Airport Operations Areas, encompass the runways, aprons, refueling and loading areas at an airport. They are special, busy workplaces, where injuries occur to innocent airport workers, airline employees and members of the traveling public.

Mayhem on the “Air Operations Area” – Landau to lecture on Accidents on the AOA at American Trial Lawyers National Convention

Airport Operations Areas, encompass the runways, aprons, refueling and loading areas at an airport. They are special, busy workplaces, where injuries occur to innocent airport workers, airline employees and members of the traveling public.
Airport Operations Areas (or “AOA”), encompass the runways, taxiing zones, aprons, refueling and loading areas at an airport. They are special, busy, loud, time-pressured environments, where injuries occur to innocent airport workers, government agents, airline employees and members of the traveling public.

When Doug Landau takes the podium on the national program to teach other top trial lawyers about the special rules and regulations at airport runways, he will start by defining what is meant by the “AOA.”  According to the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) the Air Operations Area (AOA) “consists of airport areas where aircraft can operate, either under their own power or while in tow. The AOA includes runways, taxiways, and apron areas.”

http://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Advisory_Circular/150_5220_24.pdf

Another FAA definition of the “Air Operations Area” is “where security measures are enforced as specified in the airport security program. This area includes aircraft movement areas, aircraft parking areas, loading ramps, and safety areas and any adjacent areas (such as general aviation areas).”

http://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Advisory_Circular/150_5300_18b_part2.pdf

To further elaborate, the term is defined in the Aviation Glossary explanation of the AOA as “Any area of an airport used or intended to be used for landing, takeoff, or surface maneuvering of aircraft. An air operations area includes such paved areas or unpaved areas that are used, or intended to be used, for the unobstructed movement of aircraft in addition to its associated runway, taxiways, or apron.”

http://aviationglossary.com/air-operations-area-aoa/

It is the area of the airport, after passengers pass through the entrance of the terminal, successfully navigate the TSA screening area and enter the “sterile area”, where their luggage from the underbellies of the jets is loaded and unloaded, planes are re-fueled, catering trucks mate to international aircraft, maintenance Cushman vehicles stop for repairs, mid-field people movers bring travelers to their gates, tugs tow planes to runways or baggage to “arrivals” conveyer belts, ground crews use hand signals with illuminated wands to cockpits and pre-flight inspections are carried out by airline crew members. “Understanding what area is within the special rules covering the AOA is critical to the investigation of a permanent injury case or collision between airport vehicles or jets,” notes Landau, of the Herndon law firm ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd. His Dulles International Airport (“IAD”) office routinely helps injured airport workers, airline employees, air travelers and the innocent victims of unsafe conduct on the runways of East Coast airports.

If you or someone you know or care for has been injured as the result of an airport terminal, airplane or other air travel related accident and there are questions about what laws apply, e-mail or call us at ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd. (703-796-9555) at once.

Plane on tarmac

Airport Lightning Strike – Does Airline have Duty to Protect?

Plane on tarmac
Deplaning directly on the tarmac, without the protection of a jetway, can expose passengers to dangerous conditions. Does an airline have a duty to protect when it comes to passenger safety in the airport operations area (AOA)?

In the summer of 2015, a healthy, vibrant 52 year old woman died of her injuries after being struck by lightning on an airport tarmac in Columbia, South Carolina.  The woman was getting off an American Airlines plane that had been diverted to Columbia because of bad weather.

Her family filed a lawsuit, alleging the airport and airline personnel did not take necessary measures to protect the passengers from a known risk of lightning.  The suit states the woman “came to her untimely death as a direct and proximate result of Defendants’ negligent, grossly negligent, willful, wanton, and reckless conduct or failure.”

Airport injury lawyer Doug Landau believes that, just as all common carriers have a duty to protect the traveling public, airline and airport personnel in this situation should have done more to ensure the safety of its passengers. Having tried cases in Columbia, SC, lawyer Landau has flown in and out of the small airport that services that Southern city. If there is a high probability of dangerous lightning strikes, then the airlines and tower have a duty to prevent foreseeable harms.

