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Wrongful death lawsuit moves forward after aviation accident

Many people in Billings, Montana, may wonder what really happens behind the scenes of cable-channel reality television shows. Although some action-packed scenes looked good on television screens, in reality, they can be dangerous.

Almost a year after a tragic, fatal helicopter crash, the family of one of three people killed during the production of a military-themed reality show continues its fight for justice. The victim, a Special Forces veteran, died in an early morning helicopter crash that also killed the pilot and a show crewmember.

Recently, a judge ordered the wrongful death lawsuit, filed this summer on behalf of the 45-year-old man's widow and children, to move forward unchanged. The attorney for the helicopter companies contended that the plaintiffs did not include the Federal Aviation Authority's guidelines concerning the competencies of a pilot when they filed the lawsuit.

However, the family's attorney argued that the helicopter companies should have followed that FAA guideline when they hired an allegedly unfit pilot to fly their aircraft during the show's filming. The lawyer claimed that the pilot and the companies failed to abort the flight despite bad weather. Other lawsuits related to the accident also are pending.

Although aviation accidents happen infrequently, a single crash can cause multiple injuries and deaths. Pilots and carriers must ensure the safety of their passengers. Failure to comply with FAA safety protocols, use of defective aircrafts and pilot error constitute grounds for negligence.

In the event that carelessness results in an aviation accident, an injured victim may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the pilot or the carrier. If the victim dies, surviving relatives may file a wrongful death suit. Filing a suit can help the victim or the victim's surviving family collect compensation that can cover medical, funeral and other costs.

Source: North Hollywood-Toluca Lake Patch, "Judge: Helicopter Crash Lawsuit Moves Forward in its Entirety," Penny Arevalo, Feb. 4, 2014

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