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Trusted, Trial-Tested Aviation Accident Lawyers

Accidents involving commercial airliners almost always leave victims with catastrophic injuries or loved ones mourning their loss. Bowles & Verna LLP is an internationally recognized law firm based in San Francisco and Walnut Creek, California. Our aviation accident lawyers have represented domestic and international clients and can assist with complex cases involving crashes outside U.S. borders. Even if you think the U.S. court system has no jurisdiction in your case, you may have more legal options than you realize – and our airplane accident attorneys can help.

If your family has been impacted by a commercial jet or private plane accident, our firm is your legal resource.  We have represented injury victims and families of wrongful death victims in dozens of cases related to plane crashes, including most major airline incidents in the last few decades. There is hope of securing compensation with the help of an airplane accident lawyer.

What To Know About Aviation Accidents From A Plane Crash Lawyer

Because of the nature of flight, aviation accidents are among the most complex. Commercial airplanes routinely cross international boundaries, carrying passengers from all over the world, and small planes and helicopters also cross national borders. Planes and equipment components are designed and manufactured in various countries, impacting court jurisdictional issues. Liability for a crash can rest with several potential parties. In many cases, blame is attributed to aviation errors involving the pilot, maintenance crew, or air traffic controllers. Often, the situation involves product liability traced to faulty design or manufacturing of plane equipment. Our  aviation accident attorneys handle cases for victims of all types of aviation accidents, including:

We have been representing clients in airline accident litigation for more than 25 years. Our two senior partner attorneys have more than 75 years of combined experience, and all of our trial lawyers have been practicing law for at least 10 years. Our Oakland aviation accident lawyers know how to probe the evidence and uncover the responsible party or parties after a plane crash. Once we find the responsible party, we will be able to secure damage awards for our clients that are worthy of the catastrophic injuries and losses they have suffered.

Our Plane Accident Lawyers Know How To Determine Fault

Causation is one of the most complicated issues in a plane crash. There are very few survivors in these accidents, including pilots, to explain what happened. There are very few eyewitnesses to explain what happened. Countless interconnected factors cause any plane accident, complicating the issue. However, barring the occasional unforeseen weather disaster accident, there is almost always at least one party to blame when a plane goes down. It could be a pilot error, a maintenance issue or a mistake by an air traffic controller. Our airplane accident attorneys have seen all of these scenarios. Examples of each are described below:

  • Pilot Errors: The first place to look for causation when a plane crashes is with the person who is most immediately in control of the craft: the pilot. Pilot error can result from:
  • Simple mistakes: Even the most highly trained pilot is human like the rest of us and prone to error from time to time. However, this does not negate a pilot’s liability. If the pilot is personally responsible for a tragic error, the pilot should be the one compensating the victims for the damages that ensue.
  • Incompetence: Some errors made by pilots are not simple mistakes that any pilot might make in the same situation. Some mistakes reveal complete incompetence on the part of the pilot and are without explanation or excuse.
  • Impairment: As tragic as it is, some pilots take to the air while seriously impaired by alcohol or drug consumption, risking the lives of all the passengers on board.

The plane’s black box can be an invaluable source of data for revealing pilot error. Our  airplane accident lawyers will also examine the pilot’s flight and career history as well as any other available evidence.

When Maintenance And Manufacturing Errors Cause A Plane Crash

When there is a malfunction within the working parts of the plane, it is either due to a problem with the initial airframe manufacturing or the ongoing maintenance of the plane, causing fatal malfunctions with the essential components of a plane or helicopter such as:

  • Ground proximity warning systems
  • Takeoff warning system
  • Landing systems
  • Engines
  • Communication systems

As mentioned above, aircraft parts can be sourced worldwide, the planes are assembled in factories and service/maintenance can happen at numerous facilities owned by or contracting with the airline. Investigations can be a complex maze, but our aviation accident attorneys understand how to follow every trail to its ultimate source.

The Dangers Of Air Traffic Control Errors

Air traffic controllers are the people who help pilots navigate to their destinations without incident, helping them avoid inclement weather and collisions with other planes. Like pilots, air traffic controllers make occasional errors that cause accidents. There are also circumstances involving smaller private planes where the plane is flying through uncontrolled airspace and navigation errors occur to the detriment of everyone onboard. You will need the help of our plane accident lawyers to find the error made by an air traffic controller and hold the negligent party accountable.

High-Profile Cases That Our Airplane Accident Attorneys Have Handled

By multinational treaty agreements, crash victims and families have potential avenues for obtaining compensation in American courts. The location of the accident and citizenship of the victim is not necessarily a deterrent to the pursuit of a civil personal injury case in the U.S. Bowles & Verna is currently representing clients in the missing Malaysia Airline Flight 370 case from 2015 and the 2013 crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 from South Korea to San Francisco.

We represent domestic and international clients and can assist with complex cases involving crashes outside U.S. borders.

We have successfully obtained compensation for international clients in many other high-profile cases, including the 2005 Helios Airways Flight 522, which crashed in Greece, and the 2009 Air France 447 flight from Paris to Rio de Janeiro. For the Air France flight, we pursued a federal court case against the American companies that manufactured malfunctioning computer parts, securing a $22 million settlement for our clients.

Damages For Victims And Families

Most aviation cases are wrongful death litigation, with damages collected by the families of accident victims. Any crash survivors will almost always suffer catastrophic injuries, such as burns and spinal cord injuries. The plane crash lawyers at our firm have achieved numerous high-dollar settlements and jury awards for aviation accident victims in their personal injury claims. After many years of experience and familiarity with these complicated laws, we have a very strong record of success with these cases. We are trial lawyers with a reputation for aggressive legal work for our clients. We are always fully prepared in court, with meticulously researched cases that bring top settlements or jury awards.

Can Any Personal Injury Lawyer Represent You In An Aviation Accident Lawsuit?

While most attorneys would be allowed to represent you, only select firms that have airplane accident attorneys would have the knowledge, experience, resources and geographical reach to be able to handle your case effectively. Aviation accident cases are incredibly complex, and both complexity and costs generally increase with the size of the plane.

Our firm has 23 such attorneys, an international reach and considerable experience taking on well-funded defendants like major airlines and airplane manufacturers. For these and other reasons, we are a trusted legal resource for plane accident victims and their families.

How Long Do Aviation Accident Lawsuits Last?

Unfortunately, litigation related to major accidents can last for years. Crashes often require lengthy investigations by the National Transportation Safety Board and other government agencies. Then, litigation can be stalled by questions of jurisdiction (where lawsuits should be heard) and other procedural hurdles.

Although these cases require huge investments of time and money, if you hire us, our plane accident lawyers will not abandon you when things get difficult. Our firm sees these lawsuits through to the very end.

Contact Our Knowledgeable And Experienced Plane Accident Attorneys

If an aviation accident has taken the life of your loved one or caused devastating injuries, an informed decision can bring maximum compensation. Money never truly compensates for grief and trauma but can help on the path to rebuilding. Please contact Bowles & Verna today to schedule a free consultation. Just call 925-478-5763 or submit an online contact form.