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Aviation Litigation


Corboy & Demetrio's aviation litigation attorneys have helped victims and their families in nearly every major U.S. and several foreign aviation and airplane crash disasters since 1979 and our work has resulted in top and record-setting aviation settlements. Our highly successful and skilled aviation team of lawyers has experience in all areas of aviation and plane crash cases - pilot negligence, airline liability, manufacturers negligence, suppliers liability, government liability, jurisdictional issues, and liability apportionment. 

Partner Thomas Demetrio, who secured the record-setting compensatory settlement of $25.2 million for the death of an airplane passenger, has been hailed by the prestigious legal news center and directory, Lawdragon as the "powerhouse" of aviation law and said, "when tragedy strikes, the families of plane crash victims have no greater ally."

Our firm represents the family of Somalia Prime Minister Staff Member Abdishakur Mohamed Shahaad, a citizen of Somalia who was killed in the crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302.  The wrongful death lawsuit accuses Boeing of failing to properly warn pilots, airlines and the public of the risk of malfunctioning AOA sensors and automated MCAS dives following the crash of Lion Air #610.

Our firm represents the family of Lion Air passenger Sudibyo Onggo Wardoyo, 40, of Jakarta, Indonesia, who was killed in the crash of Lion Air Flight 610 in 2018.   The wrongful death lawsuit, which was filed against Boeing, alleges the plane manufacturer failed to provide adequate instructions to pilots on how to respond to and disengage the plane’s anti-stall system.

Our firm also represents 15 passengers in lawsuits against Aeroméxico in the crash of Flight #2431 in Durango, Mexico in 2018.

In addition, Corboy & Demetrio Co-founder Thomas Demetrio represented United Airline passenger Dr. David Dao, obtaining a confidential settlement in just 18 days after the incident.  Tom’s news conference with the Dao family was broadcast and streamed live globally and was covered by every major news outlet, including CNN, MSNBC, FOX NEWS Channel, the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune as well as several hundred other outlets.

We promptly and thoroughly investigate all aspects of aviation cases to determine fault and assess liability. Our attorneys work with injured individuals and their families to help them secure fair and full compensation for their loss and injuries.

Our experience in personal injury and wrongful death cases has resulted in top verdicts and settlements in many areas. Our clients have been well served - we have secured more than $4 billion in verdicts and settlements and have attained nearly 600 verdicts and settlements in excess of $1 million.

Aviation Record of Success

Thomas Demetrio acquired the  largest compensatory damages settlement - $25.2 million - for the death of a passenger in the USAir jet crash outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It was the top settlement for the death of a person in a commercial aviation wrongful death action at the time. The previous top record, a $25 million settlement in a case stemming from the crash of a United Airlines jet in Sioux City, Iowa, was also acquired by Corboy & Demetrio several years before the USAir record. 

Leaders in Aviation Litigation

In many major aviation cases, our attorneys have been appointed lead counsel by the court.

We served as plaintiffs’ lead counsel in a consolidated case involving the crash of a USAir jet outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in which all passengers and crew members were killed. Five of the final cases in the crash settled for over $54 million.

Corboy & Demetrio was appointed lead plaintiffs’ counsel for the United Airlines jet crash at Sioux City, Iowa and the firm represented 38 passengers or their survivors in lawsuits filed as a result of the tragedy. In one of the worst aviation disaster in history, Corboy & Demetrio was also appointed lead counsel for the American Airlines flight 191 crash at O’Hare International Airport where 271 people on board and two people on the ground were killed.                   

Thomas Demetrio served as lead counsel in litigation stemming from the crash of an American Eagle plane near Morrisville, North Carolina, and as one of the lead plaintiffs’ counsel in the American Eagle crash that occurred near Roselawn, Indiana.

In another publicized case, Thomas Demetrio represented at trial a widow whose husband was killed with musician Jim Croce in a Louisiana plane crash.  

Corboy & Demetrio has obtained verdicts and settlements in helicopter crashes over that last 60 years, including a confidential settlement in the helicopter crash of blues guitarist Steve Ray Vaughan.

Our firm obtained a $1.2 million jury verdict in Las Vegas federal court the crash of a small plane carrying two Japanese students who were touring the Grand Canyon.   

Our experience in international airplane crashes includes the representation of families of victims in the crash of a Paris-bound TWA jet off the coast of Long Island, as well as in the crashes of an Aero-Peru flight near Lima, Peru, and an American Airlines jet near Cali, Columbia.

Aviation Speakers and Authors

In addition to litigating aviation lawsuits, our attorneys are featured speakers on aviation litigation at legal seminars and write articles for other attorneys on the legal intricacies of aviation cases.

Thomas Demetrio authored the article, "Beyond the Thunder," published in Trial, a national publication for trial lawyers. The article discusses the role weather can play in an airplane crash and advises personal injury lawyers on how to address and deal with weather issues in an airplane crash case. 

Community Involvement

Along with being involved in the litigation of commercial and private aviation disasters, the firm supports and contributes to the National Air Disaster Alliance/Foundation, an organization that addresses the needs of survivors and those affected by airline disasters. Watch our video of the Memorial Wall built for the families of the victims of the largest air disaster in U.S. history -- the crash of American Airlines flight 191. Corboy & Demetrio represented the families of 27 victims.

Our representation includes but is not limited to the following areas:

Aircraft Accidents Commercial, Business & Private Aircraft

Aircraft Negligence

International Aviation Law

Helicopter Crash Litigation

U.S. Air Disasters



Media Center


Attorney-Authored Articles

  • Illinois Causes of Action: Tort Actions, 2014: Aviation Litigation - Chapter
    Illinois Causes of Action: Tort Actions, 2014, 06.2014
  • Trial Magazine
  • Trial Magazine, 04.2006
  • Aviation Causes of Action, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education, 2002, 2008, 2011
    IICLE, 06.2002
  • Fighting the Elements
    Trial Journal of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, 08.1998
  • Look for the Silver Lining - An Analysis of Weather-Related Air Crash Disasters
    Trial Magazine, 08.1998

Major Media Coverage

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Corboy & Demetrio
33 N. Dearborn Street
21st Floor
Chicago, IL 60602