According to the National Severe Storms Laboratory website,

“over the contiguous 48 states, an average of 20,000,000 cloud-to-ground flashes have been detected every year since the lightning detection network covered all of the continental US in 1989. In addition, about half of all flashes have more than one ground strike point, so at least 30 million points on the ground are struck on the average each year in the US.”

30 million ground strikes each year!!

Clearly, lightning poses a real and quantifiable danger.  Scientific advancement in weather prediction capabilities make it possible to anticipate storms and the presence of lightning.  In fact it would be nearly impossible with today’s technology NOT to predict the possibility of lightning!

“As pointed out in the lawsuit, every coach, troop leader, and sporting event manager knows not to expose people to lightning,” notes Lawyer Landau.  “The woman in this case had every reason to believe she would be safe when deplaning.”

If you or someone you know has been injured at an airport and there are questions as to what laws apply, email or call Abrams Landau, Ltd. at once (703-796-9555).

 

Just as when air travel was in its infancy, drone usage is so new that the laws and regulations have not yet caught up to actual usage.  The Commonwealth of Virginia is uniquely positioned to aide in the research into safety.

Virginia Poised to be a Leader in Drone Technology and Unmanned Craft Testing

historic airplane
When airplanes looked like this, air travel was in its infancy and few regulations existed. The laws and rules governing today’s airline industry were developed over time, as air travel became more pervasive and safety became of greater concern. Similarly, drone law must evolve as the popularity of these unmanned systems is on the rise.

Drones are unmanned remote-controlled aircraft.

The Commonwealth of Virginia is uniquely positioned to test, manufacture, and create policy to augment the safety of these unmanned systems.

In an interview with second term U.S. Senator Mark Warner for the April edition of Virginia Business,  this outstanding politician said, “Not as a politician, but as a business guy, I predict what will be the next most disruptive technology will be unmanned systems. There were 1 million drones sold at Christmas last year America. None of them were built in America. Yet, Virginia is one of the six sites that can do [Federal Aviation Administration] testing. We actually have more capacity to test center-driven or driverless cars in Virginia than any other state. With activities at Virginia Tech, some activities at Southside, and with some capacity we have in the [Express] lanes in Northern Virginia, we have an opportunity to be involved in the design and manufacture of unmanned systems. It’s going to be a huge area, with the military, with activities at Tech and other institutions, we really have a chance to be a leader.”

The military has already been arming drones to kill enemy combatants just as the Israeli Defense Force has been using them for years to take out known terrorists. The technology exists for many civilian applications.

“However, the law sometimes trails newer technologies, and rules to ensure safe use and responsible manufacture are critical to protecting citizens’ privacy and safety,” notes Herndon airport injury lawyer Doug Landau.

He adds, “The government cannot simply give drone owners carte blanche; there must be some regulatory oversight, or else these devices will start taking jets, planes, and helicopters out of the sky, causing property damage and permanent injury to innocent victims in the air and on the ground. If Virginia is going to be leader in testing, design, and manufacture of the unmanned flying devices, then the Commonwealth will need to have laws in place to protect the public from unnecessary harm.”

If you or someone you care for has been injured by a drone, aircraft, or other aviation related accident, and there are questions as to what laws apply, email or call Abrams Landau, Ltd. at once (703-796-9555).

airplane

Post-9/11 Pentagon Fatality Results in Awards for Daughters by Two Different Mothers

airplane
Air travel was forever changed on 9/11/2001. Airport injury lawyer Doug Landau represented the families of an airline pilot, senior flight attendant, and passengers killed on that infamous day. In a tragic twist, he also helped the families of a worker killed in a post-911 accident.

In one of the more tragic cases of Herndon injury lawyer Doug Landau’s career, he was called upon to represent a worker who died in the aftermath of the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon outside of Washington DC.

The Abrams Landau team represented the family of the pilot of the jet that crashed into the Pentagon, as well as the senior flight attendant’s family, and those of passengers traveling.

The devastation did not stop on that infamous day.

