Hot Air Balloon Accidents

Hot air balloon rides are a popular excursion, and although accidents are rare, they do happen. If you or a loved one are injured in a preventable hot air balloon accident, you may have a claim for compensation. Speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Las Vegas to explore your legal options.

Hot Air Balloon Accidents

How Hot Air Balloon Accidents Occur

Hot air balloon accidents can result in severe injuries and possibly fatalities. Since they are easily influenced by their surroundings, any mistake made by the pilot or change in weather can quickly become dangerous. The most common causes of accidents are:

Bad Weather

Inclement weather is the most common hazard for hot air balloons, but it is often avoidable. However, they are at the mercy of the wind since there are no steering wheels. If the weather suddenly changes and the wind picks up, or there is a sudden storm or lightning, an accident can quickly happen. Hot air balloons also should remain grounded in overcast weather due to low visibility.

Pilot Error

Hot air balloon operators are human, so errors can easily be made. However, acts of negligence by a pilot, such as the following, can result in a severe accident:

  • Failure to check weather reports
  • Failure to provide preflight safety briefings
  • Failure to inspect equipment
  • Operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Failure to keep distance from obstacles or other hot air balloons
  • Mistakes with landing or launching
  • Inexperience or lack of training

Collisions

Other common hazards are pointy objects, structures, or obstacles such as trees, mountains, buildings, power lines, weather vanes, other hot air balloons, etc. Surprisingly, most of these accidents are not because of a puncture but due to the basket getting caught. Power lines are extremely dangerous, as these types of accidents often cause wrongful death.

Defective Parts

If a piece of equipment on a hot air balloon is defective and fails, it can be catastrophic.

Who is Liable for a Hot Air Balloon Accident?

The party at fault for causing the accident is liable for damages. Since hot air balloons are considered aircrafts, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will likely get involved when an accident occurs. An investigation will be conducted to determine the cause and who is responsible. Examples of parties commonly liable in hot air balloon accidents include the pilot, the hot air balloon owner, and the operating company. In some cases, multiple parties are found at fault.

Types of Damages Available After a Hot Air Balloon Accident

Hot air balloon accident victims have the right to recover damages, which is compensation for their injury and any other accident-related losses. That may include:

Economic Damages

Compensation to cover the cost of any current and future medical bills, lost wages, or property damage if any of your personal items are destroyed or damaged in the accident. If your injuries leave you permanently impaired and unable to earn the same level of income as before, you may be able to collect diminished earning capacity.

Non-Economic Damages

Compensation for subjective losses, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of companionship, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of reputation, etc.

Punitive Damages

If the liable party was extremely reckless or acted intentionally, the court may also award punitive damages as punishment and to deter others from similar behavior.

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