Arizona basketball fans might be interested to learn that two more wrongful death lawsuits have been filed over the January helicopter crash that killed retired Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter and seven other people. The complaints were filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on April 19.
In February, Bryant’s widow, Vanessa Bryant, filed a suit against Island Express Holding Corp. and Island Express Helicopters Inc., the companies that owned and operated the Sikorsky S-76 helicopter that smashed into a hillside during foggy weather on Jan. 26. She also named the helicopter’s pilot in the complaint, claiming he should have canceled the flight due to the poor visibility conditions.
Now, the families of four other passengers on the helicopter have also filed wrongful death lawsuits over the accident. The suits accuse Island Express Holding and Island Express Helicopters of causing the crash through their careless and negligent actions. However, unlike Bryant’s complaint, they don’t name the helicopter’s pilot as a co-defendant. A February report by the National Transportation Safety Board concluded that engine failure did not cause the helicopter to crash. A recent New York Times investigation also determined that Island Express pilots did not have the advanced certification required to fly in foggy conditions.
Families who lose loved ones in accidents caused by other parties might benefit from contacting an attorney as soon as possible. Depending on the details of the case, legal counsel may suggest filing a wrongful death claim against the responsible individual or entity. This might lead to a settlement that compensates the family for funeral and burial costs, loss of income, loss of companionship, emotional distress and other losses.