Free Consultation *-Required
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Free Consultation (650) 453-3600
Free Consultation Here
Aviation Accidents - Danko Meredith
A Reputation for Winning.
  • 35 years experience
  • Record results
Contact Aviation Lawyers
Awards + Memberships
NATLA
$13.3M Unapproved parts Jury verdict for family of 67 year-old pilot killed in Cessna 182 crash.
Unapproved parts Jury verdict for family of 67 year-old pilot killed in Cessna 182 crash.
$12M EMS Helicopter crash Confidential settlement for families of crew members killed after helicopter’s rotor blades separated in flight.
EMS Helicopter crash Confidential settlement for families of crew members killed after helicopter’s rotor blades separated in flight. Read More
$14.9M Manufacturer liability Jury verdict for passenger injured in crash of Beechcraft Bonanza
Manufacturer liability Jury verdict for passenger injured in crash of Beechcraft Bonanza Read More
$2.9M Overhauler error Jury verdict for commercial helicopter pilot injured after engine failure.
Overhauler error Jury verdict for commercial helicopter pilot injured after engine failure. Read More
$32.5M Boeing 737 Settlement involving crash of foreign airliner
Boeing 737 Settlement involving crash of foreign airliner
$10M Wire strike Jury verdict for widow of pilot killed in the crash of an antique helicopter.
Wire strike Jury verdict for widow of pilot killed in the crash of an antique helicopter.
$9.75M Tour helicopter Settlement for passengers injured in crash following maintenance-induced control failure.
Tour helicopter Settlement for passengers injured in crash following maintenance-induced control failure.
$11M Post-crash fire Confidential settlement for passenger injured in crash of private jet
Post-crash fire Confidential settlement for passenger injured in crash of private jet
$14M Controlled Flight into Terrain Confidential settlement for families of passengers killed in helicopter crash
Controlled Flight into Terrain Confidential settlement for families of passengers killed in helicopter crash
D M

California Aviation Accident Attorney

Watch Video About Firm

We’ve handled cases arising from virtually every type of general aviation aircraft accident. That includes accidents involving ultralights, light sport aircraft, vintage aircraft, technologically advanced aircraft such as the Cirrus, private jets, helicopters of all sorts, and even hot-air balloons.

And we’ve represented the families of various airline disasters, such as TWA Flight 800, the Crash of the Air France Concorde, Alaska Airlines Flight 261, EgyptAir Flight 990, Adam Air Flight 574, and Air Philippines Flight 541.

Our clients have included the families of some of the world’s most skilled pilots. We’ve represented the families of a 747 pilot, a Concorde SST pilot, a US Aerobatic Pilots Hall of Famer, and even a Blue Angel.  We’ve been the choice of judges and lawyers, including a lawyer for the President of the United States.

We’ve been called upon to testify as experts on US aviation law before the courts of foreign countries.  We’ve taken aviation cases to trial here in the US in courts from Massachusetts to Hawai’i.

If you would like to discuss your possible aviation crash case, contact us for a free, confidential consultation with one of our Bay Area personal injury lawyers.

Airline Accidents

After a long period of unprecedented safety, airline travel has become increasingly risky.  Crew members have become overly reliant on cockpit automation.  Novel aircraft designs present new failure modes. Air traffic controllers are subjected to ever-increasing workload. Perhaps most importantly, the FAA has abdicated its duty to regulate aircraft manufacturers, instead allowing them to self-certify their designs as safe even when they aren’t.

Now more than ever it falls upon the civil justice system–judges and juries–to hold the industry accountable. At Danko Meredith Trial Lawyers, we have a passion for aviation safety. If you or family member was injured in an airline accident, contact us today to discuss your case with an experienced airline accident lawyer.

