The relationship of our law firm with our clients often begins in the midst of great human tragedy. When aviation goes wrong, it has the capacity to hurt and kill. With each death and injury, grief ripples through loving relationships, families and extended families, bringing terrible loss and sorrow.
Often at some point, even in the midst of such horrific loss, there arise questions – the questions of "why and how?" Why did this accident happen? How did it happen? How can it be prevented from happening again?
Like many law firms, we have attorneys dedicated to advancing our clients' causes. The difference is that at Katzman, Lampert & McClune, our aviation lawyers are pilots, engineers, investigators, and reconstructionists. We believe there is a need to seek and determine the real and true cause of an aviation tragedy while obtaining fair and just compensation for accident victims and their families. Because governmental agencies have abdicated their policing functions to the very industries they are charged with regulating, our legal system is left to and must hold accountable wrongdoers for their misdeeds. Public policy and corporate boardroom misbehavior can be and often are revealed and influenced by the piercing light of litigation's discoveries.
Although the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is responsible for investigating and determining the probable cause of aviation accidents in the United States, it lacks sufficient budget, manpower, experts, and inclination to fully and properly investigate most general aviation and many commercial aircraft accidents. In most general aviation accident cases, the NTSB investigators typically spend only one day at an accident scene and quickly send the airframe and engine parts to their manufacturers for examination and testing – the fox watching the hen house – before closing the file with "pilot error" rubber stamped as the probable cause.
In high-profile aviation mass disaster accidents, the NTSB will expend more time, manpower, and money; however, in reality these efforts are directed more toward political rather than technical issues. The NTSB's investigations are a mile wide, but only an inch deep, because the government's investigators simply do not want to find technical flaws that might negatively affect an entire fleet of airplanes to the economic detriment of the manufacturers. Three specific examples of aviation product design flaws quickly come to mind in which this firm has been deeply involved and where the NTSB has had its "head in the sand": un-commanded rudder reversal on 737 aircraft; an explosive mixture of fuel and air in the centerline fuel tanks of wide-body aircraft; and the lack of a requirement for use of child restraints on commercial airliners.
Through political lobbying and by actual participation as "party representatives" to most aviation accident investigations, industry has effectively co-opted the integrity of the government accident investigation process. It is left to aviation attorneys, especially those of us who are pilots and engineers deeply interested in finding the truth, to expend the time and invest the money and manpower to get to the bottom of these great tragedies. Litigation and the potential of large jury damage awards are, in many cases, the only checks and balances on the unbridled profit motive of corporate entities.
The attorneys of Katzman, Lampert & McClune have an established track record of tirelessly running down every lead and clue, performing the necessary engineering analysis, and undertaking the extensive flight tests needed to determine the cause of an accident. These efforts have resulted in advances in aircraft design, more reliable power plants, improved air traffic control procedures, and more crashworthy aircraft. As pilots ourselves, we prefer to prevent the next accident rather than to re-litigate over and over again the same problem at the cost of additional loss of life and the terrible pain inflicted by each accident. This is the higher goal that we seek to achieve.
You can expect, and we promise, a partnership dedicated to finding the truth and holding legally accountable the individuals or corporations whose actions have caused a tragedy. We seek to hold wrongdoers accountable and obtain fair and just compensation for those who have suffered a tragic loss from an aviation accident, while protecting other people from a similar fate in the future.
The Attorneys of Katzman, Lampert & McClune
*The information submitted on this form is for use by Katzman, Lampert & McClune only. All fields are required.