A crack team of welders was brought in from Colorado to repair the damage to our nation’s military headquarters. One of these workers was fatally crushed by a steel beam girder that fell out of its placement sling.  He died instantly in a horrific manner.

Lawyer Landau was contacted, and undertook to represent the deceased worker’s middle school age daughter, living in Colorado with the employee’s ex-wife.

However, the decedent had divorced his first wife and mother of his daughter, and remarried.  And in a tragic twist, his new wife was pregnant, but did not give birth until sometime after the post 9/11 workplace accident.

So what happens next?

As the ex-wife and current wife could not agree for the case to be settled, Doug Landau was able to fashion an Award from the Virginia Worker’s Compensation Commission that provided payments to BOTH daughters equally, until such time as either:

  • the older daughter turned 18 or passed away, OR
  • the younger daughter predeceased her sister, in which case the other would receive the full amount of the death benefit.

In Virginia, fatal job accident cases can be paid up to 500 weeks. However, Landau knew that this statute can be extended if the child is in a full-time qualifying educational institution.

The child in Colorado was in school, and received benefits beyond her 18th birthday.

Landau also has won cases for children who are themselves above the age of majority, but who are disabled, such that they can get almost 10 years of weekly compensation payments.

If you or someone you know may be eligible for Worker’s Compensation benefits, and has questions about how best to proceed, please contact us at once as there are strict legal time limits that can forever bar a child, spouse, and other family members from receiving a dime.  Call us at 703-796-9555, or send an email.

If you are injured at an airport you must hire experienced legal counsel right away who knows how to build an “open and shut” case.

10 Hallmarks of an “Open and Shut” Airport Injury Case

If you are injured at an airport you must hire experienced legal counsel who knows how to build an “open and shut” case on your behalf.

The trial team at Abrams Landau, Ltd. was contacted by an out-of-state lawyer earlier this month for assistance in a case in which a traveler was struck by a rental car company employee on the airport premises.

Herndon injury lawyer Doug Landau explained to his colleague that an open and shut airport accident case has the following hallmarks:

  1. Pictures of the scene
  2. Videotape of the incident
  3. Witnesses that support the injured victim’s version of what happened
  4. Airport police or county sheriff’s investigation of the incident
  5. Prompt liability investigation to determine who is at fault
  6. Two or more written statements supporting the injured victim’s claims
  7. Physical evidence, such as torn clothing, damaged luggage, etc.
  8. Objective signs of injury which can be clearly perceived by medical professionals, as well as lay witnesses
  9. Prompt, appropriate medical treatment
  10. Records supporting good pre-injury health, and no significant, related pre-existing conditions or subsequent intervening or superseding accidents, illnesses etc.

Unfortunately, the trial team at Abrams Landau, Ltd. was unable to get involved with this particular case because:

  • They were contacted too late;
  • Almost no liability investigation had taken place; and
  • There were no objective signs of injury, despite the subsequent two years of medical treatment.

While lawyer Doug Landau’s first instinct is always to help, and his experience in handling and helping those injured in and around airports is well-known, it was simply too late to help.

If you or someone you know has been injured while on an airport premises and there are questions as to what laws apply, email or call Abrams Landau, Ltd. at once (703-796-9555).

Before passengers and crew can disembark an aircraft, the door must be opened by trained members of the flight crew. A jet's doors are extremely heavy, requiring a lot of energy to maneuver

Winning for an Injured Flight Attendant

Airplane door
Before passengers and crew can disembark an aircraft, the door must be opened by trained members of the flight crew. A jet’s doors are extremely heavy, requiring a lot of energy to maneuver

A young flight attendant was injured when lifting an aircraft door. She suffered a severed longhead biceps tendon and had surgery using orthopedic hardware for this SLAP tear.  However, some of the orthopedic hardware became loose, necessitating another operation on her right shoulder.

The airline’s workers’ comp insurance company denied the treatment, and her weekly wage loss indemnity benefits were cut off.

She came to Abrams Landau, Ltd. upon the kind referral of a fellow Florida injury lawyer. While the case was late in coming to this Herndon Virginia Law firm, we were nevertheless able to prepare for Court and put together a strong case for our client.

