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Vanessa Bryant Files Wrongful Death Claim Against Helicopter Operator

Did the helicopter operator negligently cause the deaths of Kobe and Gianna Bryant?

The nation mourned at the sudden loss of basketball legend Kobe Bryant, killed alongside his daughter in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. Now, Kobe’s wife Vanessa Bryant has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the operator of the helicopter that crashed and killed her husband and daughter last month.  The complaint, filed in a Los Angeles courthouse, asserts that helicopter pilot Ara Zobayan failed to use the requisite level of care when piloting the helicopter. Our Los Angeles wrongful death lawyers discuss the wrongful death lawsuit filed by Vanessa Bryant and damages the Bryant’s may seek from the helicopter operator.

The Wrongful Death Complaint 

The complaint alleges that the helicopter company allowed the helicopter to fly knowingly into unsafe weather conditions.  In a 27 count complaint, Vanessa Bryant claims that Kobe and Gianna died as a result of the negligent behavior of the helicopter operator, for which the company Island Express is vicariously liable.  Both Island Express and the deceased pilot’s estate are named as defendants to the action.  

The facts of the accident, as known so far, indicate that dense fog likely caused the crash.  Reports thus far do not point towards an engine or mechanical failure. The wrongful death lawsuit accuses the pilot of failing to monitor and assess the weather, as well as failing to keep a safe distance between the helicopter and natural obstacles.  Investigations have revealed that the Federal Aviation Administration cited the pilot in 2015 for violating visual flight minimums, which means he operated in weather conditions with unacceptable visibility.

Attorneys representing Island Express have defended the pilot by touting his over 8,000 hours of flying experience.  The attorney has characterized the crash as a tragic accident. This high profile case will no doubt continue to unfold as additional evidence is uncovered.  No doubt the world will follow the outcome of this important case closely.

Wrongful Death Damages

In the state of California, damages in a wrongful death case are intended to compensate the heirs of the deceased individual for the value of the support they would have received had the deceased lived a normal life expectancy.  Types of damages include economic and non-economic. Economic damages include the loss of financial support, gifts, and funeral and burial expenses, whereas non-economic damages include loss of the decedent’s companionship, protection, moral support, and more.  The loved ones of those killed due to suspected negligence should consult with a wrongful death attorney for more information on their unique potential case.

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