Aviation Accident Articles

Real Cases- Small Parts Matter in Aviation Case

Aviation cases are extremely intricate. We have to work along with the NTSB, the National Transportation Safety Board, and their investigators, as well as various manufacturers of component parts, and the airship itself.   We did a case at the Segal Law Firm dealing with a helicopter that was flying in the ‘dead man’s curve.’ If a pilot loses power to the helicopter in dead man’s curve, they can’t safely land it because it’s too close to the ground. I know that sounds counterintuitive, but the higher you are up, the more options the pilot has to safely land the aircraft.   Unfortunately, all the members on board that helicopter perished in the crash. I represented the youngest person on board. As it turns out, a spring about the size of one you’d find in a Bic pen was the cause of the accident that killed all those people. The NTSB did a test, and they were able to reproduce the crash with the actual jet engine. Every time they ran the test, the spring caused the helicopter to lose all fuel to the engine.   It was a tragic case. But because of our experience at the Segal Law …

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How Soon Should I Call a Lawyer After an Accident?

The simplest answer to that question is as soon as possible. If you are in an accident, my advice is to call us as soon as you are released from the hospital. If you are going to be in the hospital for an extended period, have a family member call for you.   Evidence Disappears I tell my young lawyers in the office all the time that evidence doesn’t get better, it disappears. The sooner we investigate your case, the less likely it is that this will happen.   We recently had a woman come to us who had been paralyzed in a car accident. She first contacted another law firm and they didn’t really do much. When she called us I asked her where her car was and she said she didn’t know. We found out later that the car was just two days from being permanently destroyed when we found and purchased it. Had we not gotten that vehicle, our client would have no proof of how she was paralyzed in that car accident.   Getting Involved in the Investigation Coal mining accidents, railroad accidents, airplane and helicopter accidents, and many more will involve investigations by the federal …

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Was a Loved One Was Hurt or Killed in an Aviation Accident?

The very first thing you should do if a loved one has been killed or hurt in an airplane or helicopter crash is call The Segal Law Firm. It’s an incredibly difficult and emotional time. We understand that. But there is critical information to collect and time cannot be wasted. It’s never too early to call, but it can be too late. Immediately following an aviation crash, the federal government dispatches an emergency investigation team. These investigations by the National Transportation Safety Board can take up to a year or two years. But what most people don’t realize is that preliminary reports are released along the way that can provide us with useful information for your case. The truth is we don’t need to have all the answers to begin your case. We know that’s what the family is looking for: the answer. Why did this plane crash and severely injure or kill your husband, wife or child? We want to find those answers for you. In fact, we can conduct our own investigation using our jet engine, traffic control, and pilot experts. But if we don’t start right away, crucial evidence could disappear. We’re working on a case right …

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Investigating Aviation Cases- Experience Counts

Experience is very important in any aviation case, whether it’s a helicopter, private airplane, private jet, or a commercial airliner, because the investigation is going to be handled by the NTSB, The National Transportation Safety Board. An experienced lawyer knows what their responsibilities are to the family of a victim of a helicopter crash or airplane crash and will understand how the investigation is conducted and what experts to use to prove a case. An investigation may determine that it was the machine that failed; the helicopter that had a part that broke or commercial jet had an engine that failed. It could be as simple as someone loaded the wrong gasoline on the plane or the helicopter. Believe or not, that still happens. It could be pilot error; the pilot failed to do something the law would expect them to do. The tricky part is that all of the different in people in the investigation are going to have a different view of the situation.   You need an experienced lawyer who can look at the investigation and the results of the investigation, and figure out who to sue. Do you sue the manufacturer of the airplane? Do you …

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Do I Need a West Virginia Lawyer?

“If I’m from out of state and am hurt in West Virginia, is it necessary to have a West Virginia lawyer?” I don’t think I’d use the word ‘necessary,’ but I certainly think it’s in your best interest.   A West Virginia lawyer with the kind of experience the we have at The Segal Law Firm is going to know West Virginia law, West Virginia judges, and West Virginia juries better than an out of state lawyer. But is it absolutely necessary? The answer is no. The thing is, if you get an out of state lawyer, they’re going to have to hire a West Virginia lawyer anyway because they can’t practice law here unless they happen to be licensed. It’s not unusual for us to work with out of state law firms to help clients who have been hurt in West Virginia.   Right now I’m handling a case for a Canadian woman who was severely injured in a motorcycle accident here in West Virginia. Her Canadian lawyer called me and asked me if I would be willing to help. Once I realized how badly she was hurt I, of course, agreed. So, in the end, you are going …

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What is a Mass Tort Case?

