​Airplane and Boating Accidents

Accidents with devastating consequences


SUGARMAN has long litigated cases involving airplane and boating accidents. Because of the nature of the equipment and speeds involved, these lawsuits usually involve catastrophic injuries and untimely deaths. These accidents are thankfully rare, but they do occur. And, of course, these cases are not limited to crashes and other disasters. Injuries to passengers can occur inside the plane or vessel, and during boarding.

These personal injury lawsuits all involve complicated legal and factual issues, from establishing the cause of such accidents, to proving negligence and causation, to legal issues of what law to apply and which courts have jurisdiction. Lawyers with actual experience litigating and trying airplane and boating accident cases are fairly rare - SUGARMAN's personal injury lawyers have that experience. We have represented clients in cases involving airplane equipment malfunction, small plane pilot error, mid-air collisions, negligent operation of boats on area lakes, injuries suffered by swimmers struck by boats, and injuries suffered by workers and fishermen at sea and in port under the Jones Act.

Airplane Accidents and Crashes

Proving which person or company is responsible for a plane crash or other aviation accident - whether from pilot error, mechanical failure, improper maintenance, runway defect, air traffic controller error, or other cause - requires a highly specialized set of skills and expert legal representation.

Real Cases

Defective airplane cargo loader

Settlement in product liability suit for a Logan Airport airline worker who sustained crush injuries to his pelvis and hip when the safety rails on a cargo loader failed to activate, allowing a 1,500 lb. pallet to fall on top of the worker.

Frutin v. Dryvit Systems, Inc., 760 F. Supp 234 (D. Mass. 1990)

The Court ruled that the United States can be held liable under the Federal Tort Claims Act for failure to issue a traffic advisory. The trial that followed resulted in a jury award to SUGARMAN's client for a below-the-knee amputation suffered by a student pilot in a mid-air collision.

Boating Accidents and Injuries

In Boston and throughout Massachusetts, commercial and recreational boating is a way of life. Not surprisingly, boating accidents are too. Lawsuits involving injuries suffered in boating accidents, often referred to as "admiralty" cases, involve various aspects of state and federal law depending on who the injured parties are and where and in what manner the boating accident occurs.

Real Cases

Seaman drowned at George's Bank during storm

Settlement reached for a seaman who was washed overboard by a large wave while fishing on George's Bank. The Captain's failure to properly monitor changing weather conditions provided enough for recovery under the Jones Act.

Morris v. Massachusetts Maritime Academy, 409 Mass. 179 (1991)

The defendant's motion to dismiss was properly denied after the defendants waived immunity under the Jones Act, and under general admiralty law for liability up pursuant to the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act.