Houston Aviation Accident Lawyer
Mithoff Law has a long-standing reputation for being a leader in aviation litigation, and our attorneys have been recognized as some of the best in the field. Our track record of success speaks for itself, and we have secured significant verdicts and settlements for our clients in high-profile aviation cases.
One such case involved the crash of Air France 447 in 2009. The French aviation authority’s investigation into the crash documented several contributing causes to the crash of the Airbus A330 aircraft, including crew training, avionics, and other component issues. Mithoff Law brought suit against Air France and Airbus on behalf of the surviving family members of the only Americans aboard the flight.
Our attorneys, including Richard Mithoff and Warner Hocker, represented the families of the victims, and through their tireless efforts, were able to resolve all of their clients’ claims prior to trial. In reflecting upon whether the Air France 447 tragedy should have informed Boeing with respect to design choices it made for the 737 MAX aircraft, the Houston Chronicle featured the work of Mithoff Law, alongside analysis from Captain Sully Sullenberger (the captain of the U.S. Airways “Miracle on the Hudson” flight): https://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/article/Did-Boeing-aviation-industry-heed-lessons-of-14369021.php
In addition to cases involving commercial airlines and airframe manufacturers, Mithoff Law and its attorneys have extensive experience with general aviation litigation, including fixed-wing and helicopter crashes.
In one such case, Mithoff Law attorneys Richard Mithoff and Janie Jordan represented the families of victims in a fatal helicopter crash that occurred in the coastal waters of Louisiana. The helicopter was en route to an offshore platform at the time of the crash. The crash occurred as a result of a loss of control following a bird strike. Mithoff Law brought suit against the helicopter manufacturer and others alleging, among other claims, that the defective design of the helicopter’s control system contributed to the crash. Through skillful use of pre-suit discovery and depositions, Mithoff Law was able to successfully resolve all of its clients’ claims prior to trial.
Examples of aviation cases we’ve defended
Mithoff Law’s extensive experience in litigating air crashes, whether commercial, general aviation, special-purpose use (such as government use), fixed-wing, rotorcraft, and/or single or multi-engine, has included:
- Successful pre-suit resolution of claims made against the airframe and avionics manufacturers of a single-engine turboprop general aviation aircraft, on behalf of the surviving family members of the pilot, who was the sole occupant of the aircraft. The aircraft crashed at night on final approach, and the NTSB report into the crash cited pilot incapacitation due to fatigue as a probable cause of the crash. Mithoff Law attorneys Richard Mithoff and Warner Hocker worked tirelessly for several years—including traveling overseas to take depositions of the airframe manufacturer’s chief project engineer—to bring their clients’ claims to resolution.
- Successful pre-suit resolution of claims made against the Type Certificate Holder of a helicopter engine, as well as a maintenance entity that performed work on the engine. The helicopter in question crashed while performing work under contract to the United States Government. Mithoff Law represented the sole survivor of the crash, as well as the surviving family of the other occupants of the helicopter. Claims brought included allegations that the engine’s Type Certificate Holder had improperly furnished maintenance guidance and that the maintenance facility had negligently performed repairs on the engine. Mithoff Law also prevailed against a summary judgment motion alleging that the Statute of Repose contained in the General Aviation Revitalization Act (GARA) barred the Plaintiffs’ claims.
- Recently, Mithoff Law attorneys Richard Mithoff and Warner Hocker took their clients’ claims to trial in a case arising out of the crash of a twin-engine Beech 58 Baron near Kerrville, Texas. The crash resulted in the deaths of the pilot and all five passengers aboard. Among other claims, the Plaintiffs alleged that the pilot was negligent and failed to ensure that the aircraft had enough fuel aboard and that the pilot was within the course and scope of his employment with financial services firm Raymond James & Associates at the time of the crash, notwithstanding a corporate policy that forbade its associates from utilizing private aircraft for business purposes. The total jury verdict was in excess of $12 million.
In addition to these high-profile cases, our attorneys have also been involved in numerous other aviation litigation cases, including cases involving product defects, pilot errors, air traffic control issues, and more. We understand the technical complexities involved in aviation litigation and are well-equipped to handle even the most challenging cases.
Our attorneys are often invited to speak at conferences and seminars on the subject of aviation law, and we have been featured in numerous publications for our work in this area. At Mithoff Law, we understand the devastating impact that aviation accidents can have on victims and their families. We are committed to helping our clients obtain the compensation and justice they deserve. If you or a loved one has been involved in an aviation accident, contact us for a free consultation.