Airline Accidents Cases Bring Change

We’ve represented the families of the following airline disasters whose aftermath brought about industry change:

  • Alaska Airlines Flight 261: McDonnell Douglas MD-83 crash off of Point Mugu, California (improperly lubricated horizontal stabilator jackscrew)
  • TWA Flight 800: Boeing 747 crash over Long Island Sound (explosion of vapor in center fuel tank due to improper wiring)
  • Air France Flight 4590: Concorde STT crash at Paris, France (tire explosion on takeoff)
  • Adam Air Flight 574: Boeing 737 crash into the Makassar Strait near Sulawesi (pilot disorientation-fixation on automation)
  • Air Philippines Flight 541: Boeing 737 crash on the island of Davao (aircraft design defect)
  • Comair Flight 3272: Embraer EMB 120 Brasilia crash at Monroe Michigan (defectively designed de-icing system)
  • EgyptAir Flight 990: Boeing 767 crash near Nantucket, Massachusetts (mechanical failure of the aircraft’s elevator control system)
  • American Airlines Flight 587: Airbus A300 crash at Bell Harbor, New York (design-induced pilot error)

Why Choose Danko Meredith For Airline Accident Cases?

  • Mike Danko has represented clients in major air disasters, both foreign and domestic, for more than 25 years. An active jet pilot with more than 4000 hours as pilot-in-command, Mike is keenly aware of the safety issues affecting jet travel today.
  • As our representative cases demonstrate, we are among Northern California’s top trial lawyers. We have obtained millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for airline clients.
  • We charge for our services only if we obtain a financial award. We operate on a contingency fee basis. We charge nothing up front, and nothing for our services or for the costs we lay out unless we win.

Danko Meredith Trial Lawyers have what it takes to negotiate or litigate any airline disaster, either domestic or international, according to the clients’ unique needs.

General Aviation Accidents

People think “General Aviation” means “small planes.” But in fact it includes any aviation operation other than military flights or transportation for hire. General aviation accidents are always sudden, unexpected and devastating for the aircraft’s occupants and their families.

We’ve handled cases arising from virtually every type of general aviation aircraft: ultralights, light sport aircraft (LSAs), antique aircraft, technologically advanced aircraft (TAAs) such as the Cirrus, private jets, helicopters of all sorts, and even hot-air balloons.

If you would like to discuss a possible general aviation crash case, contact us for a free, confidential consultation with one of our California aviation accident lawyers.

Common Causes of General Aviation Accidents:

Common causes of general aviation accidents include:

  • Controlled flight into terrain (CFIT)
  • Improper maintenance
  • Continuation of a flight into adverse weather without proper equipment or crew training
  • Defective or bogus aircraft parts
  • Air traffic controller error
  • Scud running
  • Defective aircraft design
  • Engine failure
  • Failure to account for high density altitude during takeoff
  • Contaminated or improper fuel

Aircraft crash survivors frequently suffer serious injuries such as multiple fractures, burns, lacerations, spinal cord injuries, or brain damage. Our experience with these types of injuries helps us to maximize the client’s compensation.

Why Choose Danko Meredith for General Aviation Accident Cases?

  • We know more about general aviation accidents than any other law firm in Northern California. Our results in general aviation cases are unmatched.
  • We don’t take the NTSB’s word for what happened. We uncover the truth regardless of the circumstances of the crash.
  • Our trial record shows that we can take your case to court and win. That means you have more bargaining power during settlement negotiations.
  • We charge fees only if we win a settlement or verdict.

Frequently Asked Questions About Aviation Accident Claims

How Long After An Aviation Accident Can I Wait to Get a Lawyer?

The victim’s family is seldom in the best emotional state to make important decisions right after an airplane or helicopter accident. The stresses can be overwhelming. The last thing a family wants to do is start talking with lawyers. Experience shows, however, that for best results an aviation lawyer should be retained promptly — within two to three weeks after an accident if possible.

The attorney who the family eventually selects will want to begin right away interviewing witnesses, collecting evidence, and making sure that other important evidence – such as the aircraft wreckage – is preserved. The more time that passes, the harder it will be for the attorney to prepare the case properly.

