Steep climb and uncontrolled descent during takeoff. Crash following in-flight fire. Runway overrun during rejected takeoff. Rapid decompression due to fuselage rupture. These are just some of the reasons given by the National Transportation Safety Board for aviation disasters – big and small.
More than 1,000 passengers are injured each year in airplane accidents, according to the NTSB. In 2013, for example, 1298 accidents occurred, resulting in 429 fatalities.
Accidents and crashes involving the major commercial airlines, commuter planes and other carriers, as well as helicopter crashes, represent a specialized area of personal injury law.
The legal questions involve jurisdiction on the ground and in the air, statutes of limitations, whether state, federal or international law applies, what theory of law applies, and whether there are standards of proof or limitations on the amount that can be recovered.
The factual questions involve whether there was faulty equipment, defectively designed aircraft, pilot error, negligence on the ground, or otherwise. The Federal Aviation Administration forecasts a growth in air travel system capacity every year until 2035. In fact, the FAA says that domestic aircraft are expected to increase the average number of seats per airplane, and passengers are expected to fly more often, and fly on longer flights over the next two decades.
All of these projections heighten the threat that there will be more aviation accidents – and thus a need for trained legal counsel.
The Law Offices of Mark S. Guralnick has investigated, evaluated and handled a wide variety of airplane injury cases, involving numerous makes and models of aircraft, and diverse fact patterns.
Some cases involve unusual circumstances, such as the case we handled in which a child was badly burned when a flight attendant, who negligently continued serving passengers during turbulence, lost her balance and spilled searing hot tea on the child. Or, the case in which a badly maintained commuter flight encountered an air pocket and lost altitude quickly, forcing the overhead cabins to collapse, disengage from the inner frame of the plane, and drop down onto passengers’ heads.
We also provide expert guidance on cases involving the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), airport security, and significant property losses attributed to airline or airport negligence. One of our cases, for example, involved the destruction of a severely disabled passenger’s customized electric wheelchair by reckless baggage handlers.
The Law Offices of Mark S. Guralnick maintains up-to-date tracking of FAA advisory circular, airworthiness directives, dangerous goods advisory bulletins, temporary flight restrictions, and regulations under the Federal Aviation Act, governing the conduct of pilots, crew members, flight instructors, ground instructors, and other personnel.
We keep track of operating and flight rules, hazardous material regulations, airport facility and terminal procedures, aeronautical navigation procedures and instrumentation, preventative maintenance and mechanical issues.