Hot Air Balloon Accident & Injury Lawyer – Oakland, CA
Taking a hot air balloon ride is an experience that is truly unforgettable. If given the opportunity, your ride can be as adventurous as you could imagine. However, as is the case with all forms of travel, sometimes an accident is unavoidable. This is a very unique form of air travel that you may or may not have much experience with; as such it is important to know the hazards and possibilities that may come from such a ride. Today, passenger hot air balloons are used almost exclusively as a means for recreation. While hot air balloons are regulated with similar safety requirements to other recreational forms of entertainment, it is also very likely that a well-handled ride can quickly become dangerous and have possibly catastrophic results.
How do hot air balloons work?
Hot Air Balloons are among the oldest functioning forms of air travel still in use today. The balloon itself, referred to as the bag or envelope, contains heated air and keeps the aircraft afloat. The gondola is the structure in which people are transported; this is more commonly known as a wicker basket due to its appearance and the material of which it is made. The envelope itself is usually made of polyester, nylon or some other flexible material that can be used to contain air. The bag is then coated with a material that is used to further prevent air from escaping. The top of the bag features a vent that can be used to expel air at a controlled rate in order to allow the pilot to have a better grasp on the balloon’s altitude.
The basket itself is made up of wicker and is made to to be light yet durable and able to hold a great amount of weight in order to ensure the safety of those inside. The balloon is kept afloat by a device known as the burner, which is located at the base of the bag and casts a controlled amount of hot air into it in order to keep the aircraft afloat.
There are several different kinds of hot air balloons available in a number of different sizes. Some balloons, known as hoppers, feature no basket at all and are used for a single individual connected by harness. Most hot air balloons can fit several individuals; some might even be able to fit up to twenty riders.
How common are hot air balloon accidents?
Hot air ballon accidents, while uncommon, are still very possible. Since 1964, over 770 hot air balloon accidents have occurred in the United States alone, with several resulting in the deaths of passengers aboard the aircraft. A total of 37 people were killed in the US in accidents from 2000 to 2016 as a result of 225 reported accidents. The deadliest hot air balloon accident on record was the 2013 Luxor hot air balloon crash in Egypt, in which 19 individuals were killed. The crash was caused as a result of a leak in the ballon’s fuel tank; the leak would later cause a fire in the balloon’s basket. This made the bag deflate rapidly, which caused the balloon to crash at a high speed.
What might cause a hot air balloon accident?
Hot air balloons are well-regulated; despite this, accidents do still occur. Causes often vary, but several accidents have to do with malfunctioning bags or burners. Some of the most common causes of hot air balloon accidents include:
- Contact with power lines
- Excessive landing speed
- Collapsing bag
- Negligence of the pilot
The National Transportation Safety Board reports that a majority of hot air balloon fatalities have to do with midair contact to power lines. Fatalities are often the result of crashing in order to avoid a midair collision.
What should I do if I am involved in a hot air balloon accident?
If you are injured as a result of a hot air balloon accident, you should contact an attorney to see if you may qualify for a claim. You could qualify if you are able to prove that negligence on behalf of another individual is what caused the accident. If your injury was the result of a high-impact landing or collision, you should contact a personal injury attorney to see if you can receive a large payout.
Like other forms of air travel, the pilot or company could be held liable for injuries caused as a result of turbulence. You could also qualify for a product liability claim if the accident is the result of factors related to the balloon itself; this includes a faulty burner, a leaky vent, or broken safety equipment in the basket. Any injury could qualify the rider for a claim against the pilot or company through which the flight was taken. The rider should seek legal consultation immediately in order to determine their next step.
If you or a loved one was involved in a hot air balloon accident, Klezcek Law Office is ready to help you. Contact us today for a free consultation. We can help you get the justice and compensation that YOU DESERVE!