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Aircraft Disasters

Haggard Law Firm > Aircraft Disasters

The Haggard Law Firm ranks among the foremost firms practicing aviation law in the southeastern United States.

Members of our firm have represented more than 750 crash victims and their families in North, Central and South America and the Caribbean, including many significant air tragedies in recent history: the 1972 Eastern Airlines crash in the Florida Everglades, the 1982 Pan American crash in New Orleans, the 1982 Air Florida crash in Washington, D.C., the 1995 American Airlines crash in Cali, Colombia, the 1996 ValuJet crash in Miami, and on behalf of the Ecuadorian government, the 1996 cargo plane crash in Manta, Ecuador.


For decades, the Haggard Law Firm has represented several private, general aviation crash victims and their families in Florida including: the 2001 crash of local NBC channel WTVJ’s “Sky 6” chopper in Miami; 1999 crash of an OH-6A military helicopter in Ft. Myers; the 1998 crash of an Aero Commander in Boca Raton; the 1996 of a Cessna 402A in Miami; the 1997 crash of a Mooney in Tallahassee; the 1996 crash of a Cessna P210 in Key West; and the 1994 crash of a Beech Baron in Lakeland, Florida.

Notable Aviation Cases

PIERARD v. AEROSPATIALE, et al

$8.3 Million – Verdict Helicopter crash.

 

Suit by pilot of helicopter against manufacturer for serious injuries sustained in crash caused by defect in fuel filter design. Verdict was reduced to $6 million. The case settled on appeal.

DOE v. ROE

$5 Million – Settlement Airplane crash.

 

Plaintiff was a passenger in a small aircraft in North Carolina flying back from a job interview arranged by defendant company. Defendant pilot failed to lower landing gear and the plane skidded down a 60-foot embankment. Plaintiff was rendered a partial hemiplegic.

WEBER v. SLINGSBY AVIATION

$4 Million – Verdict Wrongful death / Plane crash

 

The plaintiff, a cadet at the United States Air Force Academy, and his instructor pilot were killed during a pilot screening mission after the Slingsby T-3A Firefly aerobatic aircraft they were flying experienced mechanical failure causing the plane to crash. The crash was the direct result of poor design and product defect. The award was upheld on appeal.

SANZETENEA/MERCADO/FLORES v. RAM

$3.9 Million – Settlement Airplane Crash / Negligence

 

Just after a well-executed take-off, a Cessna 340 aircraft crashed in Bolivia due to loss of power to the left engine. The plane’s left wingtip impacted the ground causing the injuries and deaths of the plaintiffs, which include the pilot. The engine failure was a result of a nut in the fuel manifold holding the diaphragm being loose, allowing fuel to leak. The defendant company was found negligent because they were responsible for the overhaul and maintenance of the engine that failed.

CARSON v. McDONNELL DOUGLAS HELICOPTER CORPORATION

$4 Million – Verdict Wrongful death / Plane crash

 

The plaintiff, a cadet at the United States Air Force Academy, and his instructor pilot were killed during a pilot screening mission after the Slingsby T-3A Firefly aerobatic aircraft they were flying experienced mechanical failure causing the plane to crash. The crash was the direct result of poor design and product defect. The award was upheld on appeal.

MORGAN v. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$1.9 Million – Settlement Airplane crash

 

Action on behalf of surviving spouse of a pilot killed in a single engine general aviation aircraft in Tallahassee, Florida. The crash was an alleged result of the negligent administration of air traffic control services and a failed engine.

JOHN DOE v. X AIRLINES

$1.6 Million – Settlement Wrongful death

 

Action on behalf of decedent who was killed in fatal plane crash. Decedent’s survivors included her husband, her infant daughter and her parents, who alleged pain and suffering, loss of support and loss of parental guidance.

SADOWSKI v. STATE OF FLORIDA

$1.6 Million – Verdict / Claims Bill Aviation/wrongful death.

 

Suit was filed for the wrongful death of Secretary of the Florida Department of Community Affairs, who was killed in a state-owned-and-operated plane on his way to deliver a speech. The case involved winning significant workers’ compensation and liability issues against the state. Jury verdict of $1 million was increased to $1.6 million in a claims bill with legislation.

WOODS v. NOVA COMPANIES BELIZE

$1.4 Million – Settlement Airplane crash

 

Plaintiff, a passenger when Defendant’s aircraft crashed in Costa Rica, sustained multiple injuries and was badly burned over most of his body, leaving disfiguring scars.

DOCTOR v. PARDUE & EXPERIMENTAL AIRCRAFT ASSOCIATION

$1.25 Million – Verdict Airplane crash

 

Jury found that Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) and an air show flight leader were partially liable for a plane crash that occurred at the EAA’s “AirVenture” Air Show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin in 1999. The crash left Laird “Lad” Doctor, a pilot from Dallas, Texas, with significant spinal cord damage rendering him to live the rest of his life as a quadriplegic.

MINTZ v. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$1.1 Million – Settlement Airplane crash

 

The plaintiff and her husband were killed in an airplane crash when the plaintiff’s husband, who was navigating the plane, encountered adverse weather conditions and lost control of his Aero Commander aircraft. The air traffic controller which handled the traffic in and out of the airport where the plaintiff took off, did not inform the plaintiff of the adverse weather conditions along the route of flight.

PIERCE v. XYZ COMPANY

$1.1 Million – Settlement Air crash

 

Pilot died in Louisiana crash of Russian-mode aerobatic Sukhoi aircraft after elevator control system disconnected in flight, causing plane to plummet several thousand feet. Defendant assembled, equipped and sold the aircraft.

SHEPHERD v. POMPANO AIR CENTER

$1.1 Million – Settlement Air crash

 

Pilot died in Louisiana crash of Russian-mode aerobatic Sukhoi aircraft after elevator control system disconnected in flight, causing plane to plummet several thousand feet. Defendant assembled, equipped and sold the aircraft.

PIERCE v. XYZ COMPANY

$1.1 Million – Settlement Air crash

 

Pilot died in Louisiana crash of Russian-mode aerobatic Sukhoi aircraft after elevator control system disconnected in flight, causing plane to plummet several thousand feet. Defendant assembled, equipped and sold the aircraft.

 **Prospective clients may not obtain similar results. Amounts stated below are before deductions for fees, cost of attorneys and third party providers such as medical providers.**