Iraq War Vets Reach Multi-million Settlement with Helicopter Manufacturer Boeing
By Gerri Elder
A U.S. District Court in Los Angeles recently handed down the largest-known personal injury settlement for military personnel hurt in the Iraq War when it awarded $13.55 million to two men who suffered life-changing personal injuries in a helicopter accident in Tikrit.
An interesting article last week on Rotorhub.com detailed the circumstances surrounding this Iraq War personal injury lawsuit against Boeing and the manufacturers of other helicopter parts that contributed to an April 2003 accident leaving Chief Warrant Officers Juan Beltran and Ron Carns with spinal injuries.
Beltran and Carns were conducting a maintenance flight of an Apache Longbow, the Army's primary attack helicopter, at the time of the accident. After Carns piloted the Apache Longbow 800 feet, a gear box in the helicopter failed, prompting it to loss tail rotor control and spin. The Apache Longbow then nosedived and crashed.
In addition to a serious head injury, Beltran suffered a spinal injury which left him quadriplegic. While Carns did not suffer a compromising spinal injury, his movement is now restricted by a metal device in his neck and back which were required after the accident.
Upon closer review, this Iraq War helicopter accident occurred due to excessive vibration which caused inadequate lubrication in the gearbox, and the failure of an accelerometer, a device which was supposed to warn Beltran and Carns of this gearbox problem but failed to do so. Since both men could not file an Iraq War personal injury lawsuit against the U.S. government for their spinal injuries because it has "government contractor immunity" from such legal action, their injury lawyers sued Boeing and other manufacturers.
Specifically, the men filed a lawsuit for their Iraq War helicopter personal injuries against the manufacturers of the helicopter (Boeing), accelerometer (Chadwick Helmuth, Torance CA), bearings (MPB Corp.), and gearbox (Aircraft Gear Corp.). All of these defendants claimed that they were not liable for the men's Iraq War helicopter personal injuries because they too had "government contractor immunity."
According to the story, the California personal injury attorneys of Beltran and Carns were able to dismiss this and all other arguments by the defendants, who all eventually agreed to the multi-million personal injury settlement prior to the case going to trial. Under the terms of this personal injury settlement as approved last week by the U.S. District Court in L.A., Beltran was awarded $11,247,500 and Carns got $2,302,500.
These men's personal injury attorneys said in the story that they believed the $13.55 million award to be the largest settlement known to date for Iraq War personal injuries. One of those personal injury attorneys, Kevin Boyle, described both men as being heroes who bravely and honorably served their countries, and expressed his own pride in being able to help them.
Case Involving Iraq War Personal Injuries Teaches an Important Lesson
This interesting case is a good example of the importance of having a personal injury in your corner during your case. Whether it's dealing with big-time manufacturers like Boeing in this example or insurance companies, an experienced personal injury attorney can fight for your rights in order to make sure that you at least have the possibility of receiving the damages that you are entitled to under the law.
If you've suffered a personal injury due to someone else's negligence, speak to a local personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Talking with a personal injury attorney in your area is a smart way to calmly evaluate your case, learn about your legal rights, and help you determine which personal injury case steps may be next.