New York City Airplane Accident Lawyer

An airplane accident is a traumatic experience regardless of how it happened or the type of plane transporting you. The aftermath of an aviation accident usually means a long physical recovery, emotional trauma, medical expenses, time missed from work, and numerous other challenges. As difficult as all that is, the real challenge can come when you attempt to file a personal injury lawsuit to pursue compensation for the airplane accident.

This type of personal injury case can be especially challenging because laws vary depending on where the crash occurred. Even if you flew out of New York, for example, your aviation accident might have occurred in a different state or even outside the United States. Another complicating factor is that many parties could share blame in the commercial aviation disaster.

The most typical parties to contribute to an aviation accident through personal or corporate negligence include:

  • Airplane manufacturers
  • Airplane owners
  • Air traffic controller
  • Flight attendants
  • Pilot and crew
  • Other passengers

Another challenge that people left with serious injuries after an airplane accident or who have faced the wrongful death of a loved one face is that aviation disasters affect dozens or hundreds of people at the same time. As an airline accident victim, you may pursue a personal injury lawsuit or decide to join a class action lawsuit with other crash victims. Our airplane accident attorneys will advise you on the pros and cons of each option when you come to our Manhattan office for your free consultation.

These are just some reasons why it’s to your benefit to hire an aviation accident lawyer from the law firm of Raphaelson & Levine as soon as possible.

We invite you to contact us at 212-268-3222 to request a free consultation and learn more about filing a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible parties in your airplane accident.

Common Types of Aviation Accidents

As a law firm that has provided aggressive legal representation to people with serious injuries for nearly 30 years, the attorneys at Raphaelson & Levine have seen the same types of plane crashes come up time and again. These include:

Air Ambulance Accidents

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, crashes involving air ambulances have decreased significantly since their peak in the 1980s. Nevertheless, these types of airplane crashes can and do still occur. This is a double tragedy because air ambulances serve a vital purpose of transporting desperately sick or injured people to medical help. It only compounds the passenger’s problems to have the air ambulance crash instead.

Charter Plane Accidents

The definition of a charter plane organization is one that uses its private airplanes to offer taxi service on a for-hire basis. Independent pilots can also choose to offer charter plane service to the public. The major issue with charter planes is that they have no obligation to meet the strict safety standards imposed by the Federal Aviation Administration on commercial airplanes that fly domestic and international flights. This greatly increases the chance of serious injuries in a charter plane aviation accident.

Commercial Airline Accident

These types of airplane crashes are the most typical and receive the most media attention. While some causes of aviation accidents like birds making contact with the plane’s engine or unexpected severe weather are not preventable, the true cause of most crashes is human error. Common issues include inexperience of the pilot, engine failure, fuel leakage, and other entirely preventable mistakes.

You have the right to pursue fair compensation via a personal injury lawsuit if the pilot or any other crew member knew about a danger and did nothing to fix it. This also applies if an airline employee with similar experience and training would have anticipated and acted on a danger even if the current crew claims not to have known about a potential problem.

Helicopter Crash Accidents

Inadequate pilot training and fatigue are two leading types of human error that can lead to a helicopter crash. It’s also common in this type of aviation accident for the pilot to put too much pressure on rotor heads, gear boxes, engines, and other pieces of equipment within the helicopter’s control center.

The design of the typical helicopter can make it difficult to escape in a crash and those who do survive often suffer serious injuries. Our aviation accident attorneys are fully prepared to investigate the helicopter crash to determine whether a pilot error is the only cause or if other parties besides the pilot also share in the blame.

Private Plane Accidents

Although a commercial airline accident is far more likely to make the news than a private plane accident, the fact remains that passengers aboard a private plane are 200 times as likely to sustain serious injuries or die in this type of airplane crash. Private plane pilots often have much less experience than commercial airline pilots. They also tend to travel to more remote locations. This is dangerous for several reasons, mainly that it puts them out of range for emergency back-up service in case of engine failure, severe weather, or another common flight problem.

International Airline Accidents

The Federal Aviation Administration considers a flight international if it originates within the United States or another country and crashes outside our country’s borders. Unfortunately for plane accident victims, these types of crashes can be the most complex of all.

Your airplane accident lawyer is well-versed on your rights as an international traveler established under the Montreal Convention. This law aids in determining the causes of the airplane accident and how passengers can sue an international airline or other responsible parties. Since its passage in 1999, the Montreal Convention removes the requirement of accident victims to prove that the airline acted with willful negligence on an international flight where the passenger sustained serious injuries. The Montreal Convention also makes airline carriers strictly liable for damages up to $100,000 per injured passenger.

Airports in the New York City Area and Common Types of Injuries in Aviation Accidents

The New York City area is home to the following three major airports:

  • John F. Kennedy International Airport located in Queens
  • LaGuardia Airport located in Queens on Grand Central Parkway
  • Newark International Airport located in Newark, New Jersey

Passengers and airline staff can sustain serious injuries or experience the wrongful death of a loved one either aboard the aircraft while waiting in the airport, or embarking or disembarking the airplane. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, 1,141 aviation accidents occurred from January 1, 2019, to December 18, 2019, the last date for which it has published data. Additionally, the Federal Aviation Administration already reports nine airplane crash fatalities for the 10-day period of January 23 to February 5, 2020.

