How Safe Are Helicopters?
The death of Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and seven other people in 2020 put a focus on the safety of helicopters. Whenever there is a fatal helicopter accident in the news, people begin wondering whether traveling by helicopter is safe. Unfortunately, helicopter accidents are common.
Helicopter Travel is Risky – What Causes Helicopter Accidents?
From 2013 through 2018, there was an average of 126 helicopter accidents each year in the United States. In 2018, 55 people died in fatal helicopter accidents.
Traveling by helicopter is risky. Helicopters are more likely to crash than other aircraft.
Helicopter travel can be risky due to:
- Lack of maintenance protocols
- Inexperienced pilots
- Lack of safety technologies
- Variations in terrain
- Equipment malfunctions
- Rapidly changing and unsafe weather conditions
- Low visibility along flight paths
- Lack of industry regulations
- Failure to inspect the helicopter before each flight
- Defects in the design or manufacturing of the helicopter or its components
- Mistakes by air traffic controllers
Pilot errors are often factors in a helicopter crash. Pilots with little experience and inadequate training are more likely to make errors that could lead to a helicopter accident. However, there could be multiple factors that contributed to a helicopter accident.
Helicopters are intricate machines. They can move vertically, back and forth, and change altitude in ways that no other aircraft can duplicate. Because of these differences, helicopters can operate low to the ground and traverse tight landscapes. These factors can also contribute to the cause of a helicopter crash.
Types of Injuries Victims Sustained in Helicopter Accidents
Helicopter accidents can result in wrongful deaths and catastrophic injuries.
Many victims suffer multiple injuries in the crash.
Injuries common in helicopter accidents include:
- Severe burns and lacerations
- Broken bones and fractures
- Internal organ damage
- Blunt force trauma
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Back and spinal cord injuries
Permanent impairments, disfigurement, and disabilities are common consequences of helicopter accident injuries. Victims may require extensive surgeries and rehabilitation to recover. The costs to treat helicopter injuries can be staggering.
What Compensation Can You Recover for a Helicopter Crash?
The compensation you might be entitled to receive after a helicopter accident depends on the facts of the case and your injuries.
Generally, your damages can be divided into three categories:
You can recover reimbursement for medical expenses and bills incurred because of injuries sustained in the accident. Other economic damages include property damage, loss of income, cost of personal care, and other financial losses.
You can also receive compensation for your physical injuries and permanent impairments. Noneconomic damages include the physical, emotional, and mental anguish experienced because of the helicopter crash. Loss of enjoyment of life and decreased quality of life are also included in this category of damages.
Punitive damages are rare in personal injury cases. However, if a party acted with gross negligence or reckless indifference, the court could order punitive damages to “punish” the at-fault party for their conduct.
Who is Responsible for Damages Caused by a Helicopter Crash?
Helicopter accident investigations are time-consuming, technical, and expensive. However, it is necessary to investigate every aspect of the helicopter crash to determine the factors that contributed to the accident. Those factors can identify who is responsible for the accident.
Potential parties that may be named in a helicopter accident lawsuit include:
- Owners and operators
- Tour companies
- Government agencies
- Repair and maintenance companies
- Helipad owners and operators
After identifying the liable parties, you can proceed to file insurance claims and injury claims. Most cases are settled through direct negotiations between the parties. However, if you need to file a lawsuit, there are time limits for filing lawsuits related to helicopter accidents.
What Should I Do After a Helicopter Accident?
Follow your doctor’s treatment plan and complete your medical care. Additionally, start thinking about your legal rights, and contact a helicopter accident lawyer to discuss your case as soon as possible.
While you are healing from your injuries, an attorney begins an accident investigation. The lawyer requests copies of investigations by government agencies and may hire professional investigators and experts to assist with an independent investigation.
Your lawyer monitors deadlines for filing personal injury claims to ensure you initiate your case on time. A helicopter accident case requires knowledge of numerous areas of law. Seeking legal counsel is the best way to protect your right to fair compensation for your injuries and damages.