Oregon Aviation Attorney
Tom Patton

Oregon Aviation Attorney Home Page

Oregon Aviation Law - Airlines - Commercial Flight - Private Planes - Helicopters - Accidents - Injuries - Death

Helicopter Crash Portland OregonThomas C. Patton, JD - Aviation Attorney & Pilot

  • Admitted to the Oregon 

    and the Washington State Bar.

    • Free & Confidential Legal Consultations.
    • Portland/Lake Oswego: 503-546-3357

    • Vancouver: 360-213-0399

    • Fax: 503-636-8512

    • As a navigator and pilot with extensive active duty combat experience and a proven history of federal, county, corporate and private law practice, Tom Patton is uniquely experienced and qualified to handle helicopter and airplane personal injury and wrongful death cases. Tom Patton is an experienced aviator and pilot, he understands the many intricate and complicated rules and laws involved with flying.  Tom Patton served in the Air National Guard and flew Air Force cargo and rescue planes for 11 years. Tom Patton was a C-130 Navigator, and has over 2,500 flying hours under every condition, including combat.  Tom Patton is cool and calm under pressure.
    • Tom is a seasoned litigation attorney with over 15 years of experience conducting jury trials and appeals.  He graduated from Sonoma State University in 1983.  After several years in the US Air Force as a C-130 Navigator, Mr. Patton attended law school at Northwestern School of Law of Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon.  He graduated with a Juris Doctorate (JD) in 1996.  Mr. Patton received “Best Oralist” honors in the Appellate Advocacy competition, and was also awarded an Aviation Law Research Fellowship.  He also had legal internships at a large Portland law firm, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office.  Following law school, Tom worked as a Deputy District Attorney, and as an Assistant Attorney General.  He handled a wide variety of civil and criminal trials and appeals in state and federal courts, and developed a reputation as a highly successful trial and appellate attorney.
    • Mr. Patton has trial experience working for two prestigious Northwest law firms, and was also Corporate Counsel for a large, nation-wide trucking company with over 1200 employees.  He has handled a large number of litigated cases, from investigation to trial, in diverse areas of products liability, construction defect, various personal injury claims, and other civil cases.  He has tried over 100 cases, and tried cases in Oregon and Washington. (An impressive statistic considering that 95+% of personal injury cases are settled pretrial, strongly indicating that Tom is willing to work as hard as it takes to protect your case.)  After gaining extensive litigation experience in auto, trucking and other insurance cases, Mr. Patton chose to put that experience to work for aviation accident victims.  Mr. Patton is also a member of the Oregon Air National Guard.  He is a Colonel and a decorated veteran of the 1991 Gulf War.  He was awarded the Air Force Air Medal, and two Aerial Achievement Medals for combat and combat support missions flown during the war.  In 2012 Colonel Thomas C. Patton was nominated before the 112th US Congress and approved before the US Senate for promotion to Brigadier General in the Air National Guard of the United States for appointment in the Reserve of the Air Force.  Mr. Patton routinely performs pro bono work for returning US military veterans for their estate planning needs.
    • Call Tom Patton at 503-546-3357 to receive your free confidential legal consultation without obligation or financial risk.
    • Tom Patton handles Oregon and Washington aviation related personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis.
    • This means that you don't owe him a fee, unless he recovers money for you.
    Helecopter Accident News:
    7 killed in Peru helicopter crash, including Americans
    Lima, Peru (CNN) -- Investigators are working to determine what caused a helicopter crash in central Peru that killed seven people, including five Americans.  The team was supporting oil exploration operations near Pucallpa, Peru, when the helicopter they were traveling in crashed Monday afternoon, according to Columbia Helicopters, the Portland, Oregon-based company that employed the victims.  Full story - continue reading.
    Oregon native dies in Peru helicopter crash
    Portland, Oregon (AP) -- A 62-year-old Oregon native killed in a helicopter crash in a Peruvian jungle had married his second wife in that country, built a house of stone and planned to retire there, his brother says. Darrel Wayne Birkes was born in Tigard and grew up in Beaverton, his older brother, Marvin Birkes, told The Oregonian (http://bit.ly/SkcFgF ).  Darrel Birkes worked nearly three decades for Columbia Helicopters, whose chopper crashed on Monday, killing all seven aboard. He was working as a load rigging manager for the company, based in Aurora.  "He didn't have an enemy in the world," Marvin Birkes said.  "He'd give you the shirt off his back. Money wasn't that important to him.  If you needed it, he'd give it to you."  Full story - Continue reading.

