Hawaii Aviation Accident Attorney
Pacific Airplane Crash Lawyer

William H. Lawson, Attorney at Law

1188 Bishop St.
Suite 2902
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
Phone: (808) 524-5300 New Client Hotline
Phone: (808) 528-2525 Main Business Line

Aloha Airplane accident in Hawaii

Aviation law consists of a complicated group of laws, treaties and court decisions. Accident claims can have very different results depending upon the individuals involved, the type of flight, the location of the accident site and other factors.

The individuals involved
U.S. airline personnel generally have remedies for work related injuries under the worker's compensation laws of one (or more) of the several states. Generally, these laws provide for compensation without regard to fault, but they also limit the amount of compensation available.

Military aircraft have special rules which apply. In cases involving military personnel, these may limit the amount of compensation recoverable.

The type of flight

Aircraft used in "ultra-hazardous" activities (which may include activities such as transporting explosive devices, test flights, etc) may still be subject to a strict liability rule for all accidents which occur. This means that recovery is possible for damages and loss caused by an aviation accident, without regard to fault.

However, the general rule is that aviation is no longer considered an "ultra-hazardous activity" in and of itself. Hence, it is generally required that there be some proof of negligence, product defect or other responsibility on the part of the designer, manufacturer, owner or operator of the aircraft must be made before any recovery can occur.

There are many laws and treaties affecting the right of recovery for accidents depending upon the type of flight involved (domestic v. international, commercial v. private, etc.) In some cases it is even necessary to demonstrate a greater degree of wrongful conduct in order to recover for the damages and loss suffered in an aviation accident (international flights vs. domestic flights, for example).

Hawaii Aloha Air aviation accident

The location of the accident

The Death on the High Seas Act may limit the amount of compensation recoverable for an aviation death over international waters. Although certain categories of loss are almost fully compensable (such as medical coverage), others are almost completely ignored.

Various Aviation Accidents involving Hawaii
  • Aloha Airlines Flight 243, involving a Boeing 737-200 near Maui, Hawaii, USA on April 28, 1988 (see picture)
  • Honolulu Star Bulletin article on the crash of a twin-engine Piper Seneca carrying five Maui County community and Democratic Party leaders into the east Molokai mountain on November 1, 1996
  • National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Public Hearings on Korean Air Flight 801, involving a Boeing 747-300 near Agana, Guam, USA on August 6, 1997 (hearings held on March 24-26, 1998)
  • National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Public Hearings on a ferry flight involving a Dehavilland DHC-6-300 near Hilo, Hawaii, USA on April 12, 1997
  • Continental Airlines Flight 75 inflight autopilot malfunction, Los Angeles to Hawaii, 1998

  • Bell 206B helicopter crash, Maui, Hawaii, 1996

  • Hawaii Helicopters crash, Maui, Hawaii, 1992

  • United Airlines Flight 852 inflight turbulence, Japan to San Francisco, 1992

  • Grumman HU-16 crash, Hawaii, 1991

Some of the issues which have been addressed by attorney William H. Lawson in his practice include: aviation, airplanes, attorneys, lawyers, legal developments, Hawaii, Hawai'i, Honolulu, Oahu, Maui, Big Island, Kauai, airplane accidents, aviation accidents, aircraft, aircraft accidents, air traffic control, helicopters, airplane components such as the fuselage, wing, tail, engine, explosion, fuel, fly, flew, flying, wrongful death, killed, injury, wrongful death, died, personal injury, injured, injuries, victim, flight, ground, mid-air, crash, crashed, claim, claims, steward, stewardess, pilot, passenger, crew, member, represent, legal assistance, assist, help, handle, case, action, Pacific, Pacific Ocean, waters, insurance company, insurance, companies, suffer, loss, collision, collide, crashed, right of way, train, equip, supervise, deck, monitor, jet, fire, flip, drop, dropped, hit, hitting, spotter, helicopter, captain, crew, passenger, member, recovery, law, legal assistance, suffering, wrongful, negligent, counsel, advocate, advice, refusal to pay, benefits, pain, suffered, damages, personal, injuries, responsible, hurt, insured, insurer, refused, failed, deny, denied, settled, settlement, pay, benefits, evaluate, provision, clause, application, company, companies, policy, coverage, Kailua, Kona, Hilo, Lanai, Molokai, Hawaiian, international, jurisdiction, personal injury attorney, Hawaii accident attorney, litigation, trial, arbitration, mediation, dangerous aircraft, defective parts, construction defects, contingency fees, free consultations, contingency fee, no charge, tourists, visitors, Japan nationals, mainland individuals, consumers, government activities and military issues.


In short, if you or someone you love was killed or severely injured in an aviation accident, there are many variables affecting the ability to recover for the injuries and loss incurred. You will want to consult immediately with an attorney who is fully apprised of the current status of aviation law in order to protect your rights.

  • Our office charges on a CONTINGENCY FEE basis in accident cases which we accept. There is NO CHARGE for an initial consultation to evaluate your case. Call us at (808) 524-5300 or (808) 528-2525, or email us, for a Free Initial Consultation.

  • If you believe that you may have a claim of this type, please take a few moments to visit with a paralegal to outline the nature of your claim. Thank you!

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Hawaii Personal Injury and Accident Law News and Cases

On June 29, 2015, the Hawaii Supreme Court rendered its decision in the case of St. Paul Fire and Marine Ins. Co. v. Liberty Mutual Insurance, Hi. Sup. Ct. Case No SCCQ-14-0000727 (June 29, 2015). This case arose out of a wrongful death personal injury case handled by this office which resulted in a $4.1 million verdict in favor of our clients - even though Liberty Mutual, the primary liability insurer, never offered anything even close to its policy limits of $1 million. St. Paul - who had to pay our clients everything recovered in excess of the initial $1 million - claimed that Liberty Mutual committed bad faith towards it by failing to settle within its $1 million policy limits. The Hawaii Supreme Court agreed and found that an excess insurer has claims for bad faith against a primary insurer.

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