In early 2002, our client Christie Zoltowski won a hot air balloon excursion from a hospital fundraiser and went to the company to claim the prize. The balloon operator told the Zoltowskis it was too windy to fly that day but suggested they all drive to another launch site where they would be able to take off. Even though they could see dark clouds in the distance, the Zoltowskis trusted the operator and went to the other site. Shortly after their flight began, the weather turned bad and the operator soon lost control of the balloon. The couple was terrified as the balloon smashed through trees before crash-landing and ejecting them from the passenger basket.
Ms. Zoltowski suffered a severe ankle fracture that will require two surgeries and Mr. Zoltowski was also injured but made a full recovery. However, the trauma of their plunge and crash will have a lasting effect on the two.
Following the accident, the Zoltowskis contacted Hupy and Abraham to represent them. Attorney Jason F. Abraham was confident that he would be able to show that the operator had knowingly put the couple's lives in jeopardy by launching in weather conditions he knew to be perilous.
After discussions with the Federal Aviation Administration, witnesses of the accident, and investigators, Attorney Abraham was able to demonstrate that the operator was negligent and responsible to the insurance company. He negotiated a $170,000 settlement on his clients' behalf.