Aviation Law encompasses almost all legal issues affecting aircraft and airport operations, including the purchase/sale of an aircraft, maintenance dispute, property damage claim, The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) compliance or defense, an accident, or issues regarding drones. Attorney Ashby Underhill is a Board-Certified Aviation Attorney and leads our firm’s aviation practice.
Though aviation is known for being one of the safest modes of transportation, accidents do occur and when they do, they often result in death or serious injury. Aviation incidents can result in millions of dollars’ worth of property damage as well. When dealing with the complex, fact intensive nature of aviation accident litigation, time is of the essence. Air traffic control communication and some flight radar is only stored for a limited amount of time. It is imperative to act quickly, and effectively to make informed decisions and get a full assessment of liability exposure and potential defenses.
Investigations from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and FAA will likely occur, and you need to be prepared with a practiced attorney on your side. At Coquina Law Group, we are ready to respond promptly and effectively.
Aviation claims can provide unique issues not seen in many insurance claims. Aviation law has its own case law, specific to the amount of loss surrounding an aircraft. Making repairs after a loss is not only making the aircraft look like it did before, but insuring it is airworthy. Additionally, an aircraft may be susceptible to great diminished value after major repairs are made.
The FAA governs aviation in the Unites States, If FAA legal staff determines a violation has occurred, legal enforcement action will likely be taken. The agency has several reasons for opening an Enforcement Investigation Report (EIR). Some of which include, complaints from an employee, customer, or former employees, and routine surveillance of your operation. When speaking with an FAA investigator, it’s important to have legal representation as they might use that information for potential enforcement actions against you.
Typically, you will be notified with a letter of investigation from the FAA. This letter will indicate violations that the agency believes you have committed and requests a response within 10 days. It is crucial that you consult with an attorney prior to responding to this letter. The circumstances surrounding the alleged violation will dictate how you should respond.
Every aircraft transaction is unique, at Coquina Law, we understand this and work diligently throughout the entire process. From negotiation to closing, we want to provide you with the resources you need to make informed decisions about your purchase. Be prepared, additional expenses may arise from escalation clauses or being responsible for discrepancies discovered during the pre-purchase inspection. It is no surprise that aircrafts are expensive, that is why having attentive, knowledgeable counsel is invaluable. Our attorneys work with you every step of the way from setting up an entity to owning the aircraft, negotiating the contract, tax considerations, and through closing.
Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), commonly referred to as drones are primarily regulated by the FAA, though some aspects of drone operation may be regulated by state and local governments. As this new technology evolves, so do the laws that govern it. Whether a hobbyists or professional, legal counsel is essential to make sure you are in compliance with current regulations. The operation and registration requirements are determined by the size and use of your drone.
Failure to comply with regulations and local law may result in:
- Enforcement action
- FAA civil penalties
- Invasion of privacy lawsuits
- Liability claims