    Medical helicopter crashes kill 3, hurt 4 and prompt more scrutiny
    Washington (CNN) -- Two medical helicopter crashes in eight hours on Wednesday are again drawing attention to the dangers of aircraft that are intended to save lives.  In one crash, all three people on a Med-Trans helicopter died when the aircraft crashed in a field near Ventura, Iowa, Wednesday evening. The chopper had been en route to pick up a patient at an Emmetsburg, Iowa, hospital, authorities said. Earlier in the day, an Air Methods helicopter crash landed near Seminole, Oklahoma, injuring the four crew members on board.  There was no patient on the aircraft.  Federal safety officials began a concerted effort to address medical aircraft safety in 2006 after an increase in the number of accidents around the country.  Fifty-five medical aircraft crashed between January 2002 and January 2005, resulting in 54 fatalities and 18 serious injuries.  But problems have continued.  Sixteen people died in medical aircraft crashes in 2010, another three in 2011, and three last year, according to records released by the National Transportation Safety Board.  Full story - continue reading.

    Atlanta police helicopter crash kills 2 officers
    Atlanta (AP) -- Mourners have been leaving flowers, cards and other mementos at a makeshift memorial near the site of a police helicopter crash that killed two Atlanta officers who were searching for a runaway boy.  The chopper struck a power pole, them plummeted to the ground and exploded, killing both officers on board late Saturday night, authorities said. No one on the ground was hurt.  A trust fund has been established for the families of the officers, 48-year-old pilot Richard J. Halford and 40-year-old tactical flight officer Shawn A. Smiley.  Wells Fargo bank officials say they will start taking donations at noon Monday for the trust funds.  The 9-year-old boy was found wandering on a city street a couple of hours after the crash, Atlanta police spokesman Officer John Chafee said Sunday.  He ran away after being scolded by his mother.  Full story - Continue reading.
    Two police helicopters collide near L.A., injuring 6
    Altadena, Calif. (AP) -- Two police helicopters collided over a helipad Saturday, leaving five police officers and a civilian with minor injuries, officials said.  Police believed the collision occurred when the rotator blades of a chopper that was landing and one that was taking off touched, Lt. Phlunte Riddle said.  The collision caused extensive damage to both aircraft, crumpling the tail and breaking the blades of one and causing the blade to fall off and other damage to the other.  The injured were taken to hospitals for evaluation after the 4 p.m. collision at a helipad in Altadena.  Riddle said they included a pilot and an observer in each of the Bell OH-58A helicopters and two officers on the ground.  One of the observers was a civilian. Full story - Continue reading.
    Why should you hire Oregon aviation attorney and experienced pilot Tom Patton?
    • You need an attorney who will work hard to protect your rights, maximize your insurance settlement and minimize the hassles of dealing with the insurance companies.  You need an experienced and aggressive Oregon trial lawyer who will fight for you.  Having an experienced Oregon personal injury lawyer can make the difference between getting what you deserve or getting nothing.
    • Survivors and their spouses who have been injured in a plane or helicopter accident or collision, often worry about who is going to pay their medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.  The last thing you want, is to be taken advantage of by an insurance company.
    • If you don’t protect your rights in the time specified by state or federal law, you may not be able to make a claim and receive the settlement you deserve.  Insurance companies have attorneys and adjusters whose goal is to pay you as little as they can.  You need an Oregon licensed attorney with extensive aviation experience to fight for you.  You need someone who knows how to protect your legal rights, how the insurance companies work and the unique and complex specific laws involved with aviation. Mr. Patton is that attorney and he is dedicated to helping your recover as much money as possible under the law.
    • Without the threat of an aviation attorney who is willing to go to trial and seek a huge jury verdict, why would an airline insurance company pay you what your claim is really worth?  Lawsuits can be expensive, and many people do not have the money to properly pursue their claim.  In every case, I advance all costs associated with pursuing your case and I do not ask you for a penny until we recover from the other side.
    • An experienced Oregon trial attorney with extensive aviation experience can make the difference in the results of your settlement or trial outcome.
    • Mr. Patton is an experienced and aggressive trial lawyer who has tried many jury trials (over 100).  Mr. Patton is not afraid to take your case to trial if that is what it takes to maximize the amount of money you recover for your aviation personal injury or loss.  Mr. Patton and his staff offer excellent personal, one-on-one customer service.
    • Knowing that you have an expert professional legal professional handling your aviation case can greatly reduce the stress of making a claim.
    • Personal injury aviation accidents can turn your life upside down.  Making a personal injury claim can be both difficult and time consuming.  Once Mr. Patton takes your case, you can stop worrying about dealing with the aviation insurance companies and focus on recovering from your injuries.  Mr. Patton and his staff will take care of all of the paperwork, phone calls, and negotiations, so you can get on with your life.
    Tom Patton handles Oregon aviation related personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis:
    This means that you don't owe him a fee unless he recovers money for you.

