Jeffrey Soffer, a billionaire real estate mogul and husband to supermodel Elle McPherson, is being sued for $100 million by the family of a friend who was killed in a helicopter crash. The helicopter was approaching landing when a gust blew it back, causing its tail to hit the ground. Soffer is alleged to have been piloting the craft at the time of the accident despite not being licensed to fly helicopters. Soffer is licensed to fly fixed-wing aircraft but not helicopters.
A licensed helicopter pilot was on the aircraft but appears to not have been piloting the helicopter at the time of the deadly crash.
Prominent tax attorney Lance Valdez was the only passenger killed in the accident. Five others, including Soffer, survived the crash.
The suit alleges that Soffer initially tried to hide his role in the crash, telling Valdez’s wife that the licensed pilot was in control of the helicopter at the time of the crash. The suit also accuses Soffer of offering over $2 million in insurance proceeds in order to avoid facing a public lawsuit.
If Soffer hadn’t been piloting the helicopter, a lawsuit likely would have been out of the question, forcing Valdez’s wife to seek recovery only from insurance. Assuming he was the pilot, Soffer could be exposed to massive liability if he’s found to have negligently piloted the craft. Being unlicensed to fly the helicopter is a factor that could weigh very heavily against the billionaire.
A pilot of a plane or helicopter or driver of a car can be held financially responsible when others are harmed by his or her negligence. When you have been injured in a crash, whether involving a car, boat, helicopter, or airplane, your life can be changed forever. An experienced Houston personal injury attorney can help you determine whether you have a right to compensation for your injuries.