Helicopters are increasingly used in everything from firefighting to medical emergencies. There are more helipads than ever before and some affluent individuals even used helicopters to travel. Recently, a tragic helicopter accident in Florida claimed the lives of three people. The incident involved a Mayo Clinic helicopter and after the accident a number of questions have been raised about the safety of emergency helicopter use. In addition to the accident, there has been some media attention concerning the safety of medical helicopters.
In 2010, Popular Mechanics published an article claiming that pilots who man medical helicopters have among the most dangerous jobs in the US and fly some of the most dangerous missions. According to the article, in some cases helicopters are used even when other alternatives are available. The article also suggested that medical helicopters require less strict protocols and fewer safety mandates than most other kinds of aircraft. For example, medical helicopters do not need to comply with the strict weather and pedestrian checks that other aircraft need to consider. Potentially, this could mean that helicopter accidents are even more of a concern than Miami airplane accidents.
According to some sources, for medical helicopters the fatal accident rate is 1.18 for every 100 000 flight hours. This compares to 1.13 per 100 000 hours for air taxis and general aviation flights. In 2011, The National Transportation Safety Board announced that accident rates for medical emergency helicopters are not acceptable.
Medical helicopters are used for many purposes. They fly patients into hospitals in emergencies, for example, and they fly donated organs to airports for transport. They are also fly a number of other missions. Medical helicopters range from top-of-the-line twin-engine autopilot air ambulance to more economical single-engine models. There is no definitive data about differences in medical ambulance accidents between different models.
For patients, the results of medical helicopter crashes can be devastating. At a time when patients already need to be aware of Miami misdiagnosis and other problems that can lead to a Miami medical malpractice lawsuit, helicopter accidents are one more additional worry. A patient who is being transported to a hospital for emergency treatment via helicopter is unlikely to survive the crash. Medical helicopter crashes can also destroy the donated organs which can be a patient’s only hope of survival.
Proving liability in a medical helicopter crash can also be challenging. Private investigators may be dealing with a site that is heavily damaged by the crash itself. They can check the equipment made available for the pilots, the condition of the helicopter, and the training of the pilots and crew. Proving liability, however, can be challenging, especially since in many cases the helicopters are owned by third parties and are in use for hospitals.
If you have been seriously injured in a Miami airplane or helicopter accident, you will need an experienced personal injury attorney to represent you and to fight aggressively for your rights. You can contact the Flaxman Law Group to arrange for a free initial consultation to discuss your case and your options.