    Frequently Asked Questions:

    Q: Which types of Oregon personal injury claims does Tom Patton, JD handle from your Portland, Oregon law office?
    A: Mr. Patton handles all types of personal injury claims for his clients residing in Oregon and Washington. His additional personal areas of expertise are in Aviation and Commercial Trucking law. Mr. Patton expertly handles the following types of cases: airline aviation accidents and crashes, helicopter accidents and crashes, private aviation accidents and crashes, commercial aviation accidents and crashes, auto injury accidents, motorcycle injury accidents, truck accidents, other motor vehicle accidents, bicycle injury accidents, dog bite injuries, ATV accidents and injuries, boating injury accidents, wrongful deaths, and any other case where someone else causes you personal injury.

    Q: What qualifies Tom Patton to handle airplane and helicopter accidents?
    A: In addition to being a skilled accident attorney, Tom is also an experienced aviator and pilot.  Tom Patton served in the Air National Guard and flew Air Force cargo and rescue planes for 11 years. Tom Patton was a C-130 Navigator, and has over 2,500 flying hours under every condition, including combat.  Tom Patton is calm and collected under pressure and has the uncanny ability to make you feel the same about your aviation injury case.

    Q: How soon after airplane personal injury accident should I call Tom Patton?
    A: Take care of your immediate medical needs then call Tom immediately.  It is a confidential and free call.  Do not give the other person’s insurance company a statement until you have consulted with a personal injury lawyer, because you may inadvertently wave some of your rights or weaken your case.  Mr. Patton makes a point of returning all calls and e-mails promptly.  If you have suffered a personal injury, you need to know right away what insurance coverage is in place to cover your medical expenses and lost wages. Call Tom Patton at 503-546-3357.

    Q: What is my claim worth?
    A: The value of your plane or helicopter accident injury or loss claim depends on the severity and permanency of your injuries.  Contact Mr. Patton for a free and confidential consultation so he can assess your claim and tell you what he thinks it is worth to you.

    Q: Should I accept the offer that the insurance company has given me?
    A: Oftentimes, Mr. Patton can get insurance companies to substantially increase the amount of their personal injury settlement offer through legal negotiations on your behalf.  If you have already received an offer for your injuries, contact Mr. Patton and he will let you know if he thinks it is a fair offer.  He will not charge you for this consultation.  If he does not beat their original offer to you, he will not charge you an attorney fee.

    Q: How do I know if I have a good personal injury case involving a plane or helicopter accident regulated by Oregon laws and statutes?
    A: You need to contact Mr. Patton and you can discuss your case confidentially.  Mr. Patton's initial consultation on a personal injury case is always free.

    Q: How long does it take to settle most Oregon plane or helicopter accident cases?
    A: It depends on the nature of your plane or helicopter accident.  Mr. Patton has settled smaller personal injury claims for the full amount his clients wanted within 10 days and he has settled policy limits cases in as little as a few months.  Larger personal injury cases with million or multimillion dollar settlements typically take longer to settle.

    Q: Will pursuing my plane or helicopter accident case that took place in Oregon take up a lot of my time?
    A: No, not necessarily.  Oftentimes Mr. Patton only meets with clients for the initial interview and then they talk over the phone confidentially about the case specifics.  If you do have to go to court, naturally, it will take more time.  Mr. Patton realizes that your time is important, so he don’t waste it.

    Q: Will I have to go to trial?
    A: The vast majority of Oregon personal injury cases don’t go to trial.  In fact, recently, less than 10% of Oregon's personal injury cases go to trial.  However, Mr. Patton treats each case as if it is going to be a trial, because you have to be willing and prepared to go to trial to maximize your settlement.  Mr. Patton is experienced before a judge and jury and has tried a remarkable 100+ cases in court.