Mithoff Law is home to some of Houston's best airplane accident attorneys
Mithoff Law is one of the rare law firms with actual experience trying and winning aviation accident cases. We have extensive experience representing airplane accident victims and their families by investigating and pursuing claims relating to crashes of or incidents involving general and commercial airplane incidents, fixed-wing aircraft and helicopter crashes, as well as piston-engined, turboprop, jet, or turbofan aircraft.
Our aviation accident attorneys work closely with a team of subject matter experts to investigate and pursue claims. Working with our team of aviation experts, we have reviewed both National Transportation Safety Board investigations and investigations conducted by foreign regulatory agencies.
We also have extensive experience conducting independent, thorough analyses of contributing causes, such as component part or avionics testing, radar and flight reconstruction, detailed materials analysis (including metallurgical testing or industrial CT scanning), meteorological conditions, and aviation human factors analysis.
Call us today at 713-654-1122 to request a consultation with an aviation accident lawyer at Mithoff Law.
“Mithoff, a Houston personal injury lawyer, is no stranger to winning big payoffs for large groups of people. He negotiated a $2.3 billion settlement with the tobacco industry for Harris and other counties, and he won $80 million for residents of a nursing home who were killed in a 2005 bus explosion while fleeing Hurricane Rita.”
– Houston Chronicle, November 22, 2017
The experienced aviation accident lawyers at Mithoff Law have helped multiple clients win or resolve high-profile matters, including those involving:
Commercial aviation accidents:
Mithoff Law represented the surviving family members of the only two American passengers aboard Air France Flight 447, which crashed into the Atlantic Ocean while en route between Rio de Janeiro and Paris. The plaintiffs’ claims were made against Air France and Airbus. The lawsuit was resolved prior to trial.
Manufacturing and design defects:
Mithoff Law represented the family of a pilot when his single-engine Turboprop aircraft crashed during the final approach. The lawsuit was settled for a confidential amount prior to trial after the plaintiffs alleged the aircraft and avionics manufacturer were both responsible.
Mithoff Law also represented the wrongful death beneficiaries of helicopter passengers killed when their helicopter crashed en route to an offshore platform. The plaintiffs alleged that the helicopter was defectively designed, and the case was settled for a confidential amount prior to trial.
Common causes of aviation accidents
Aircraft are complex machines, and are subject to a stringent global and national regulatory system. Generally, every aviation accident is unique, involving complex investigatory and fact issues.
That said, common contributing causes to airplane or helicopter crashes include:
– Design or manufacturing defects in the airframe, engines, or component parts
– Maintenance issues
– Hazardous conditions
– Human factors
Any of these common contributing causes may give rise to a claim against the person or entity responsible for those actions. The aviation accident attorneys at Mithoff Law bring decades of experience to the table, and have actively investigated and successfully pursued claims for aviation accidents attributable to a wide range of causes.
“Since he started practicing in 1974, his cases have helped produce reforms in hospital credentialing of physicians and reporting of physician misconduct; prompted medical manufacturers to pull defective products off the market; led hospitals to improve their use of post-surgical intravenous solutions; and triggered a manufacturer’s recall of defective tires.”
– Super Lawyers, September 15, 2021
How an aviation accident lawyer in Houston can help
After any aviation accident in the United States—private or commercial—the National Transportation Safety Board will typically perform an official investigation of the accident. The team at Mithoff Law appreciates the work of the NTSB, but also recognizes that an independent investigation is often an important consideration in preparing an aviation accident case for trial.
In aviation cases, our aviation accident attorneys work closely with a team of subject matter experts to investigate and pursue claims. With and through our experts, we review governmental or regulatory (such as NTSB) investigations and conduct our own detailed investigation into the contributing causes underlying an aviation incident.
We have, with our experts, conducted thorough analyses of contributing causes, including testing or analysis involving radar reconstruction, detailed materials analysis (including metallurgical testing or industrial CT scanning), meteorological conditions, and aviation human factors analysis.
Contact an experienced aviation accident attorney at Mithoff Law today
Accident victims and their loved ones should seek representation from a skilled aviation accident lawyer as soon as possible. Aviation cases can involve unique questions of jurisdiction, causation issues that often require detailed expert analysis, and a complex framework of regulations and laws.
Call 713-654-1122 and meet with a trial-tested aviation accident lawyer to learn about your options.