The answer is pretty simple: a mass tort case involves a large group of people who were hurt by a singular event. The most famous one in West Virginia was probably the Upper Big Branch disaster, which took the lives of twenty-nine people as a result of one explosion. Another example would be the asbestos that has poisoned thousands of West Virginia workers since the 1940s. Mass tort cases in West Virginia are handled by mass litigation panels that help experienced lawyers move the cases through the system with great efficiency.   If you have the disease mesothelioma, which was caused by the asbestos used to insulate factories in the forties, fifties, sixties and early seventies, your case will be handled as a mass tort case in West Virginia. It will be streamlined by the mass litigation panel. There’s one judge on this panel who tries mesothelioma cases four times a year, which is usually about fifteen to twenty cases each time. As a result of that, we know what discovery needs to happen and what documents we need to prepare in order to get your case to trial.   The Segal Law Firm knows what information is required by …

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Class Action Cases: A Vehicle for the Masses

Class action lawsuits are a vehicle for several people with a similar type claim to bring a case against the same defendant all at once. Usually it involves everyone getting hurt by the same medicine or getting overcharged by the same financial institution. The good news is, you’re offered plenty of protection as part of the class action.   Let’s say the bank overcharges you five cents for a check. Well, you can’t sue the bank for five cents or even five hundred dollars! In fact, it would cost you more to hire a lawyer. But if all the people who use that bank and those checks got together in a class action, they would be able to afford to sue the bank and get that money back. That’s why you see a lot of class actions against financial institutions, lending companies and credit card companies.   It can also involve certain types of medicine. If a drug is put on the market that is dangerous and the FDA had been misled by the drug company, groups of people can ban together to bring a class action. They might ask for things like medical monitoring, which is a certain type …

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Why Does Experience Matter in Aviation Crashes?

Aviation accidents are some of the most complicated cases we see at The Segal Law Firm, so it’s no surprise that your attorney’s experience is absolutely crucial. Whether it’s a commercial airliner, a private jet, or a helicopter, all aircraft is regulated by specific federal regulations. But these rules vary for each type of aircraft. Your lawyer must not only understand these regulations, but must be familiar enough with each type of case so that he or she can relay that information to you, your family, and possibly a jury.   What’s so complicated? A commercial jet case is going to be different than a helicopter case, but they are both going to be investigated by the NTSB or the National Transportation Safety Board. All aviation accidents in this country are investigated first by the NTSB, who invites people from different backgrounds into the investigation. You have to a lawyer, like the lawyers here at The Segal Law Firm, who knows how to track that investigation and get your family information you are entitled to in a timely basis.   Experience with your rights Families have rights. And you need a lawyer who knows what your rights are when it …

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Is There a Difference Between Accident Lawyers & Injury Lawyers?

If you are seeking the services of a lawyer, it may be confusing when you see lawyers who call themselves accident lawyers or injury lawyers, and you may wonder how they differentiate between the two. In my opinion, there really is no difference and although lawyers may state they specialize in specific areas, what really counts is their experience. You need to ask how many injury cases they have tried to a jury; or if they claim they are an accident lawyer, then exactly how many cases have they investigated, filed and resolved, either by mitigation, settlement or winning a case in a trial. If they tell you that you will be their first one – run! For example, if you were in need of a doctor to perform a procedure, you would definitely want to know if they are experienced with that procedure, and it’s no different with lawyers, because your lawyer needs to be experienced with your specific type of case. In the state of West Virginia, a lawyer cannot call himself a specialist; they can tell you their level of experience and the types of cases they have filed, discovered and tried, but they cannot tell you …

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Everyday Accident Prevention – Slow Down and Use Common Sense

In your everyday life it’s important to use precautions that are available and are there to help protect you. Take your seatbelt, for example. Nobody should be driving, even to the store, without being sure that their seatbelt and those of their children are being properly used. Kids should not be allowed to put the shoulder harness behind their back. They need to keep their seatback straight up, as should you as an adult. Obviously, staying off your cell phone, not texting and doing other things that will distract you is also important. I don’t know how many times I’ve had clients come in where the person who hit them was adjusting the radio. Or doing something inside the car that diverted their attention from the road. The Speed limit is the limit. That is the most you should drive. But there are a thousand reasons to drive slower. Exercise common sense and slow down rather than drive the speed limit when there’s too much traffic, it’s raining, it’s foggy, it’s snowing or there are kids in the area. The law in West Virginia says adults must anticipate that children will act childishly. So if you see kids in the …

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