Continental Airlines Accident Lawyers
Seeking Fair Compensation for Victims of Airline Negligence
On February 12, 2009, just minutes prior to landing, Continental Connection Flight 3407 – a regional flight operated by one of Continental Airlines’ partners – plunged from the sky and crashed into a home at Clarence Center, New York. All 49 people aboard and one person in the home perished in the accident. In the wake of this tragedy, our attorneys at Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman handled much of the wrongful death litigation arising out of the crash of Flight 3407.
This is just one example of the airline accident cases that we’ve handled over the years, many of which have involved negligence, design defects, or wrongdoing at Continental Airlines, now merged with United Airlines. At Baum Hedlund, we’ve won over $4 billion for injury victims, including over half a billion on behalf of airline accident victims. If you need to discuss a wrongful death or personal injury claim with an attorney, we encourage you to contact our team.
A Snapshot of Continental Airlines, Inc.
Continental Airlines, Inc. was headquartered in Houston, Texas, and had hubs in New York, Cleveland, Houston, and Guam. The airline began flying from El Paso, Texas to Pueblo, Colorado in July 1934 as Varney Speed Lines. In 1937, it changed its name to Continental Airlines and relocated its corporate headquarters to Houston, Texas in 1982 after merging with Texas International.
Continental Airlines was a member of the Star Alliance network and operated in North America, Central America, Asia, and Europe. It had U.S. alliances with Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air, Hawaiian Airlines, Island Air, American Eagle (on select West Coast flights), Amtrak (on select trains in the Northeast U.S.), Continental Express and Continental Connection. Its international alliances included Aerorepublica, Emirates, EVA Air, Kingfisher, the SNCF French Rail and Virgin Atlantic.
Regional flights were operated by Continental Connection and Continental Express, under code-share agreement with Continental Airlines. Continental Connection was operated by CommutAir, Colgan Air, Cape Air and Gulfstream International Airlines. Continental Express is operated by Chautauqua Airlines and ExpressJet Airlines.
Continental operated more than 2,800 daily flights and serves 135 domestic and 132 international destinations. It employed over 45,000 employees and has annual earnings of over $3.5 billion. In 2010, Continental Airlines was acquired by United Airlines. All previous Continental flights now operate under the United Airlines name.
Continental Airlines Accident and Incident History
The following is a summary of the major accidents and incidents of Continental Airlines, including those involving Continental Express and Continental Connection:
- Continental Connection Flight 3407/Colgan Air, Clarence Center, NY, February 12, 2009
- Continental Airlines Flight 1404, Denver, CO, December 20, 2008
- Continental Airlines Flight 475, Guadalajara, Mexico, September 16, 1998
- Continental Airlines Flight 75, inflight mishap, Los Angeles to Hawaii, May 21, 1998
- Continental Airlines Flight 1943, Houston, TX, February 19, 1996
- Continental Airlines Flight 588, Denver, CO, April 27, 1993
- Continental Express Flight 2574, Eagle Lake, TX, September 11, 1991
- Continental Express Flight 2286, Durango, CO, January 19, 1988
- Continental Airlines Flight 1713, Denver, CO, November 15, 1987
- Continental Airlines Flight 603, Los Angeles, CA, March 1, 1978
- Continental Airlines Flight 12, Kansas City, MO, July 1, 1965
- Continental Airlines Flight 290, Kansas City, MO, January 28, 1963
- Continental Airlines Flight 11, Unionville, MO, May 22, 1962
Continental Airlines Accidents and Incidents Handled by Baum Hedlund
Baum Hedlund has handled some of the largest Continental Airlines accidents, including:
- Continental Connection Flight 3407/Colgan Air, Clarence Center, NY, February 12, 2009 (1 passenger represented)
- Continental Airlines Flight 1404, Denver, CO, December 20, 2008 (7 passengers represented)
- Continental Airlines Flight 75, inflight mishap, Los Angeles to Hawaii, May 21, 1998 (6 passengers represented)
- Continental Airlines Flight 588, Denver, CO, April 27, 1993 (1 passenger represented)
Case Study: 6 Flight Attendants Represented in Major Continental Airlines Lawsuit
Continental Airlines Flight 75, a McDonnell Douglas DC-10 aircraft, was en route from Los Angeles to Honolulu on May 21, 1998 when it experienced an unexpected pitch-up. The aircraft was climbing in smooth air with the No. 1 autopilot engaged when it began a sudden and hard un-commanded pull up. The captain reported that he immediately grabbed the control yoke and disengaged the autopilot in order to level the aircraft. During the pull up, and subsequent corrections by the pilot, nine people were injured, four seriously. There were 285 passengers, 10 flight attendants, and 3 cockpit crew onboard. The aircraft was not damaged.
The seat belt sign was reported to be on at the time of the upset. During the event, the aircraft pulled up suddenly, causing all who were not buckled-up to be thrown to the floor. There were a few more reversals of force as the pilot attempted to gain control of the aircraft. These forces caused three flight attendants and one passenger, who was in the aft lavatory at the time, to be bounced up into the ceiling and then slammed back against the floor. A flight attendant said that what followed was a ‘roller coaster’ type of movement. The captain later reported that during the upset the aircraft had gained 1,200 feet in altitude and lost 30 knots of airspeed before he was able to disconnect the autopilot and regain control. After the aircraft had been steadied, a few doctors on board attended to the wounded as the crew turned the aircraft back towards Los Angeles where it was taken out of service for detailed examination.
Following an investigation of the incident and an examination of the aircraft, the National Transportation Safety Board found that a contaminated strain gage lead to the “excessive autopilot initiated elevator movement, and excessive elevator actuation during recovery by the captain.” Investigators also reviewed maintenance records for the year preceding the accident and found over 50 discrepancies for autopilot systems. One item stated “A/C [aircraft] has a long history of pitch oscillations, both autopilots.” Investigators then discovered that this particular aircraft was involved in a similar accident in 1986, which resulted in one injury.
According to the NTSB, post-accident testing of the first officer’s control wheel sensor unit showed an out of tolerance and drifting null signal for the strain gage which provides pitch signal input to the No. 1 autopilot. Analysis showed the material was a silver based conductive substance, lying below a factory applied sealing layer, which was introduced during manufacture. The solder on the lugs and the wire used between the lugs and terminals was found not to be consistent with the manufacturer’s specifications.
In addition, the NTSB found that the failure of the airplane maintenance department to diagnose and correct these historical problems with the autopilot systems led to the in-flight disturbance. Also at fault, said the investigators, was the manufacturer’s inadequate quality assurance program.
$14 Million Settlement A Major US Plane Crash
Wisner Baum obtained a $14 million settlement for the death of a passenger in a major US plane crash.
$12 Million Settlement Helicopter Crash
Wisner Baum secured a $12 million settlement for a passenger who was injured in a helicopter crash.
$10 Million Settlement A Major Foreign Plane Crash
Wisner Baum obtained a $10 million settlement for the death of a passenger in a major foreign plane crash.
$17.5 Million Settlement A Major US Plane Crash
Wisner Baum obtained a $17.5 million settlement on behalf of a client who was killed in a major U.S. plane crash.
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