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©Gordon S. Johnson, Jr. 2008.

Wrongful Death Cases

Let us begin by expressing our condolences at the loss of a loved one in a  helicopter crash. We wish that you had no need for the information on this page, and that this tragedy could have been avoided. It is our goal to provide you with the best information on understanding why this crash occurred and seeking justice for the wrongdoing that happened to your family as a result. We hope that we can show you that the Nolan Law Group has the empathy, skill and perseverance to do the best job to compensate your family for the wrongdoing of others.

There are two threshold issues that must be addressed in order to bring a wrongful death action: The first, is that a personal representative must be appointed on behalf of the person killed and, the second is that a decision must be made as to where to bring that action. 

A personal representative is a person who becomes the legal representative of the estate of the wrongfully killed person. This action is usually started in the state of residence of the dead person. For example, the crash happened on a flight between Illinois and Wisconsin, but the person killed was from Indiana.  The estate would be opened in Indiana, and the personal representative chosen by the Indiana court.  If a person dies with a will, the personal representative is most often the person nominated in the will to serve as such. If the person does not have a will, the Court in the state of residence, will select an appropriate person.

At times it is possible to pursue an action on behalf of a person killed, with just what is called a “Special Administration”, if the person killed does not have significant other assets or liabilities other than the cause of action for wrongful death.

There are also other individuals who may bring a claim, other than the personal representative. Those include the individual family members of the person killed, also called the “survivors”. Depending on the law of the state that governs the lawsuit over the crash, the survivors may each be able to bring their own action.

The more complicated issue is the matter of where to bring such lawsuit.  Each state's (or country's) laws with respect to what actions can be maintained, who can bring such actions, the money damages recoverable, are different.  While the first option would appear to be the place where the crash occurred, that is not always the most appropriate place, and it may be better that such action be brought in a place the helicopter was built or maintained, or where one of several defendants resides or is located.

As the Nolan Law Group has such extensive experience with massive torts and death actions involving large aviation disasters, we have outstanding expertise in such area. This is a very significant advantage in retaining a national aviation firm over a local firm to handle your case. Our experience in working with multiple jurisdictional issues, multiple legal theories and multiple defendant’s within the same case will prove invaluable as the case proceeds.

Next: Personal Injury Actions/ Personal Injury Cases

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