Military Helicopter & Airplane Crashes
Kreindler & Kreindler works to win recovery despite liability limitations.
Kreindler is a leader in handling military aircraft accident claims. Helicopter crash litigation is quite complex, and the legal options for victims of military helicopter crashes could be limited. The federal government cannot be sued for damages related to a naval jet crash or an army helicopter accident where the pilot was on active service in any branch of the armed forces. Federal law in the form of Government Contractor Defense may also protect contractors providing aircraft, components, or maintenance services to the military against liability.
We have successfully opposed the government contractor defense in a series of cases and obtained recoveries for our clients.
Successful litigation against government and military contractors requires a technical evaluation and investigation of the product. We are thorough in our litigation process and fight to get victims and their families the largest settlements possible.
We Know, We Fly
Our staff of attorneys includes pilots, engineers, and a former aviation maintenance specialist. In each case, we assemble a team of litigators, investigators, outside experts, and staff to meticulously examine and prepare all aspects of our claim’s liability and damages to determine the cause of the accident, identify responsible entities, present the strongest case and obtain the highest possible compensatory award for the plaintiffs we represent. In addition to our in-house assets, the firm has access to resources that include the country’s foremost technical experts in helicopter aerodynamics, design, maintenance, and operations.
Who knows more about aviation law than attorneys who are also licensed, commercial pilots?
Kreindler Partners and Former Military Pilots (L-R):
Justin Green (USMC)
Brian Alexander (U.S. Army)
Dan Rose (U.S. Navy)
Our firm’s partners include active pilots who served as aviators in the United States Marines, Army, and Navy.
Our military aircraft exemplar accident case list includes:
- Royal Netherlands Air Force Boeing Apache, Mali
- British Royal Navy EH101 Merlin Helicopter, Culdrose, England
- Sikorsky MH-53E Navy Helicopter, Sigonella, Italy
- V-22 Osprey Stecyk v. Bell Helicopters, Quantico, VA
- Navy Super Tucano A-29, New Mexico
- Lockheed KC-120 Norwegian Air Force
- UNSURPASSED RECORD OF SUCCESS of any law firm for aviation accident law
- LEADING COUNSEL in nearly every major airline disaster case worldwide
- OBTAINED THE LARGEST RECOVERY for a single disaster in the history of aviation
There are, however, other available claims, such as those permitted under the Military Claims Act, important exceptions to the “government contractor defense.” Kreindler has won many cases against government contractors that supplied defective equipment to our military and have recovered millions of dollars for the families of civilians killed in military mishaps. Kreindler partner Andrew Maloney litigated one of the largest recoveries under the Military Claims Act involving an Air Force plane crash in Dubrovnik, Croatia.
These cases involve outsourced flights under military support contracts with private companies, and Kreindler believes that these private companies should be accountable for negligence that injures or kills U.S. service members or civilians.
In the era of private outsourcing of military functions since the war in Iraq, there has emerged a class of accident scenarios that will support civil tort litigation for personal injury or wrongful death damages and related to military aviation.
Kreindler Defeats Government Contractor Defense v. U.S. Navy
The Sikorsky MH-53E crash happened during a routine training mission soon after the helicopter departed the U.S. Navy base outside of Catania in Eastern Sicily. All four crew members on board were killed. The Navy investigation determined the helicopter crashed because of a fire in the number two engine. Kreindler attorneys successfully defeated the government contractor defense and after years of hard fought, diligent litigation, the cases were settled on terms favorable to the families.
Kreindler Successfully Litigates Appeal in Army Blackhawk Case
Kreindler successfully litigated the post-trial motions and appeal in a product liability lawsuit filed by survivors and family members of U.S. Army soldiers killed in a 1993 crash of a Blackhawk helicopter at the U.S. Army base in Weisbaden, Germany. Kreindler partner and former U.S. Army helicopter pilot Brian Alexander handled the matter.
Military Aircraft Accident Cases Demand Experience
Given the complexity of the statutory, contractual, and evidentiary considerations that bear upon the right to civil damages in a military helicopter accident, it is important to discuss your legal options with an experienced aviation attorney.
In many of our helicopter accident cases, it is noteworthy that our firm’s investigations were able to uncover the true cause or contributing factors to a crash, especially when official government investigations either failed to do so or were mistaken in their conclusions. In addition, while most of the settlements are confidential, several of our cases have resulted in the highest plaintiffs’ recoveries on record.
If you are seeking advice related to a catastrophic or fatal injury associated with a military flight mission by private contractors, we can help. We will provide a legal opinion on the viability of your potential claim.
Here are some examples of the circumstances we look for to support civil litigation rights in military aviation accidents:
- Contract to transport military personnel from a stateside training base to an in-country operations area, or between bases in theater.
- Negligent maintenance of a private plane used by private contractors.
- Defective components in a private plane or helicopter used in outsourced military support operations.
- Negligent maintenance of a military aircraft by a government contractor.
If the aircraft is owned by a private corporation, flown by civilian pilots, and operated under short-term contracts specific to a particular mission or sequence of missions, Kreindler attorneys may then have the opportunity to show how your case should go forward despite any general rules of litigation immunity for military aviation accidents.
Ejection Seat Failure
We represented the family of the commander of the elite Air Force Thunderbirds. He was killed when forced to eject from his fighter jet at low altitude. We demonstrated that the seat latch was improperly designed and obtained a favorable settlement from the manufacturer despite the government contractor defense.
Main Driveshaft Failure
We represented the families of five servicemen killed in two separate military helicopter crashes. We successfully reversed the lower court’s ruling on the government contractor defense by demonstrating that the manufacturer failed to meet its burden of establishing government approval of reasonably precise specifications for the helicopter’s main driveshaft.
We wrote the book
Kreindler has literally written the book on aviation accident law. Our partners have authored numerous highly acclaimed books, articles and treatises, including the leading treatise in the aviation litigation field, Aviation Accident Law.
Call on Our Experience
Kreindler is one of the largest and most distinguished aviation accident law firms in the world. Since 1950, our attorneys have served as leading counsel in nearly every major commercial aviation disaster litigation. Our staff of attorneys includes pilots, engineers, and a former aviation maintenance specialist. The firm has successfully handled countless private, charter, military, general aviation, and accident cases. Our partners have authored numerous highly acclaimed books, articles, and treatises on aviation litigation.