ABRAMS LANDAU was able to win her first Hearing and get the loose anchor in her shoulder reattached. The Airlines then sent undercover investigators to follow her around the Florida town where she lived.  They filmed her playing with her infant son and taking a hot tub at her home.

The insurance company terminated benefits.  However this hard-working woman had found that she could perform as a bank teller after the insurance representative told her that they had “closed their file” on her case. She eventually exceeded her pre-injury wage rate at the Bank of America in Pensacola !

When this young mother reached “maximum medical improvement,” airline injury lawyer Doug Landau had her get a permanency rating so that she could get a Permanent Partial Disability Award.

As she had not had any injuries to her right shoulder — either before or after her 2012 work accident — the insurance company did not mount any significant challenge to the Application for additional benefits that Dianna Meredith filed with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission on behalf of this ABRAMS LANDAU client.

Lawyer Landau was able to negotiate a lump sum settlement so that the insurance company will not harass her or her family and she will be free to choose what doctors she wants to see, and not have to report her whereabouts, employment, etc., to the state workers’ compensation board.

If you or someone you know has been injured while working at airport, on an aircraft, or on the air operations area, and there are questions as to what laws apply, email or call Abrams Landau, Ltd. at once (703-796-9555).

airport ground crew and airline workers on the air operations area ("AOA") are at risk for permanent injury and disability at the busy U.S. international airports

Airport Ground Crew Injuries on the AOA

airport ground crew and airline workers on the air operations area ("AOA") are at risk for permanent injury and disability at the busy U.S. international airports
Airport grounds crew and airline workers on the air operations area (“AOA”) are at risk for permanent injury and disability at the busy U.S. international airports.

Airline personnel are at risk for injury due to accidents on the Air Operations Area (“AOA”) at busy international airports.

Nighttime flights, runway noise, and slippery winter conditions increase the risk of on-the-job accidents.  Because ground personnel are wearing hearing protection, they may not be aware of a luggage tug, fuel truck, or other small vehicle coming up behind them.

There are many distractions on the air operations area, and tight aircraft turnaround schedules.  Airline ground crew may be busy servicing several shifts at the same time, and in the rush to keep “on time” schedule, accidents can happen.

It is important for ground crew to seek prompt medical attention, and let their own family doctor know about any injuries, so they can get the best possible outcome.

It is good policy to coordinate all healthcare providers.

The family doctor knows the airline or airport worker’s health history better than the specialist for a runway accident.

Airline personnel may also have to undergo testing by an FAA physician before being allowed back on the air operations area for flight personnel, especially after a significant injury with time lost from work and strong narcotic medication prescriptions.

If you or someone you know has been injured while working on the Air Operations Area at an airport, and there are questions as to what laws apply, email or call Abrams Landau, Ltd. at once. 703-796-9555.

Drone Strikes Jet in the UNfriendly Skies Around the International Airport

After giving a presentation to the American Association of Justice on "Drone Law," Airline injury lawyer Doug Landau was able to change into his casual wear & explore Boca Raton, Florida with American, British & Canadian trial lawyers
After giving his multi-media presentation to the American Association of Justice on “Drone Law,” Airline injury lawyer Doug Landau was able to change into his casual wear & explore Boca Raton, Florida with American, British & Canadian trial lawyers

Just weeks after Doug Landau warned of the dangers of “Rogue Drones” and gave a presentation on “Drone Law” at the convention of American Trial Lawyers, a suspected drone struck a British Airways airliner. The international jet was beginning its landing at Heathrow Airport when it was hit.

The aircraft’s pilot reported to police that the front of the jet was hit on their return from Geneva, Switzerland on Sunday. The craft landed safely at the Heathrow Terminal with 132 passengers and five crew members aboard. Engineers examined the Airbus A320 and cleared it for its next flight. Nevertheless, this is precisely the dangerous conduct that lawyer Landau warned about in his multi-media presentation to the American Association for Justice, which has many members from England and other Commonwealth countries.

