An Experienced Attorney Evaluating Military Aviation Accident Cases
Claims arising from military aviation accidents are limited and difficult, and it takes experienced airplane accident lawyers to make the proper evaluation. Many law firms steer clear of these cases.
As difficult as such claims are, however, I am always ready to analyze a potential injury claim for injured members of the armed forces and their family members. I am aviation accident attorney William Angelley, a former U.S. Navy pilot and the owner of Angelley PC. My law firm has had numerous successes in obtaining recoveries for my clients.
Some Insights Into Military Aviation Accidents
The first thing to know is that the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) prohibits active-duty servicemen and servicewomen from pursuing causes of action against the U.S. government for death or injury that has occurred in the scope of their service.
There is a narrow exception to the FTCA that may apply to civilians, veterans and family members of military personnel who are killed or injured as a result of the negligence of military employees or as a result of noncombat military activities. This exception is found in the Military Claims Act, but, importantly, it does not apply to active-duty servicemen and servicewomen whose deaths or injuries were incident to their service.
When A Corporate Contractor Is A Liable Party
The reality, however, is that today’s military relies heavily on civilian corporate contractors for many of its needed services. Some examples include cargo operations, aircraft maintenance and certain training. And, of course, the military does not build its own aircraft. It relies instead on large government contractors.
But, even though claims against one of these civilian contractors may not be barred by the FTCA, there are still many obstacles when pursuing a successful action against them. For example, the government contractor defense, which arises from a 1988 U.S. Supreme Court decision, provides a significant hurdle for someone killed or injured as a result of a defective part on a military plane or helicopter.
The Hurdle Of Gathering Evidence
Similarly, the state secrets doctrine and the political question doctrine may well prevent a claimant from obtaining any evidence at all related to the cause of a military aircraft accident. Additionally, the simple classification of a document as Confidential, Secret or Top Secret can preclude the military’s disclosure of pertinent evidence.
Unlike in cases of civilian crashes, in which the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) generally takes the investigative lead, in military crashes, the involved service branch of the military will conduct the investigation. Not surprisingly, these reports are generally heavily redacted.
I Am Ready For A Challenge
Until I investigate your or your loved one’s military aviation crash, I will not be able to predict a probable outcome of legal action that you might pursue. I will be willing to give it my best efforts. After our free initial consultation, you and I can decide if it is worth pursuing this path to relief for you and your family.
Please contact an attorney who is also an experienced pilot to discuss your potential injury or wrongful death claim. Call 214-254-3075 or complete an online intake form to schedule a free consultation.