Air Ambulance Accident and Liability


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When you, or a loved one, face a true medical emergency and need to be airlifted to a hospital, your only thought is likely to be, “how fast can one of those EMS helicopters get here?” That is understandable. You are likely in pain and frightened. You may even be fighting for your life. That is why you need to get to a hospital quickly and safely.

When something goes wrong on EMS helicopters, the effects can be devastating. A delay in travel, an accident on board, or a crash can cause devastating injuries or fatalities on a medical transfer helicopter. Liability can rest with many different parties. Aviation attorneys can help clients ascertain which parties, if any, bear medical transfer helicopter liability.

Liability for Air Ambulance Crashes, Accidents, and Injuries

The following parties may be responsible for an air ambulance crash or accident:

  • Pilot (because of negligence or pilot error);
  • Police or ground paramedics (for failing to exercise reasonable care in collaborating with the air ambulance);
  • Aircraft designer (for a bad design);
  • Aircraft manufacturer (for a manufacturing error);
  • Aircraft maintenance (for failing to maintain a safe aircraft);
  • Air Traffic Control (for errors that led to a crash); and
  • Others who interfere with the safe maneuvering of an air ambulance.

Rocvering for Damages

Generally, an injured party, or the survivors of a fatally injured party, can bring a lawsuit alleging that another defendant’s negligence caused the injuries or that a defective part or product caused the injuries.

  • In order to prove negligence, the plaintiff must prove:
  • The defendant owed a duty of care to the victim;
  • The defendant breached the duty of care by failing to act like a reasonable person would act;
  • The defendant’s breach of the duty of care caused the victim’s injuries which would not have happened but for the defendants actions (or inactions); and
  • The plaintiff is entitled to damages.

In order to succeed in a product liability claim, the plaintiff must prove:

  • There was a manufacturing defect, a design defect or a failure to warn;
  • That caused the victim’s injuries.

How an Attorney Can Help

An aviation attorney can help a plaintiff identify potential defendants, file a lawsuit alleging the correct legal theory and recover damages. An aviation attorney can also help a defendant defend itself against a plaintiff’s air ambulance claim. Thus, it is important for both parties to be represented by qualified aviation counsel.

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