As a former commercial airline captain, FAA-certified flight instructor (CFI, CFII, MEI) and former manager in a commercial airline safety commission, Sean Leventhal provides a level of expertise in aviation law you won’t find at other law firms. If you’ve been injured in an aviation accident, you deserve the expert legal counsel and aggressive representation available at Leventhal Sar LLC.
To begin building your claim with our experienced aviation accident attorneys, please contact Leventhal Sar LLC today online or at 720.667.3030. Our Denver office welcomes clients from Aurora, Cherry Creek, and throughout Colorado.
Practical Knowledge of the Aviation Industry
Before beginning his legal career, Sean Leventhal was as a commercial airline captain. During this time, he also worked to start the Airline Safety Action Program. The goal of this safety commission was to offer pilots a safe environment in which to identify safety issues – and admit to unintentional mistakes – with immunity from both the airline company and the FAA.
Although he eventually traded his wings for a legal career, Mr. Leventhal remains an FAA-certified flight instructor. This intimate understanding of federal regulations for both commercial and general aviation allows Leventhal Sar LLC to provide our aviation accident clients with unparalleled representation and advocacy.
Commercial Aviation Accidents
Thankfully, recent years have been the safest in commercial aviation history. When compared to the frequency of auto accidents, air travel is a considerably safer way to commute. However, when commercial airline accidents do happen, they usually involve a much greater number of traumatic injuries, fatalities and potentially responsible parties.
In the hectic moments following a plane crash, survivors and frightened families don’t know what to do and often rely on the family care teams provided by the airline to guide them. However, family care teams obtain their information and direction directly from the same airline that may eventually be held liable for the crash. These teams do not adequately provide individuals with a complete range of options because they are not supposed to discuss legal matters with families. It is crucial that family members discuss their case with a legal expert who is intimate with aviation law and doesn’t work for the airline.
Although certain federal laws prohibit attorneys from making uninvited contact with crash victims and their families in the immediate moments following an accident, no law prevents those individuals from contacting qualified legal counsel as soon as possible.
General Aviation Accidents
General aviation is often misunderstood as including only small, propeller-driven aircraft. However, the term refers to nearly 92 percent of U.S. aircraft, and is defined as all domestic civilian flights except scheduled commercial trips. This includes anything from gliders to non-scheduled cargo flights and corporate jets.
While the airline industry has steadily improved its accident rate over the last decade, the general aviation industry safety record has remained unchanged. While crashes and fatalities are down in business and corporate jet flights, the accident rate in personal flights has risen by 20 percent and the fatality rate has jumped 25 percent.
Compared to commercial flights, private aircraft lack several safety features, such as extra engines, backup navigation systems and co-pilots. Even though private pilots are required to complete training and proficiency checks every two years, the requirements are not as exhaustive as with commercial airline captains.
Charter Flight Accidents
There are several different types of chartered flights. Many airplane owners generate income by chartering their planes to other operators. Some charter planes are operated by their owners, but the destinations to which they fly are specified by a customer. Some charter companies have a single plane while others own an entire fleet. Other charter companies provide fractional ownership to several shareholders, giving each a certain amount of flying time.
Due to the complexity of ownership and the wide range of charter arrangements, it is important to seek a knowledgeable aviation aircraft lawyer when considering legal action against a charter airline. Determining liability in any aviation case is complicated, but charter flight accidents inherently provide a unique set of challenges.
Helicopters are familiar urban aircrafts. They fly where airplanes cannot, landing on rooftops, assisting police searches, serving as ambulances and monitoring rush hour traffic. While offering a number of practical and tactical advantages, helicopters pose a particular risk to passengers and crew as well as the neighborhoods and communities above which they fly.
