New York City is the most-visited city in the United States, attracting millions of tourists. one unique way to experience the sights and the scope of the NYC area is by helicopter.
Many visitors book helicopter sightseeing excursions, but these rides are risky. You are at the mercy of "chopper" pilots who log many flights in a day, leaving little time for proper rest breaks or maintenance.
Recent crashes underscore safety concerns
Just last month, a helicopter crash in Midtown Manhattan resulted in one fatality. While the person who died was the pilot, these helicopter accidents can be just as deadly for passengers.
In one case from 2018, five passengers were in a helicopter taking pictures when the aircraft lost power. The pilot landed in the East River and deployed floats, but the helicopter quickly rolled over and sank. All the passengers drowned before they could cut their harness straps.
While the New York Times may portray helicopter accidents as “rare,” several incidents over the last 20 years have been fatal. When you are the person in the passenger seat of a malfunctioning chopper, it doesn’t matter how often it happens.
What recourse do injury victims have?
Prior to your flight, the helicopter service may have you sign a waiver. This waiver might require you to acknowledge that your understand and accept the risks and that you agree not to sue in the unlikely event of injury or death.
Such waivers are not a barrier to recovery of compensation if the pilot or company was negligent. That is where a personal injury firm would come in. A lawyer experienced with aviation accidents would know how to investigate to establish how the helicopter service failed in its legal duty to the passengers.
If you live out of state, or even outside the United States, hiring local legal help is probably the best course. There may be state and local laws at play, in addition to federal regulations, and any legal proceedings would be in the New York superior courts.