Landau’s presentation, “Who is Liable for Making the Skies Unfriendly ?” examined the explosion in popularity in recreational and commercial drone usage.  Lawyer Landau’s presentation pointed out the fact that the government was playing “catch up” to respond with laws and workable safety protocols after a number of “near misses” at American airports.

According to the British press, no arrests have been made, but the investigation continues. “Thankfully the aircraft landed safely but the incident highlights the very real dangers of reckless, negligent and some times malicious use of drones,” Chief Superintendent Martin Hendy, head of Metropolitan Police Service’s Aviation Policing Command, said in a statement. “We continue to work with the Civil Aviation Authority and other partners to tackle this issue and ensure that enthusiasts who fly drones understand the dangers and the law.” Landau notes that if the technology exists to track cell phones and trucks, why can’t drones be tracked so as to avoid crashes with large commercial or military jets ? 

The Civil Aviation Authority (the equivalent of the US Federal Aviation Administration) stated, “It is totally unacceptable to fly drones close to airports and anyone flouting the rules can face severe penalties including imprisonment.” Rules for drone pilots in the UK include making sure that these unmanned flying devices are always within the operator’s line of sight, not flying above 400 feet (122 meters), and staying away from airports and aircraft. British Airways stated, “Safety and security are always out first priority and we will give the police every assistance with their investigation.”

Everyone at ABRAMS LANDAU hopes that whomever was operating this drone is apprehended and that this incredibly dangerous behavior is dealt with by the courts in an appropriate manner.

AOA 2

Lots of Luggage Injuries are Losers

Airport Operations Area
Airport lifting injuries do not always result in a compensable claim, even when there is a permanent injury to an airline employee’s spine, shoulder, hip, or legs. The accident must satisfy the requirement of a “sudden accidental injury” for benefits to be paid.

If you work as an airport luggage loader or terminal porter, a back injury could make you eligible for workers compensation.

For example, under the Virginia workers compensation law, a sudden accidental injury can form the basis of a comp claim.  A workers comp claim can cover work-related medical treatment, partial wage loss, and permanency benefits.

However, if you have injured your spine, shoulder, hip, or legs from lifting a number of pieces of luggage, then the airport or airline’s insurance company may deny the claim as being from “cumulative trauma,” and not an accidental injury.

These kinds of lifting injury cases are very fact specific.

That’s why it is critical you hire an experienced workers compensation law firm as soon as possible.

If you or someone you know works for an airport or airline and has been injured while lifting heavy luggage, and there are questions as to what laws apply, email or call Abrams Landau, Ltd. at once (703-796-9555).

 

accidents caused by airport cleaning crews when there are no signs, barriers or cones warning travelers wet and slippery floors, can be one even where the accident itself is not captured on film.

“Almost” May be Good Enough to Win Airport Maintenance Case

accidents caused by airport cleaning crews when there are no signs, barriers or cones warning travelers wet and slippery floors, can be one even where the accident itself is not captured on film.
Accidents caused by airport cleaning crews when there are no signs, barriers, or cones warning travelers of wet and slippery floors, can be won even when the accident itself is not captured on film.

Although it is always preferable to have direct evidence to prove fault in an airport injury case, sometimes “almost ” having direct evidence is good enough.

Doug Landau has had several cases where the accident, or unsafe behavior, was captured on video surveillance in and around an international airport.

However, a recent case in which a client slipped and fell on wet floor near the arrivals exit was nevertheless successful despite not having video images of the accident itself.

The team at Abrams Landau, Ltd. was able to prevail because video images of the area adjacent to the accident showed the airport maintenance team using water and chemical solutions to clean the floor, but not putting up warning signs or barricades to prevent travelers from slipping, falling, and injuring themselves.

Furthermore, Landau had a witness in the form of his client’s daughter, who could testify as to her mother’s fall. This eyewitness could also give evidence as to the airport cleaning crew working nearby without any cones, warning signs, or barriers.

If you or someone you know has been injured due to unsafe conditions in an airport or other public place, and there are questions as to what laws apply, email or call Abrams Landau, Ltd. at once (703-796-9555).