Shouldn’t We Wait for the NTSB Report Before Deciding to Bring a Lawsuit?

The National Transportation Board investigates all aviation accidents. Sometimes, it makes sense to wait for the NTSB to finish its work before deciding whether to file suit. But most of the time, waiting for the NTSB to finish is not in the client’s best interests. Here are reasons not to wait:

  1. The NTSB’s findings are seldom unbiased. The NTSB has neither the engineering expertise nor the financial resources to investigate an accident on its own, so it enlists the aircraft manufacturers and other big industry interests for technical assistance. For example, if a case involves an engine failure, the NTSB will ask the manufacturer of the engine why it failed. The manufacturer seldom blames itself. For this reason, the NTSB’s final reports almost always favor the big industry players.
  2. The NTSB doesn’t answer the “why” questions. NTSB reports describes what happened, without really saying why. But the “why” questions are what matter. For example, an EMS helicopter crashed and all aboard were killed. The NTSB’s final report concluded that the helicopter’s rotor blades came apart in flight, which was obvious from the outset. It was only our lawsuit that showed that the blade came apart because, months before the accident, a mechanic had botched a repair to the blade, weakening its internal structure. The NTSB never even interviewed the mechanic involved. Rather, the NTSB was satisfied that it had determined the “cause” of the accident when it figured out that the rotor blade failed. Once it determined that the blade failed, the NTSB felt that its work was done. The NTSB report told us what happened, but not why.
  3. The NTSB’s conclusions aren’t binding on anyone. By federal statute, the NTSB’s conclusions are inadmissible in court, so the aviation lawyer can’t simply rely on the NTSB to do his work for him; He must instead conduct his own investigation. Waiting for the NTSB report before deciding whether to file a lawsuit puts the family’s lawyer behind and makes it take that much longer to resolve the lawsuit.
  4. We could be waiting forever. After the accident, the NTSB often says that it will take a year or less to complete its report. In fact, it usually takes the NTSB two to four years, and sometimes even longer. In fact, the NTSB is so slow that if the family begins a lawsuit right away, it often can be settled and sometimes even tried to verdict before the NTSB publishes its findings. On the other hand, when a family decides to wait for the NTSB’s report before allowing the attorney to start the case, witnesses scatter and important documents are destroyed. The wreckage may end up being scrapped, and worst of all, the statute of limitations may run out on the family’s claim, preventing a lawsuit regardless of the cause of the accident.

What is the Statute of Limitations on an Aviation Crash Claim?

It doesn’t matter how good the case is — if the statute of limitations expires and no lawsuit is on file, the victim’s rights will be lost forever. Some statutes of limitation applicable to aviation cases may expire as soon as six months after the accident. Determining which statute of limitation applies can be determined only after speaking with a qualified aviation lawyer.

What Should I Look for in an Aviation Lawyer?

Find an attorney with an excellent record of jury verdicts in aviation lawsuits. Unless the lawyer has proven that they can successfully take an aviation accident case all the way through trial and to a verdict, it’s unlikely the responsible insurance company will take the lawyer seriously when it comes time to discuss settlement.

Should the Lawyer I Select be a Pilot?

Current experience as a helicopter or fixed-wing pilot is an invaluable asset for the aviation accident attorney, especially when interviewing witnesses or taking their depositions, sifting through evidence, and working with experts. For this reason, the manufacturers or others who are to blame for an accident often chose lawyers who are pilots to defend them. They feel that, all other things being equal, lawyers who are pilots have an advantage over those who aren’t.

But the prospective aviation attorney’s record at trial is also an important consideration. Defendants and their insurance companies will seldom pay a fair settlement to a victim represented by an attorney who has not proven that he can take an aviation case all the way to verdict. The lack of a trial record is a weakness that a defendant or the insurance company will always exploit. It’s a weakness that no amount of piloting credentials can make up for. If the aviation attorney doesn’t have a history of successful jury verdicts, that lawyer – regardless of whether he holds a pilot’s license — is a poor choice.

