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Helicopter Crashes

New York Helicopter Crash 

In 2019, Uber announced a new feature where people could book a helicopter ride for a few hundred dollars to get them to Kennedy Airport. The service, called Uber Helicopter, is advertised for use in lower Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn.

This same service has been available for years through Blade. However, air traffic is expected to increase significantly if the Uber service takes off. In 2018, there were 50,000 flights recorded over Manhattan, and the skies are only expected to become more crowded.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), as reported in New York Magazine, there have been 30 helicopter crashes in the city since 1983 and at least 25 fatalities. Across the U.S., the total number of accidents was down 20 percent in 2020, from 121 in 2019 to 94.

If you or someone you love was injured or killed in a helicopter crash, you want an experienced New York personal injury attorney to represent your rights and fight for compensation. The attorneys at Harris Keenan & Goldfarb understand that no amount of compensation can bring back a loved one or change permanent physical injuries.

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helicopter accident

Helicopter Pilots Must Follow Strict Regulations

Over the past few years, helicopter crashes have become more common. According to data released by the U.S. Helicopter Safety Team, the rate of fatal helicopter accidents per 100,000 flight hours increased from 2016 to 2018. 

The number of fatalities also rose. According to the report, the rise may be due in part to more “non-essential low-altitude operations.” These low-flying helicopters suddenly encounter obstacles, such as power lines or buildings.

Helicopter use is regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration. In 2014, they imposed stricter requirements on helicopter pilots. This was prompted in part by 12 air ambulance crashes that year that killed 29 crew members and patients. 

Under these regulations, a helicopter operator must fulfill several criteria. These include undergoing additional training and using additional safety equipment. Helicopter operators must also equip the aircraft with flight data monitoring systems and comply with stricter flight regulations. 

The regulations for air ambulances are meant to protect passengers and reduce the risk of a collision. However, some helicopter tour companies have avoided safety regulations by exploiting a loophole in the law. 

This came to light in 2018 when a helicopter operator declared the flight as an aerial photography flight, which exempted it from the commercial rules. After the aircraft lost power and landed in the East River, all five passengers drowned because they couldn’t unfasten their seat restraints. The restraint system had not been approved for safety.

What Are the Common Causes of Helicopter Crashes?

Helicopter accidents can happen for many reasons. One of the more common causes is pilot error. Pilots who are distracted or fatigued can easily make a mistake that causes a crash. 

Fatigue can cause a pilot to make significant errors during takeoff or landing. This is especially dangerous during turbulence. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) uses the category of pilot error to cover a multitude of mistakes. These can be made by the pilot or can occur due to communication problems with the pilot. For example, an air traffic controller may give inaccurate information about a landing site, or the pilot may have inaccurate information about poor weather.

Mechanical failure is another common problem that can cause a helicopter crash. This may be triggered by faulty repair or maintenance. The failure can also be caused by inclement weather that causes a part to operate incorrectly. Dangerous weather conditions and design flaws round out some of the common causes of helicopter crashes.

Who Investigates a Helicopter Crash?

After a helicopter accident, the NTSB investigates the crash site. The FAA may also investigate the accident. This happens when it’s believed the accident involved a violation of FAA regulations. No matter who investigates the crash, it is crucial to have a law firm with experience in helicopter crashes by your side to represent your interests. 

The legal team of Harris Keenan & Goldfarb has resources available to investigate your accident. Accident victims and their families need an experienced and skilled litigator in their corner.

Who Is Responsible for a Helicopter Accident?

It is typical that more than one entity can be held liable for a helicopter crash. For example, an air traffic controller error may contribute to pilot error, or poor maintenance can result in a crash. The FAA may also be held responsible since it is tasked with monitoring aircraft while they are in flight. If they were not properly monitoring or communicating, the FAA might be partially liable. 

An experienced legal team will ask the necessary questions to determine every party that may be liable for a helicopter crash. This is important because if multiple parties are at fault for the crash, it’s more likely that you’ll receive full compensation for your losses. 

While the FAA and NTSB will investigate the crash, an independent investigation is a crucial part of your legal claim. It is recommended that families consult with the experienced New York helicopter crash personal injury team from Harris Keenan & Goldfarb as soon as possible so we can examine the unique details of their case.

Call Harris Keenan & Goldfarb Today for Help After a New York Helicopter Accident

The experienced legal team at Harris Keenan & Goldfarb are aggressive negotiators and skilled litigators. Our team works tirelessly to resolve your case successfully, and we promise to explore every legal avenue open to you. We communicate with our clients consistently and work together with them as partners. We’ll make sure that you are not in this alone.

We believe that you should spend your energy taking care of your family and leave the negotiation and litigation to us. Call our office today at 800-724-6529 to schedule your confidential case evaluation. You will meet with an experienced attorney who will review your case, answer your questions, and advise you on your next best steps.


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