Aviation Accident Attorneys
SKW is nationally recognized for our success in representing families of passengers involved in airplane/helicopter crashes. From international flight disasters to local small plane/helicopter crashes, we have helped lift the burden and ease the pain for those who have either lost a loved one or who have suffered serious injuries.
Our long and impressive track record in aviation injury includes cases written about in national publications and featured in documentaries.
Air transportation safely serves thousands of people every day. Yet on occasion when something does go wrong, the result is serious injury and often death. Aviation injury victims are suddenly faced with a number of important decisions that determine their legal rights. We understand this time of difficulty and have the knowledge and experience to help.
Our attorneys are skilled in navigating jurisdictional mazes, working with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), and investigating causation with top aviation experts to determine liability or product defect issues of aircraft crashes. Our decades of experience and ability to aggressively investigate aviation injury cases sets us apart. Thorough preparation and persuasive presentation by our skilled attorneys have resulted in multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements for our clients.
We welcome the chance to help clients and referring attorneys work through the intricacies of aircraft incidents. Samples from our case files follow.
Rocky Spencer was a highly regarded wildlife biologist for the WA State Dept. of Fish & Wildlife. Headed out on a mission to transport some bighorn sheep that he had netted, a NW Helicopter came to pick him up. But the helicopter was unlike the others that Rocky was accustomed to in that it had a lower height. Without any proper warning about the lower than usual clearance from the rotor blades, Rocky did not duck his head adequately. As a result, the virtually invisible rotating blades severed the top of his helmeted head. Stritmatter Kessler Whelan represented the Spencer estate to obtain a settlement.
[Confidential] v. [Confidential] Helicopter Company - Result: $5,000,000
SKW's client was a survivor of a local helicopter crash. Three others had died in the crash, one of whom was the pilot. At the time, she was was a 24 year old biologist. Our client was involved in a search and rescue operation in the Olympic National Forest. The search teams were to meet at the landing area at 3:30 p.m. to be airlifted back to Port Angeles.The helicopter arrived and our client boarded it. While waiting for it to take off, fog rolled in, the pilot initially waited and then took off into dense fog, striking the side of the mountain with the tail rotor. The main rotor on top of the helicopter then smashed into the mountain and the helicopter crashed down the mountainside. When the helicopter stopped moving, Our client was left hanging upside down, restrained by a seatbelt across her abdomen. She was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center.
Hemmer v. [Confidential] Airline - Confidential settlement
Mike Hemmer, a Boeing engineer, was on a business trip when he was flying back to Seattle from Istanbul. Little did he know that the trip he had made many times before would claim the life one of his colleagues. On February 24, 2009, Mike remembers taking a taxi to the airport to catch a flight to Amsterdam that would transfer him to a flight destined to Seattle. The next thing Mike knew, he woke up in a hospital in Amsterdam. He has no recollection of boarding the plane that ultimately crashed just under a mile away from Schipol Airport in Amsterdam. The fatalities included his Boeing coworker.
SKW airplane crash attorneys fought against incredible odds-- against the wealthy corporate opponents. After months of investigation, research, depositions, mediation, and trial-- SKW obtained justice for Mike Hemmer and his family.
Doe Estate v. XYZ Corp. - Confidential settlement
Ms. Doe taught her students about the Mayan ruins of the Yucatan Peninsula but had never seen them firsthand. Aboard a Caribbean cruise she signed up for a shore excursion flight to Chichen Itza. The return flight from the ruins lifted off and reached 600 feet when one of the twin turbo engines failed, and the plane rapidly plummeted to a field below. All on board, including Ms. Doe, died in the crash. Mexican authorities found pilot negligence in failing to properly respond to engine failure. Our legal team also charged the tour company for its negligence in choosing an unsafe airline, and the cruise line for negligence in assessing the tour company's operation. The cruise line, tour company and charter airline all contributed to the settlement.
Graves v. Thai Airways - Confidential settlement
Our legal team assisted the families of two people who died in an airplane crash.