Monday, August 15, 2011

Aviation Accident Victims: The Immediate Response to a Tragedy

  Over the last 6 weeks there has been a series of tragic aviation accidents in Alaska.  Most recently, an Inland Aviation Services flight crashed near McGrath resulting in both injuries and deaths.  See  I am often contacted by aviation accident vicitms about how what to do in the days following an aviation accident.

   Accident victims should remember that the most important thing is to focus on their own physical and emotional health.  For survivors, this means concentrating on medical treatment and allowing a trusted family member or friend to help with addressing lost income benefits during medical recovery.  For the families of persons who unfortunately did not survive, this means allowing time to grieve and the other actions one needs to take following a sudden death. 

  Be wary of representatives of the airline or the airline's insurer that "drop in" to express their sympathies and share their concerns.  While some of these "visits"  may be the result of good intentions, they are also part of a practiced strategy to limit compensation.  Accident victims should recognize that their legal interests are in conflict with the legal interests of the airline or the airline's insurer.

   Also be wary of lawyers or law firms hosting seminars or advising that they have confidential information regarding the cause of the accident.  These claims can be misleading because all accidents are investigated intensively by the National Transportation Safety Board, an investigation in which the airline is required to participate and in which the lawyers are excluded. 

  Remember:  Play your hand smartly.  See