Air ambulances have been patrolling the skies since World War I. Designed to evacuate injured people in remote or inaccessible locations, these aircraft have no doubt helped save the lives of thousands. As the name implies, these types of vehicles include helicopters and airplanes that act as a flying intensive care unit. They are used when a patient must travel over 250 miles and need specialized medicine and care.
Historically, air ambulances have earned a strong track record for safety. During the Vietnam War, for instance, the U.S. helicopter ambulance services were so precise and quick that hurt soldiers enjoyed a better chance of surviving their injuries than did drivers hurt on the highways of California.
Air Ambulance Crashes
Although a crew member’s chance of being killed has decreased from 1:100 in the 1980’s to 1:850 by 2016, air ambulance crashes can and do happen. Obviously, air ambulance operators must perform under a higher degree of pressure than do their carrier pilot counterparts and this leads to an increase in crashes. EMS helicopters experience an average of 2 fatal accidents per 100,000 hours of flying, whereas general aviation is down around 1.3.
Moreover, there has been a disturbing trend over the past decade that demonstrates that air ambulance disasters seem to be on the rise. The fatal helicopter accident rate has increased from 0.54 per 100,000 flight hours in 2016 to 0.6 in 2017 and 0.72 in 2018.
In 2008, there were 12 accidents that resulted in 29 deaths. The National Travel Safety Board also publicly reprimanded the helicopter ambulance industry for its reckless practices saying that a significant percentage of all crashes were avoidable, saying that, “carelessness and complacency accounted for 40% of HEMS accidents, more than weather, more than CFIT.”
Helicopter Emergency Medical Services Accidents Per Year (2006-2015)
Air Ambulance Liability
In the case of an air ambulance helicopter crash, there may be one or many parties at fault. These can include:
- The pilot
Pilot error or negligence could have caused the helicopter crash and therefore the pilot may be held liable.
- Aircraft designer or manufacturer
If the aviation accident was caused by a defect in the aircraft or a faulty component.
- Air traffic controller
If the air traffic controller was negligent and could have prevented the plane or helicopter crash.
- Police and/or ground paramedics
First responders can be found responsible if they acted negligently and their actions caused injuries to the crash victims.
A surviving family member may bring a suit against any of these parties if their negligence caused unnecessary harm. Be sure to speak with an air ambulance crash attorney to discuss the specifics of your case and see if you have grounds to bring a suit.
Were You Injured in an Air Ambulance Crash? Contact Us Today!
Air ambulance accidents and helicopter accidents nationwide and all over the world don’t just injure and kill patients — they also injure and kill pilots and health providers. And due to their very nature, these types of crashes tend to be more serious than other types of accidents. If you or someone you care about was hurt due to a helicopter air ambulance accident, you may be entitled to significant compensation. To explore your options for getting remunerated for medical costs, pain and suffering, wages lost, a wrongful death and other concerns, connect with an aviation accident attorney of Panish Shea & Boyle LLP now. Our top-rated team of expert trial lawyers has represented international airline accident victims successfully in dozens of landmark personal injury and product liability trials.
We are very comfortable taking on high-profile cases, and we have the trial experience, intellectual fire power, and familiarity with procedural rules to ensure that you get the best and most aggressive representation possible. Phone us at (877) 800-1700 to discuss setting up a free consultation with an associate.