Regardless of the airport used or the type of plane traveled on, the following types of injuries are typical in aviation crashes:

Broken Bones

Multiple crushed and/or broken bones are one of the most common types of serious injuries suffered by airplane accident victims. The broken bones happen in response to the aircraft suddenly losing altitude and crashing to the ground with an extremely forceful impact. Many people who suffer broken bones in an airplane crash must also deal with other serious injuries at the same time.


It’s typical for an airplane to ignite when it crashes or goes off the runway since the fuel used to power airplanes is highly combustible. The friction caused when the airplane connects with another surface can also cause it to erupt in flames upon impact. Passengers and crew aboard the aircraft, as well as those standing near the plane on the ground, can suffer severe burns all over their body. All degrees of burns are extremely painful and require extensive treatment, including the possibility of multiple cosmetic surgeries to attempt to cover the disfigurement.

Spinal Cord Injuries

The impact of an airplane crash can easily break or sever the spinal cord of anyone aboard or near the plane. This type of permanent spinal cord injury can cause paraplegia or quadriplegia, which means the accident victim may never be able to walk or use his or her arms again.

Traumatic Brain Injury

Striking the seat in front of the passenger, having luggage fall from overhead bins, and the impact of the crash itself can all cause a traumatic brain injury. The harder the blow to the head, the more likely it is that the accident victim will not lead a normal life after the airplane crash. That is because a traumatic brain injury can cause a host of issues such as memory and cognitive impairment;  difficulty regulating mood; hypersensitivity to noise, light, and movement; personality changes; the inability to make positive life decisions; and many other impairments that may or may not be visible to others.

You could also sustain serious injuries inside the airport such as an attack from an unstable person or aboard the aircraft when it’s not moving due to equipment failure. In one recent product liability case tried by Raphaelson & Levine, a female passenger obtained an undisclosed settlement amount due to a malfunction with the airplane’s seat. When the woman sat down after boarding the aircraft, her seat collapsed and remained in that position throughout the duration of the international flight.

Not only did the airline staff not provide any medical assistance to the injured woman, but their negligence also forced her to sit in a broken, improperly positioned seat on a long international flight. As a result, the passenger suffered such severe muscle injury that she can no longer enjoy many of her favorite activities and lost much of her independence. While the financial settlement couldn’t restore her quality of life before the airplane accident, it at least allowed her to live with her new circumstance the best she could.

Whether you see your specific type of injury listed here or not, we hope it will bring you comfort to know that the airplane accident attorneys at Raphaelson & Levine are on your side. Although aviation law is complex, we have a thorough understanding of it and many years of experience seeking financial justice for accident victims and their family members. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to our personal injury lawyers today to learn more about your options.

Is Airline Travel Safe

The National Safety Council states that the odds of dying in aircraft accidents are approximately one in 188,000. This makes airplane travel the safest form of mass transit behind train travel at one fatality for approximately 244,000 passengers. When an airplane crash does occur, however, it’s far more likely to produce fatalities than a car accident. In the 35-year period ending in 2018, one in five airplane accident cases involved the death of at least one passenger. This makes aviation cases far more deadly than car accidents that cause fatality in only one percent of cases.

When an airplane accident does occur, it involves a single engine plane far more often than a commercial plane. According to the National Safety Council, 79 percent of aircraft accidents involve a single engine plane while 72 percent of accidents resulting in wrongful death occurred aboard a single engine plane. However, we realize this is little comfort to you when you’re dealing with serious injuries or the wrongful death of a loved one due to pilot error or another common cause of airplane accidents.

The Role of Defective Parts in Aviation Accidents

Aviation crashes involving defective parts or mechanical failure fall under the laws of both product liability and personal injury. Aircraft manufacturers are responsible for ensuring that each plane receives routine maintenance and that mechanics repair any known issues right away. Errors range all the way from the aircraft manufacturers designing the entire plane wrong to improper assembly of the engine leading to engine failure to lack of regular maintenance or negligence on behalf of the flight crew.

Although mechanical failure may seem sudden and unexplained, our aviation litigation team can usually trace it back to human error. Sadly, the decision to ignore a known problem can result in a large death toll and serious injuries when the plane crashes or explodes.

Request Your Free Consultation With Our Aviation Accident Attorneys Today

The story we described above of the woman injured by an airline seat is just one example of many aviation accident settlements we have achieved on behalf of airplane accident victims. When you come to our Manhattan office for your free case evaluation, we will learn more about what happened in your situation and provide legal advice regarding your options moving forward.

Should you choose to begin an attorney-client relationship with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys, know that we collect no fee unless you achieve a successful outcome with your personal injury or class action lawsuit. We receive a percentage of your winning settlement at that point, which means working with Raphaelson & Levine is completely risk-free to you.

We invite you to call our law firm today at 212-268-3222 to request your free consultation or provide your contact information via our web form, and we will contact you shortly to schedule your initial appointment.

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Located near Penn Station in New York, NY, our law firm serves Nassau County, Rockland County, Suffolk County, Westchester and all of New York State, including the five boroughs of NYC: Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and Staten Island.
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