The plague of unfortunate emergency medical services ("EMS") helicopter crashes continues. Kreindler & Kreindler LLP is monitoring the investigation of the September 28, 2008 Maryland crash which caused four deaths. While it is never easy to determine the immediate cause of these accidents, a review of their history makes clear that determining the cause may be hard and simply assuming the cause is solely pilot error is often wrong. For example, in a recent medevac helicopter case handled by Kreindler & Kreindler LLP, careful investigation and expert analysis disclosed a fuel control system failure.
The aviation lawyers at Kreindler & Kreindler LLP have published articles identifying the endemic safety problems that plague the EMS industry. The Kreindler firm has also conducted a exhaustive study of all United States EMS accidents and has an important database, which addresses causal issues.
The rights of passengers and crew is wholly dependant on an investigation that produces the right answer to the serious question, "Why did the accident happen?". While passengers in medevac aircraft or helicopters, of course, should be assured of safe flight even in an emergency situation, the pilot and medical team should be able to rely on a defect-free helicopter. Flight crews and medical personnel have rights to be protected as well.
Kreindler has been urging legislation that requires higher training standards for medevac flight crews, and greater oversight of medevac operations. EMS operations should pose no greater threat to safety than other flight operations - proper oversight of the EMS industry is required.