    Q: Why is it so important to hire an experienced Oregon trial attorney with extensive personal injury experience and additional experience in accurately valuing and collecting settlements for the specific types of injuries that you may have suffered from in an aviation injury case?
    A: Most personal injury cases settle before trial, but you want to maximize your settlement.  If you hire an Oregon airplane or helicopter accident attorney who has little trial experience, oftentimes they will be afraid to go to trial.  Insurance companies know who these lawyers are, and they oftentimes offer them less than the case is worth.  Mr. Patton has over 10 years of courtroom experience handling these specific types of personal injury cases and he has tried well over 100 cases.  Mr. Patton has had tremendous success in the courtroom and he will not advise you to settle for less than he believes your case is worth.

    Q: Do I need an personal injury lawyer in Oregon for an aviation personal injury case?
    A: In order to settle your personal injury and plane or helicopter accident case you will have to deal with insurance companies.  Their goal is to pay you as little as you will take.  It is tough for someone who is not familiar with aviation accident personal injury cases to know what a fair settlement amount is.  An experienced Oregon airplane or helicopter accident attorney can help you to determine that amount and reach a fair settlement.  Call Tom Patton at 503-546-3357 for confidential legal information and professional legal advice.

    Q: How do I pay your legal fees?
    A: Mr. Patton handles all of his personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis.  This means, you do not owe him a legal fee unless he recovers money for you.  He does not ask for any attorney fees upfront.  If there is no recovery, there is no fee.

    Q: What do you charge for recovering my medical expenses?
    A: Mr. Patton does not charge his clients a fee recovering their past medical expenses.  Many lawyers charge a percentage of the total recovery, including your medical expenses.  Mr. Patton bases his fee on what is recovered in addition to your medical expenses.  If your lawyer charges you for recovering your medical expenses it can significantly reduce how much goes in your pocket. For example, if you had $50,000 in medical expenses and a $100,000 settlement, your lawyer would get $33,000, $50,000 would go to repay your medical expenses, and you would be left with around $17,000. In a case like that, Mr. Patton would base his fee off of the remaining $50,000 after your medical expenses were paid, putting $33,000 in your pocket instead of approximately $17,000.  The only time Mr. Patton charge a fee for recovering your past medical expenses is when someone other than you, usually your insurance company or healthcare provider, pays me to recover your medical expenses.

    Q: Are there any hidden fees?
    A: No. Mr. Patton does not charge you fees for consultations, opening your file, copies, long distance, etc.  Before you hire a lawyer, make sure you find out what they will be charging you, as these hidden fees can add up.

    Q: Lawsuits can be expensive, will it cost me any money up front for filing fees, court costs, expert witness fees or any other costs to start my court or settlement personal injury case?
    A: No, filing a lawsuit, paying court costs and expert witness fees can be very expensive.  Mr. Patton knows that most people cannot afford these costs up front, so he forwards these costs up front in every case he takes.  Spending a few thousand dollars on a good expert witness can make the difference between getting thousands of dollars and getting nothing for your personal injury claim.  You will not have to pay those costs until your case is concluded.  Before you hire a Oregon personal injury lawyer, make sure that they are willing to forward the money to adequately pursue your personal injury case.  Otherwise, you may be forced into taking a minimal settlement if you cannot afford to spend thousands of dollars to pursue your Oregon state personal injury claim

    Aviation Attorney Referrals
    • Although there are very few personal injury attorneys in the United States that have the additional experience being a pilot, If you are looking for an experienced aviation attorney in another state besides Oregon or Washington, don't hesitate to call Tom Patton and he will do his best to find the best attorney for your legal needs.

    Tom Patton has recovered millions of dollars  for his clients from insurance companies, airlines, trucking companies, and corporations. Here are just a few results obtained on behalf of Tom Patton’s clients:
    • $1,309,000 for wrongful death for passenger killed in motor vehicle accident
    • $500,000 (Oregon statutory maximum) in a wrongful death case, motor vehicle versus pedestrian accident
    • $500,000 for a worker injured by a falling lift-gate
    • $400,000 for an employee struck by a forklift
    • $300,000 in motor vehicle versus motor vehicle accident
    • $145,000 for back injury suffered by driver t-boned in motor vehicle accident
    • $138,500 in motor vehicle versus motor vehicle accident
    • $138,000 for bicyclist struck by a motor vehicle
    • $135,000 for a pedestrian struck in a crosswalk by a motor vehicle
    • $100,000 in motor vehicle versus pedestrian accident
    • $100,000 in motor vehicle versus bicyclist accident

    Call and ask to speak with Tom Patton personally for a free initial legal consultation to find out how much he thinks your case might be worth in a court of law or out of court settlement for you. Call 

    503-546-3357

    or email Tom Patton your confidential questions about your case at Tom@TomPattonLaw.com.


