With hot air balloons, like most things in life, there is an element of risk you will consent to, but no one even consents to be injured or killed by incompetent pilots or due to dangerous, poorly made, or maintained aircraft equipment. Welcome to the Los Angeles County Hot Air Balloon Accident Attorneys webpage of Ehline Law. Established in 2005, our law firm has over a decade of experience settling and litigating transportation accident and mid-air collision cases.
Our expert aviation accident attorneys have won some of the largest verdicts and settlements in Los Angeles. We are here to answer questions about your individual case confidential. We are also willing to provide you with the information you need if you or a loved one has been involved in a hot air balloon accident in Los Angeles County. If you suffered injuries when you hire us, we won’t hesitate to take your case all the way to the California Supreme Court to get victims paid in full!
California’s beautiful weather and its equally breathtaking scenery make cities like Los Angeles into major tourist destinations for hot air balloon flying and transporting passengers over scenic areas. True, visitors from across the globe can see some amazing views in LA from an airplane, but a hot air balloon ride will be quiet, slow, and relaxing when compared to a passenger plane or even a noisy helicopter.
However, as will all flying, hot air balloons come with their risks of serious injuries or death. Most of these accidents are caused by negligent operators or defective products. Ehline Law has an experienced team of personal injury attorneys who understand the causes and injuries wrought by hot air balloons in California. Our superior legal team will fight to obtain an award of maximum compensation on behalf of our clients injured in these debacles. Are you ready to get the compensation you deserve? Let us help you find the cause of an accident so we can help determine who the party is and make them pay for their negligence.
Recent Mexico City Hot Air Balloon Fire Demonstrates the Dangers
On April 1, 2023, it was no joke. Tourists recorded cell phone video of an ascending hot air balloon with passengers.
Its basket was aflame, and you could hear screaming as the fire and heat spread. You can actually see a passenger fall to their death in the social media images. Here is the full article. Sometimes these flights are part of a cruise ship shore excursion. Typically, that would involve Princess Cruises if this was Mexico. Here, it is too soon to tell who was running the show. But either way, U.S. Law will always be more favorable for hot air balloon accident victims than Mexican law regarding getting paid money damages.
What usually causes accidents involving hot air balloons?
The weather is not good. Inclement weather remains the most common hazard leading to damage in flying balloons, according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Still, it can often be avoided with proper piloting and preparation. Nevertheless, hot air balloon operators have to rely solely on the wind as they are not cars relying on the friction of the road to steer them.
If the weather suddenly changes and winds rise, or sudden storms or lightning strikes, fire and flames accidents can occur immediately. Burn injuries, wrongful death, and severe injuries are sure to follow. If you are lucky enough to survive, as a victim, you will likely have broken bones from being forced to jump from the basket, or from the basket falling from the balloon’s ropes, for example.
Do Hot Air Balloon Piots Have a Heightened Duty of Care?
Yes. But there is a jurisdictional split, with some appellate courts believing the balloon cannot be steered since it relies on heat to make it go into a Windstream rather than steering under motor power. They provide their customer service as common carriers of passengers for hire. In courts where they are considered common carriers, victims have a far easier standard for a plaintiff to prove than the ordinary negligence standard. Who will pay for your medical bills and lost wages as you heal? In a motor vehicle accident, you file an insurance claim against the other driver and pursue compensation under California law. Typically there are no accident scene investigators other than maybe the local police in a car crash.
Here, in the majority of jurisdictions, the pilots will be held to a higher standard since they are common carriers with a special duty to transport a person safely. Their rules are stricter, more like that of a truck driver, bus driver, or limousine operator with a commercial license to conduct transport operations. Also, as discussed below, you have other types of claims and defendants in hot air balloon accidents.
For one, the Federal Aviation Administration will likely be involved in the accident investigation, which certainly can help you establish professional negligence by the balloon company to cover some of your medical expenditures, for example. The feds can also help you get information about any insurance coverage to help cover your other damages without being forced to take the matter to a potentially reckless jury that refuses to award you a proper verdict.
But, alas, to get the most compensation, you must form an attorney-client relationship with a civil lawyer specializing in tort law. The state can seek or pursue criminal charges, and your lawyer seeks out money for you. This is where the hot air balloon accident lawyers at our celebrated law offices come into play. We have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for our clients since 2005. Our advanced trial and negotiation skills help clients recover maximum compensation. We also offer all new clients with serious injuries a free legal consultation at (213) 596-9642 to discuss the injuries caused and the chances of winning or failing. We have high standards and are ready to answer questions and help you get back on your feet!
What should I do if I have been involved in a hot air balloon accident in Los Angeles County?
If you have been involved in a hot air balloon accident in Los Angeles County, you should first seek medical attention for any injuries. After receiving medical treatment, you must contact an experienced hot air balloon accident attorney who can help you understand your legal rights and options.
What are some common causes of hot air balloon accidents?
Hot air balloon accidents can be caused by a variety of factors, including pilot error, weather conditions, mechanical failure, and operator negligence. In some cases, accidents may be caused by a combination of factors.
How can a hot air balloon accident attorney help me?
A hot air balloon accident attorney can help you navigate the complex legal process and fight for your rights. An experienced attorney can investigate the accident, gather evidence, and negotiate with insurance companies and other parties to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve for your low back injuries or other serious injuries and losses.
Who Can I sue in California For a Hot Air Balloon Accident?
If you are involved in a hot air balloon accident in California, you may be able to sue various parties depending on the circumstances of how the accident occurred. If the ride operators did not comply with safety laws, and your balloon crashed, our legal team will work with officials to ensure witnesses are identified. We will even offer our help managing the government’s claim.
