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North Carolina Helicopter Accident Lawyers can Assist Persons Injured in Crashes

The United States is literally the helicopter capital of the world, with over half of helicopter manufacturers located in the United States and, unfortunately, it is also the site of more than a third of helicopter crashes. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, 27 people died in 15 fatal helicopter accidents in 2019.

Many aviation insiders consider helicopters to be far more dangerous than fixed-wing airplanes. Between 2001 and 2005, the accident rate for non-government helicopter flights exceeded the crash rate for fixed-wing airplanes by nearly half.

Why are Helicopter Accidents So Common?

Controlling a helicopter is more complex and thus far more challenging than controlling fixed-wing airplanes. A helicopter pilot must exercise perfect control over the main and tail rotors, over the driveshaft, the gear shift, and other necessary components to keep the helicopter safely afloat in the air. In addition, helicopters do not glide like aircraft when the engine or other components fail. Pilot error or equipment malfunction on a helicopter can rapidly spiral into disaster.

Despite the inherent risks, helicopters can undertake flying tasks that fixed-wing airplanes cannot. They are often used for dangerous flight missions that involve dropping supplies or personnel into specific areas, or they can be used to rescue persons from dangerous places. Helicopters can fly at lower altitudes than airplanes, which enables them to undertake specific tasks that fixed-wing airplanes cannot, however, when flying at lower altitudes, helicopters and those flying and riding in them face dangers from utility wires, mountains, tall buildings, and radio towers. When helicopters crash, the force of the accident is often extremely powerful, and deaths are common in helicopter crash incidents.

Helicopter Pilots Face Liability Claims For Causing Crashes

Outside of a few specific industries and callings, most persons do not have the occasion to ride in a helicopter unless they are involved in a medical evacuation or go on sightseeing and touring flights. The law enforcement industry frequently utilizes helicopters, as does the border control agency, firefighters, news outlets, offshore oil drillers, the coast guard, and private transportation companies. The first step in determining whether or not a person injured in a helicopter crash has a valid claim for a loved one's injury or death is to determine who was at fault, or liable, for the helicopter accident.

Most helicopter crashes are caused by pilot error. When a pilot's negligence causes a helicopter crash, the pilot and the company employing the pilot may face liability for the wrongful deaths of any persons onboard the aircraft. In order to determine who was at fault for a helicopter crash, government agencies and private actors may conduct thorough investigations of the incident.

The Federal Aviation Administration is invested with the authority to investigate helicopter crashes occurring in the United States. Because its investigations are thorough, determining the cause or causes of a crash often takes months and even years. A person or survivors can hire private legal counsel to keep abreast of any investigative developments, to conduct their own investigation, and to determine the cause of a crash.

A team of experienced legal professionals can interview witnesses to a helicopter crash, and they can determine the most likely cause or causes of a crash, notwithstanding the determinations made by other authorities. A person will only be entitled to win damages if one can prove that a loved one's injuries or death was proximately caused by the negligence of a helicopter pilot, a manufacturer, a mechanic, or some person responsible for the integrity of the craft and its operation.

If shoddy workmanship by a mechanic or repair person is suspected, an experienced legal professional can investigate the circumstances of a repair and potential avenues of liability stemming from any negligence committed by a repair person. Experienced legal professionals can employ experts from various specialty areas in the aviation industry to review crash records, assist with investigations, and to testify regarding the cause of an airline crash incident.

Contact a North Carolina Helicopter Crash Lawyer Today

If you or someone you love has been injured in a helicopter crash incident, the sooner you speak with a skilled personal injury lawyer, the better. The legal professionals at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, have helped many Charlotte area clients recover damages for personal injuries caused by crashes, and have brought numerous wrongful-death lawsuits against at-fault entities. We offer potential new clients a free initial consultation. Contact us today to schedule your consultation and learn how we can help you fight for your rights.

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