Common Causes of Aviation Accidents
The National Safety Council reports that the odds of dying in an aviation accident are 1 in 7,229. In comparison, the chances of perishing in a car are 1 in 415. Even so, planes and other aircraft crash every year, with devastating consequences. Some of the most common causes of aviation accidents include:
- Pilot error: The majority of plane wrecks result from some form of pilot error. This makes sense, considering the extensive breadth of a pilot’s responsibilities. Pilots must execute safe takeoffs and landings, react quickly to mechanical problems and navigate through changing and dangerous weather. Plane accidents can happen when a pilot doesn’t notice equipment failure, misreads navigational instruments or misjudges weather conditions. In some tragic instances, pilots become incapacitated during crucial points of the flight. This has been known to happen due to extreme and sudden changes in cabin pressure, heart attacks and physiological disorders.
- Mechanical failure: There are thousands of component parts which can potentially cause an aviation accident, including communications systems, fuel delivery systems, fire suppression systems, navigation systems, landing gear, safety equipment and more. Mechanical failure can occur due to poor maintenance, a faulty design, a manufacturing defect or normal wear and tear. Because of the vast number of potentially faulty parts, and the people responsible for their design, production and maintenance, it is important to gather a significant team of legal and engineering experts in order to determine the cause of a crash.
- Weather: Even though flights are often grounded when weather conditions become severe, hazardous storms, heavy winds and thick fog can surprise air traffic controllers and pilots. Lightning strikes are particularly dangerous threats to air safety. Lightning can cause temporary blindness, ignite fuel tanks and cause critical electrical failure. Even mild weather can present danger. Fog can inhibit a pilot’s vision, making safe landings difficult, and rain-soaked runways can cause a number of ground-related hazards.
- Air traffic control error: Air traffic controllers are responsible for a number of flight safety issues, including organizing takeoffs and landings, monitoring weather conditions, alerting pilots of other aircraft in the area and more. A simple lapse of judgment or momentary distraction can have devastating consequences for flight passengers and ground crews.
Common Injuries in Aviation Accidents
Due to the severe impact with the ground, most aviation accidents result in catastrophic injuries and death. Some common injuries suffered by crash victims include:
- Severe back and neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Severe head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
Sadly, many aircraft crashes result in the loss of a loved one. Wrongful death cases are particularly difficult for family members trying to make sense of their sudden loss. Our attorneys will concentrate on handling all aspects of your legal claim so you can focus on your family’s healing process.
Airport Premises Liability
It is not uncommon for accidents to occur while at an airport, boarding an aircraft or on a plane during flight. If you have been injured due to dangerous conditions in an airport or on a plane, you may be eligible for compensation. Injuries on an airplane or in an airport can be caused by:
- Slip and fall on a boarding ramp
- Slip and fall on the tarmac
- Fall on a moving sidewalk
- Fall on a defective escalator
- Slip and fall in a food court, restaurant or bathroom
- Luggage retrieval or conveyer belts
- Inadequately secured items in an overhead bin
- Failure to warn about turbulence
- Physical and sexual assaults due to negligent security
Compensation for Your Aviation Accident
Aviation accidents can have catastrophic consequences for victims and their families. These cases can involve intricate legal, jurisdictional, investigative and insurance-related considerations. It can be overwhelming to try to untangle these complexities without the support of qualified legal counsel.
Our committed Denver aviation accident attorneys will examine every aspect of your case with compassion, diligence and integrity. We will aggressively work to ensure your compensation reflects the full extent of your loss. Depending on the specific circumstances of your situation, you may be eligible to receive compensation for:
- Medical costs
- Lost wages and earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of companionship
- Funeral and burial costs
- Loss of consortium
How Leventhal Sar Can Help
At Leventhal Sar LLC, we distinguish ourselves by our commitment to personal attention. When you work with us, you will be our top priority. You will never be handed off to an assistant or paralegal.
We believe in honest and thoughtful communication. If we don’t believe in the strength of your case, we’ll tell you right away. We work on a contingency basis, which means we don’t get paid until you do.
From mass air disasters to single-plane accidents, Leventhal Sar LLC has the knowledge, experience and tenacity you need to build a strong case. Contact our aviation accident attorneys today by completing the form on this page or calling 720.667.3030 for a free consultation. Our Denver office proudly serves clients from Aurora, Cherry Creek and throughout the state.