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YOUNTVILLE: Three People Injured In Hot Air Balloon Accident After Hitting Power Line; Balloons Above the Valley Involved

Apr 1, 2019

Balloons Above the Valley Hot Air Balloon Accident: Three People Injured In Yountville Hot Air Balloon Accident After It Hit Power Lines; Balloons Above the Valley Believed To Have Been Involved

YOUNTVILLE, CALIFORNIA (April 1, 2019) – Three people were injured when their hot air balloon clipped a power line in a vineyard not far from Ragatz Lane. 

California Highway Patrol are saying that the hot air balloon accident took place around 8:00 a.m. as the balloon was attempting to land. Three of the people inside the hot air balloon were electrocuted and sustained burns. 

One of the victims was flown to the UC Davis Medical Center with serious injuries. Two other people were taken to the Queen of the Valley Medical Center with moderate injuries. 

The Napa County Sheriff’s Office and the FAA are continuing their investigation into the cause of the accident. Napa Valley Aloft Balloon Rides operates hot air balloons in Yountville, but it remains unclear if they were involved. 

According to new reports, Balloons Above the Valley is believed to have operated the hot air balloon that hit the power line. 

PG&E was called to the area to repair a broken power pole and a downed line. 

Liability In Hot Air Balloon Accidents

Hot air balloon accidents raise a number a complex and difficult legal issues. For example, hot air balloons aren’t technically considered “aircraft.” They can’t be controlled the way that a plane or helicopter can be controlled. At most a hot air balloon operator can increase or decrease the altitude of the craft. The only thing predictable about a hot air balloon is that its flight-path will be unpredictable. However, there may be numerous sources of potential liability for hot air balloon accidents:

  • Hot Air Balloon Companies: A company that owns and operates hot air balloons may face liability in a catastrophic accident if they choose to conduct the ride in inclement weather. Hot air balloon operators are supposed to be looking out for power lines. 
  • Hot Air Balloon Component Part Manufacturers: Hot air balloons are made up of numerous parts which can fail. Companies that create faulty parts could potentially be subject to product liability claims. 
  • Electric Companies: In theory, electrical companies could be held liable for hot air balloon accidents for failing to insulate their electrical lines. However, courts have generally tended to reject this reasoning. In Coleman v. Windy City Balloon Port, the court concluded that requiring electric companies to insulate all electric wires and warn balloonists of the dangers of electric lines would impose an undue burden on the entire electric grid. 

In addition, a number of hot air balloon companies have passengers sign liability waivers before a flight. It’s best to have a personal injury attorney investigate your case and let you know what your options are. It doesn’t cost anything to hire an attorney and they can begin taking steps to make sure your rights are being protected. Victims may be entitled to benefits including lost wages, medical bills and pain and suffering.

Getting Help After A Hot Air Balloon Accident 

We at West Coast Trial Lawyers extend our thoughts and prayers to all of the victims of this hot air balloon accident in Yountville. There needs to be a thorough investigation into what went wrong. Power lines are a known hazard and hot air balloon companies should be doing everything in their power to avoid them. Any person that may have witnessed the accident should come forward as authorities continue to determine what went wrong.  

If you or someone that you care about has been injured in a hot air balloon accident you may have legal recourse. Our team of personal injury attorneys are here to answer any questions that you may have. We can investigate all of the facts of your case free of cost and get to the bottom of what happened. Whether you need medical or financial support following an accident or just have questions about  your rights we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at (888) 888-9285.

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