What Does an Aviation Attorney Cost?

An aviation lawyer will cost you nothing unless and until there is a monetary recovery. The lawyer will work on a contingency fee contract and will advance all the costs of expenses of the lawsuit.

Can I Settle My Case Without Retaining a Lawyer?

Yes, sometimes, especially if the injuries are not significant or if the insurance is limited. Before doing so, however, be sure to consult an aviation lawyer. Most will talk things over without charge and advise you whether it makes sense to settle on your own.

How Long Will it Take to Resolve my Aviation Case?

It varies, but in our experience most cases resolve 1 1/2 and 3 years after we file them. (Yes, we frequently resolve aviation lawsuits before the NTSB even issues its probable cause report.)

How Can We Make Sure That This Accident Doesn’t Happen Again to Someone Else?

A decision to cut costs can be found in the chain of events leading to most aviation accidents. By taking the profit out of unsafe business practices, a lawsuit can sometimes be the most effective way to bring about change in the industry.

Many clients are surprised to learn that the NTSB has no power to punish sloppy operators or take away their licenses, regardless of what it concludes caused the crash. For most operators, unless there’s a lawsuit, it’s “business as usual.”

Contact an Aviation Accident Attorney

Our lawyers can discuss your unique aviation accident case with you for free during a consultation at our local Bay Area Personal Injury law firm. Schedule your meeting by calling (650) 453-3600, or send us a message to speak to an attorney.

Thank you for listening to us, for fighting for us, for supporting us...
Wrongful Death Client

Why Choose Danko Meredith?

  • We know more about aviation accidents than any other law firm in Northern California. Our results in aviation cases are unmatched.
  • We don’t take the NTSB’s word for what happened. We uncover the truth regardless of the circumstances of the crash.
  • Our successes in cases involving spinal cord injuries, burns, and traumatic brain injuries work to maximize the air crash victims’ compensation.
  •  Our trial record proves we can take your case to court and win. That gives more bargaining power during settlement negotiations.
  • We charge fees only if we win a settlement or verdict.

Our Aviation Accident Practice Areas Include

About California Aviation Accidents

Common causes of aviation accidents include:

  • Controlled flight into terrain (CFIT)
  • Improper maintenance
  • Continued flight into adverse weather without proper equipment or crew training
  • Defective or bogus aircraft component part
  • Air traffic controller error
  • Defective aircraft design
  • Engine failure
  • Failure to account for high density altitude during takeoff

Our Aviation Accident Case Results

Examples of the results we’vee achieved for our aviation clients include:

  • $14.9 million jury verdict against an aircraft engine manufacturer for injuries a passenger sustained in the crash landing of a single-engine aircraft.
  • $1.55 million settlement for a passenger injured in a plane crash at Lake Tahoe.
  • $32 million settlement for families who lost loved ones in the crash of a foreign airliner
  • $10 million jury verdict for the widow of a pilot killed in a helicopter crash.
  • $13.3 million jury verdict for the family of a 67-year-old pilot killed in the crash of a single-engine Cessna.
  • $14 million settlement for families of those lost in a crash following controlled flight into terrain
  • $12 million settlement for families of those lost in helicopter crash following main rotor blade failure
  • $11 million settlement for a passenger injured in a private jet crash.
  • $2.9 million jury verdict against an overhaul facility for a pilot injured in a helicopter crash.
  • $9.75 million settlement for family involved in the crash of a tour helicopter
D M
D M

A history of winning aviation accidents not just in California but around the globe.

Whether you suffered permanent injuries or lost a loved one in an aviation accident, we can help. We take on even the largest manufacturers, maintenance facilities and insurance companies as necessary to obtain for our client a just result.

Contact an Experienced California Aviation Accident Attorney

Our aviation accident lawyers will discuss your aviation accident case with you for free. Schedule your meeting by calling (650) 453-3600, or send us a message to speak to an attorney.