Aviation Accidents Caused by Defective Parts

International Airplane Crash Lawyers with Extensive Experience

Colson Hicks Eidson has a long history of fighting for the victims of aviation accidents and their family members. For over 40 years, our firm has helped plane crash victims obtain multimillion-dollar verdicts and settlements. As a result of our extensive knowledge of aviation laws in the United States as well as internationally, our law firm is well-equipped to handle all manner of aviation accidents, whether they involve small planes, commercial airlines, helicopters and even military aircrafts.

One of the most common causes of aviation accidents is defective equipment, which falls, in part, under product liability law. These kinds of airplane accidents can be caused by defective design of the whole aircraft, improper maintenance and even the negligence of flight crews or airport workers. Our law firm litigated many high-profile aviation accident cases involving defective equipment that has resulted in substantial recoveries for our clients. Below are a few examples of cases that our law firm handled:

Defective Equipment Can Cause Aviation Accidents

Chalk’s Ocean Airways Flight 101

On December 19, 2005, Chalk’s Ocean Airways Flight 101 departed Fort Lauderdale, Florida on a course to Bimini, Bahamas. Near Miami Beach, Florida, witnesses reported white smoke coming out of the aircraft. Shortly after witnesses noticed the smoke, the airplane’s right wing separated from the plane. The aircraft crashed into Government Cut channel and sank, killing all 20 people on board. Shortly thereafter, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reported that the cause of the crash was metal fatigue. Airline officials knew about the damage to the right wing before takeoff, but they did nothing to fix it. This defect was the direct cause of the accident.

Colson Hicks Eidson represented four of the families of victims killed in the plane crash. The total settlement paid out to the victims by Chalk’s Ocean Airways amounted to $51 million.

Austral Líneas Aéreas Flight 2553

On October 10, 1997, Austral 2553 departed Posadas, Argentina on its way to Buenos Aires, Argentina. The plane came upon a storm and diverted course. After diverting, the plane’s airspeed indicator began to drop rapidly, leading the pilots to increase speed. When this failed to correct the problem, the pilots requested clearance to lower altitude. The call went unanswered. The pilots then attempted to reduce the plane’s stall speed by lowering the wing slats on the plane. The airspeed indicator, it was later found, was incorrect due to a product defect. The plane was flying much faster than it was supposed to be. This excess speed caused one of the wing slats to tear off, leading to an immediate loss of control. As a result, the plane crashed, killing all 74 people onboard.

The reason that the airspeed indicator failed was because of a defect in the plane’s pitot tube, which measures airspeed. It froze when the plane flew through a storm cloud, disrupting its readings. Additionally, an alarm meant to indicate problems with the pitot tube did not activate.

In the following legal battles, our law firm served as co-counsel for the majority of the families of those who died in the crash.

U.S. Air Force F-15 Crash

During a United States Air Force training mission over the Gulf of Mexico, an Air Force lieutenant died after his plane caught fire and crashed into the water. Our law firm filed a wrongful death suit against Explosive Technology Corporation and McDonnell Douglas Corporation. The investigation of the accident determined that defective plane components were the cause of the pilot’s death. After the fire began, the decedent attempted to escape from the aircraft by pulling the ejection seat handles. However, the ejection seat failed to launch, and the pilot perished. A two and one-half year investigation determined the likely cause of failure was a manufacturing defect in the plane’s Shielded Mild Detonating Cord (SMDC), a high-speed explosive fuse.

After the accident, our product liability attorneys represented the victim as well as his family and were able to settle the case for an undisclosed amount.

Miami Aviation Product Liability Lawyers Serve Clients Worldwide

The process of litigating plane and helicopter accidents caused by defective parts requires comprehensive knowledge of product liability laws, aviation laws, international jurisdiction and some aspects of maritime law as well. Therefore, if you have suffered injuries or have lost a family member in an aviation accident, it is important to discuss your personal injury or wrongful death case with a highly skilled attorney with experience specific to aviation accident cases.

At Colson Hicks Eidson, we have handled plane and helicopter accident cases worldwide and have achieved substantial recovery for victims of these crashes. Call us at 305-476-7400 or fill out our online case review form to schedule a free consultation.