    Here are a few Testimonials and thank you notes from Tom's many satisfied clients:
    • Tom, on behalf of my family, I want to express our thanks for the professional and sensitive manner in which you handled our mother's case. I'd be happy to act as a reference on your behalf if you ever find that to be useful. Best Regards - Confidential Client
    • Again, many, many thanks for going the extra mile. We plan to refer some other good business your way. Take Care, - Confidential Client
    • We are thrilled to hear that you were able to negotiate the Emanuel bill downwards! It is totally wonderful to contemplate being out of debt and not having to struggle with the poor employment situation for full time work. Another Great Big Thanks! - Confidential Client
    • Thank you again for all your help on this injury matter. Although it was not a large claim for you, I appreciate that you handled it in a matter that made me feel like it was. We have decided to take the money and buy some property over in Eastern Washington. The acreage has yet to be developed but it is very peaceful and the sunsets are beautiful. It was a pleasure to work with you and your associates in the firm. Thanks again. - Confidential Client
    • Tom, Thanks for all of your help throughout your representation of me and my family during this case. All the best, - Confidential Client
    • Tom, I'm so grateful you took the time to explain all the different scenarios as well as your expert opinion about the case. It helped me understand the direction we are going. Thank you! - Confidential Client

    Tom Patton is Oregon Aviation Accident Attorney Serving the following Counties and Cities in the State of Oregon:
    • Multnomah County • Washington County • Clackamas County • Yamhill County • Columbia County • Hood River County • Wasco County • Marion County • Linn County • Lane County • Josephine County • Jackson County • Douglas County • Clatsop County • Tillamook County
    • Portland • Gresham • Salem • Eugene • Beaverton • Hillsboro • Medford • Bend • Springfield • Albany • Aloha • Corvallis • Keizer • Grants Pass • Lake Oswego • McMinnville • Milwaukie • Oregon City • Roseburg • Tigard • Tualatin • West Linn • Woodburn • Troutdale • St. Helens • Vernonia • Yamhill • Hood River • The Dalles • Pendleton • Ontario • Astoria • Seaside • Umatilla • Cottage Grove • Monmouth • Lincoln City • Central Oregon • Eastern Oregon • Southern Oregon • Oregon Coast
    Disclaimer: The Oregon aviation law, attorney, personal injury, airplane accident, plane accident, negligence, wrongful death, product liability, airport accident or other legal information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor the formation of a lawyer or attorney client relationship. Any results set forth here were dependent on the facts of that particular personal injury case, plane accident, airline wrongful death, or airplane accident case and the results will differ from case to case. To get specific legal advice regarding your personal injury, airplane accident, plane accident, or airline wrongful death claim, please contact Oregon attorney Thomas C. Patton. This web site is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the State of Washington and may be considered advertising by the Washington State Bar and the Oregon State Bar Rules.

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    Privacy Statement: This is an Information Only Website, not legal advice. Thomas C. Patton Attorney at Law, does not collect, retrieve, store, or otherwise maintain any personal data from visitors to this site. Disclaimer: OregonAviationLaw.com and its affiliated websites are owned by Thomas C. Patton, JD, practicing in the states of Oregon and Washington. Thomas Patton is both a Pilot and a Personal Injury Lawyer/Attorney with extensive experience in both flying, aviation law and aviation personal injury claims. Tom Patton's websites are not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the States of Oregon and  Washington and may be considered advertising by the Oregon and Washington State Bar Rules.

    • Thomas C. Patton, JD

    • Free Initial Legal Consultations for Aviation Injuries or Loss.
    • Admitted to Oregon State Bar.  Portland/Lake Oswego office: 503-546-3357

    • Admitted to Washington State Bar.  Vancouver office: 360-213-0399

      • 8 N. State St., Lake Oswego, OR  97304, Suite 301



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