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Manufacturer Agrees To Settlement In Sacramento County Helicopter Accident

The manufacturer of a helicopter part alleged to be defective has just agreed to a settlement in the helicopter crash that occurred seven years ago killing two Sacramento County sheriff's deputies. Turbomeca S.A. has agreed to pay the county $1.5 million for damages resulting from the crash. The negligence lawsuit alleges that the French company supplied defective parts that caused the helicopter to run into a hill near Lake Natoma.

The third party lawsuit was filed by the county against the manufacturer to recoup damages it paid to the families of Deputy Kevin Blount and Joseph Kievernagel and Deputy Eric Henrickson.

Allegedly in the early evening of July 13, 2005, mechanical problems caused the helicopter Kievernagel was piloting and transporting Blount and Henricskson to crash into the side of a mountain. According to the lawsuit, the company was aware 4½ years earlier of the mechanical problem that caused the crash but did nothing to warn those flying the craft.

Specifically, the product liability lawsuit alleged "two months before the crash, Turbomeca was "aware of more than 10 instances of failure of the (defective part) because of an inadvertent inside-out installation, causing ... total loss of power and requiring emergency landings" of at least six helicopters, and at least four incidents involving helicopters on the ground." Further, despite being aware of the manufacturing defects "the company chose not to alert and inform its customers and regulatory agencies because it did not want to pay for a recall of over 300 engines" the lawsuit alleged.

On July 20, 2004, the company issued a service bulletin recommending that a newly designed part be installed during the next engine overhaul.

The settlement is not an admission of fault or liability.

In many situations when an individual is hurt or killed on the job, the injured party or his/her family's recovery may be limited by California worker's compensation laws. However, certain instances exist where a civil lawsuit may be filed. Typical situations where "third party" lawsuits may be filed include situations like this - i.e. where a manufacturing defect is alleged to be the cause of an injury. In these cases, an employer and family member or injured party may bring a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of the defective product.

Other types of work place accidents that may lead to civil negligence lawsuits include:

• Traffic accidents

• Exposure to toxic substances

• Negligent actions by other third parties on site

Contact an experienced premises liability lawyer or personal injury lawyer to learn whether your case has the possibility of a third party claim.

For more information please contact the top Sacramento workplace accident lawyers at the Law Office of Frederick J. Sette for an immediate consultation.