error, 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 the lack of training on how to handle possible accident situations or how to properly assess and respond to risks.

  • How Often Do Helicopters Crash?

    The latest numbers from the FAA report that helicopter crashes occur 1.02 per 100,000 flight hours, which is much higher than the average for all aviation accident types. In 2019, 24 helicopter accidents led to 55 fatalities in the United States. Many of these crashes occurred due to pilot error and lack of fuel.

  • Who Is Liable for Helicopter Accidents?

    Liability for a helicopter accident will vary depending on the circumstances of the crash. It will take an in-depth investigation to determine what caused the accident and, therefore, who is responsible. If equipment failure was to blame, it may be that fault lies with the manufacturer of the part or perhaps the pilot or engineer who was responsible for inspecting or maintaining that piece of equipment. If pilot error was to blame, the pilot or their employer could be held responsible. Helicopter charter companies, manufacturers, mechanics, airport personnel, and helicopter owners/operators are all examples of potentially at-fault parties after a helicopter crash.

  • What Should I Do if I Was Hurt While Being Transported to the Rig?

    Helicopters may be the preferred method of transportation to offshore rigs, but they can be dangerous. If you were hurt while being transported by helicopter to a rig, you need to protect your interests. Make sure you seek medical care, take notes about what happened, inform your employer, and avoid signing anything or making an official statement. You do not want to jeopardize your right to full and fair compensation by signing a document or agreeing to a settlement that limits your employer’s liability. Your life has been changed by this incident. Make sure you get the compensation you need to put the pieces back together.

  • What Are My Rights After an Offshore Helicopter Accident?

    First and foremost, you have the right to seek medical treatment at the hospital and by the practitioner of your choosing. Your employer cannot legally force you to use a doctor or go to a hospital that they choose for you. You also have the right to fully recover until you’re cleared by your doctor to return to work. Your employer may try to get you to return sooner. If you do not feel well enough to return, communicate this to your doctor and hold your ground. You also have the right to refuse to sign anything or give any official statements about the chopper accident and your injuries unless you have your attorney present. You need to look out for your own interests, and asserting these rights will help ensure this.

  • What Injuries Are Caused by Offshore Helicopter Crashes?

    Unfortunately, the very nature of an offshore helicopter crash means everyone on board may not survive, and those who do may experience catastrophic injuries. These include traumatic brain injuries, burn injuries, spinal cord injuries, and loss of limb. In addition to this, there is a high risk of post-traumatic stress disorder from the experience itself. All of these injuries will impact a victim’s life. It’s important to secure the level of compensation that will cover all medical care, lost income, ongoing expenses, and emotional trauma associated with the accident—so the victim and his or her family can face a more stable future.

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