Indiana basketball fans might be interested to learn that two more wrongful death lawsuits have been filed over the helicopter crash that claimed the lives of retired NBA star Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and seven others January 26. Bryant’s widow, Vanessa Bryant, filed a similar claim in February.
According to the new lawsuits, Island Express Holding Corp. and Island Express Helicopters Inc., the companies that owned and operated the Sikorsky S-76 helicopter that crashed into a California hillside Jan. 26, were negligent for allowing the aircraft to fly in foggy conditions. Unlike Bryant’s lawsuit, the claims do not name the helicopter’s pilot as a co-defendant, who also died in the crash.
The two suits, which were filed in Los Angeles Superior Court April 19, were brought by the surviving family members of Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri Altobelli, and their teenage daughter and basketball coach Christina Mauser, who all perished in the accident. In February, investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board concluded that mechanical failure did not cause the helicopter to go down. Further, a New York Times report found that Island Express pilots were not certified to fly in the fog.
When someone is killed in an accident caused by another party, the victim’s next of kin may have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit seeking compensation for their losses. If the suit is successful, the victim’s family may be awarded a settlement that covers funeral and burial costs, loss of income, loss of companionship, emotional distress, and other damages. Families could have their case assessed and learn more about their legal rights by contacting a personal injury attorney for help.