Most of the transportation-related accidents we hear about as a Panama
City personal injury law firm involve automobiles. We also frequently
work with Panama City accident victims whose cases involved bicycles,
motorcycles, pedestrians, or a mix of these modes of transport. While
the cases are rarer, the Panama City injury lawyer at The Pittman Firm
is also prepared to represent those injured in plane or helicopter accidents,
including passengers and victims on the ground.
Over the weekend, Northwest Florida Daily News reported on an accident
involving a privately-owned helicopter in Destin. The pilot of the Robinson
R44 Raven helicopter told the responding officials from the Destin Fire
Department that he had a mechanical problem with the chopper. As a result,
the pilot made a hard landing in a sand pit that sits behind the Days
Inn hotel on U.S. Highway 98 at approximately 3:45 P.M. on Saturday May
19. The rear end of the helicopter, including the tail piece, broke off
from the body and the craft's propeller was also damaged. All three
individuals on-board, the pilot and two passengers, were able to exit
through the helicopter's doors. The fuselage was not damaged and the
craft did not catch fire, although some fluids did leak and required clean-up.
The aircraft was involved in the tourism field and owned by Timberview
Helicopters. It had flown out of the Destin Airport carrying two sightseers.
Metal pieces torn from the tailpiece were collected and the helicopter's
body was removed from the sand pit onto the ground of a nearby empty parking
lot before being released back to the owner.
Although the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office contacted the National
Transportation Safety Board, officials declined to visit the accident
scene because no injuries resulted from the crash. A deputy from Sheriff's
Office reported that it appeared that the female pilot was able to set
the helicopter down easily. This view was reiterated by a witness who
had been staying at the hotel and who had substantial helicopter training.
He reported that the pilot appeared to have executed a textbook emergency
landing, despite the apparent significant problems with the craft.
Helicopter accidents can fall into several categories, with the three major
Operational Error, including failure to properly train the pilot and failure to operate
the helicopter within safety guidelines;
Mechanical Malfunction, including failure of a component to function as intended and unsafe design
Electrical Malfunction, including an electrical short or an electrical source failure.
Where injuries occur to passengers or to people on the ground, a civil
claim may exist against a number of different parties including the pilot,
the company that owns the craft, and the manufacturer of the helicopter.
Successfully representing victims of Florida helicopter crashes, like other
forms of vehicular accidents, requires a law firm that knows the law and
has the technical ability to analyze the facts of an individual case.
The Pittman Firm has the knowledge and experience necessary to help injured
Floridians recover compensation in a wide-range of accidents.