Here are some parties that may be held liable in a hot air balloon accident lawsuit in California:
- The hot air balloon company: If the accident was caused by the negligence of the private hot air balloon company or its employees with subpar training, such as pilot or maintenance personnel, the company might be held liable to all wounded passengers that fly their balloon baskets. If these people exercise poor judgment, they must pay you for your losses.
- The manufacturer of the hot air balloon: If the accident was caused by a defect in the hot air balloon or its equipment, such as a faulty burner or fuel system, the manufacturer of the hot air balloon may be held liable to pay your damages recovery, but you need a great lawyer.
- Other parties involved in the accident: If the accident was caused by the negligence of another party, such as a pilot of another hot air balloon or an air traffic controller, that party might be held liable. When you speak to us, we will be able to see who the owner or master is, and hold them accountable for damages along with any responsible manager, reckless pilots employed in this endeavor, etc.
- Government entities: In some cases, government entities, even the City of Los Angeles, may be held liable for hot air balloon accidents, such as if the accident was caused by a defect in a government-owned balloon or due to the negligence of a government employee in guiding or controlling your ballon and its pilot and other individuals.
Determining liability and how to handle a hot air balloon accident, in general, can be complex, even for the best attorneys with hundreds of trials under their belts. So consulting with an experienced hot air balloon accident attorney remains important. After they are hired, they will be someone who can evaluate the circumstances of your case and advise you on your legal options when dealing with the ever-changing dynamics. We will take the actions necessary to help you recover for your loss from any defendant under California law.
What types of Damages Can I Recover in a Hot Air Balloon Accident Case?
If you have been involved in a hot air balloon accident, you may be entitled to recover damages for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. An experienced hot air balloon accident attorney can help you determine what types of damages you may be able to recover.
Tips on How to Choose the Best Attorney for Accidents involving Hot Air Balloons?
Choosing the best hot air balloon accident injury lawyer is an important decision that can significantly impact the outcome of your case and nip problems in the bud before they arise.
Here are some expert tips to help you choose the right attorney:
- Look for experience: Choose an attorney who has handled hot air balloon accident cases in the past. This area of law can be complex, and an experienced attorney will be better equipped to navigate the legal process and fight for your rights when bringing an action.
- Check for success: Look for an attorney who has a proven track record of success in handling hot air balloon accident cases. Ask for references besides relying on Yelp! or some review website to get a sense of the attorney’s peer and client reputation.
- Consider their communication style: Choose an attorney who is responsive and communicative. You want an attorney who will keep you informed throughout the legal process and answer any questions you may have.
- Assess their resources: Hot air balloon accident cases often require significant investigation and resources. Choose a top-notch attorney who has the resources to fully investigate your case and build a strong case on your behalf.
- Look for a contingency fee agreement: Many hot air balloon accident injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, which means they only get paid if you win your case. This can be a more affordable option for clients who may not have the financial resources to pay for legal fees upfront.
By taking these factors into consideration and doing your research, you can choose the best hot air balloon accident injury lawyer to represent you and fight for your rights.
What Is Considered the Worst Hot Air Balloon Accident?
The 2013 Luxor Hot Air Balloon Crash is considered by many to be the worst airship accident ever. Back on February 26, 2013, an airship was destroyed when it caught fire from a gas fuel leak. In that case, 19 out of 21 passengers were killed.
How Long Do Victims Have to File Their Hot Air Balloon Accident Lawsuit?
The statute of limitations applies to hot air balloon accident lawsuits in California. As a general rule, it will be two years from the date of the accident. However, there are exceptions to this rule. This is another reason why it remains, so it is important to contact a serious injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case.
Tips on How to Avoid a Hot Air Balloon Accident?
Here are some tips to help you avoid a hot air balloon accident:
- Choose a reputable company: Before booking a hot air balloon ride, do your research and choose a reputable company with a good safety record. Obviously, you might think twice about hiring someone with safety violations on their public records.
- Check weather conditions: Hot air balloon rides are dependent on weather conditions, so make sure to check the forecast and avoid flying in unfavorable conditions such as high winds, thunderstorms, or fog. Do not simply rely on the business that is making money. This is your life.
- Listen to the pilot: The pilot is responsible for the safety of the passengers, so it is important to listen to their instructions and follow their guidance during the flight.
- Pay attention to the safety briefing: Before the flight, the pilot will provide a safety briefing that includes important information, such as how to board and exit the balloon and what to do in case of an emergency. Pay close attention and ask questions if anything is unclear.
- Wear appropriate clothing: Wear comfortable clothing and sturdy, closed-toe shoes. Avoid wearing loose clothing or anything that could get caught in the balloon’s equipment.
- Stay seated: Once the balloon is in flight, remain seated and do not lean over the edge or try to stand up. This can cause the balloon to become unbalanced and potentially lead to an accident.
- Be aware of your surroundings: Keep an eye out for other balloons, power lines, and other potential hazards on the land, during the flight in general, and while touching down.
Following these tips and taking precautions can help ensure a safe and enjoyable hot air balloon ride. We are also available to answer questions if you are unsure or doing some difficult research for a hurt friend. Generally, it will be better to deal with us now than end up in a hospital later.
Did you suffer a brain injury, spine injury, or burn injury in an accident after you purchased tickets and went up? Did someone you love die after plunging into the earth from an inflatable balloon? If you or a loved one has been involved in a hot air balloon accident in Los Angeles County, the attorneys at Ehline Law are here to help. We can travel to your location, answer all your questions, and give you the security you need to choose your financial future.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about your legal rights and options for your unique situation. We can be reached for a free consultation by dialing (213) 596-9642 or by using our below contact us for a free virtual consultation online.