Do attorneys ignore the NTSB's 45-day rule?

The likely crash of a Malaysia Airlines’ plane highlights the 45-day rule, which bans early contact between attorneys and victims’ families.

It is widely known among aviation lawyers that attorneys are supposed to wait 45 days before contacting the families of victims involved in an airline crash in order to solicit them as clients.

The reasoning behind such a rule – passed by Congress in 1996 – is that it allows a family privacy at a very traumatic time. It probably makes sense from a strategic point of view, too. Often, it takes a while for the basic facts of a case to be revealed, such as information from a plane’s black box.

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Ed Silverstein

Ed Silverstein is a veteran writer and editor for magazines, websites and newspapers. A graduate of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, he has won several...

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