How quickly must I act and get a lawyer?
It is usually best to consult with an attorney within 90 days of an accident. You need to ensure that the aircraft wreckage is properly preserved and that the applicable statutes of limitation do not run on your claim.
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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 he or she can successfully take an aviation accident case all the way through trial and to a verdict, it is 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?
Experience as a helicopter or fixed-wing pilot is an invaluable asset for the aviation accident attorney. But more important than piloting credentials is the attorney's trial record in aviation accident cases.
What does an aviation attorney cost?
Shouldn't I wait for the NTSB to finish its work before deciding whether Ie should start a lawsuit?
Sometimes that makes sense. But usually it's not in the client's best interest to wait. The offices of the NTSB are understaffed, underfunded and overwhelmed by workload. It takes the NTSB from one to four years to complete its report. The NTSB's "party system" creates a conflict of interest that results in reports that favor the manufactures and other industry players. Therefore, the NTSB report is seldom worth waiting for.
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 with an aviation lawyer. Most will talk things over without charge and advise you whether it makes 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."
How can I find out about your background and qualifications?