Last year a man sued American Airlines because, he says, turbulence gave him a brain injury. He likened it to shaken baby syndrome. He refused medical care at the time, but claims American should have forced him to accept medical intervention. Oh, and his wife sued because of her emotional distress over her husband’s injury.
Now a brain surgeon is suing Austrian Airlines after jamming his pinky finger in his seat’s tray table.
The doctor was flying Brisbane – Bangkok and then continued on Austrian to Vienna and Manchester in business class last year. On the Bangkok – Vienna leg, “the cabin crew had folded out the horizontal table tray from his armrest before serving an in-flight meal during the Bangkok to Vienna leg of his trip.” They “did not return” to put his tray table away, he couldn’t recline his seat, so he tried to do it himself… unsuccessfully.
Dr Walker says he attempted to retract the armrest himself, at which point it “malfunctioned” and “snapped back suddenly without warning”.
“The fifth finger on the right hand of the Applicant became jammed in between two of the parts of the horizontal tray-table resulting in severe pain and injury,” the statement of claim says.
Copyright: zhukovsky / 123RF Stock Photo
Anyone who has used an Austrian Airlines business class tray table knows it can be confusing, even for a smart neurosurgeon, although there are far more complex tray tables out there (I find the most frustrating to be the table on the reconfigured American Airlines Boeing 767s).
The doc says he was in so much pain he lost consciousness. He says he “suffered a fracture and “intra-articular extension” to the finger, as well as soft tissue injuries and trauma to the nail bed.”
The lawsuit doesn’t specify an amount of damanges requested. Under the Montreal Convention it seems he’d be limited to 100,000 Special Drawing Rights (XDR) equivalent to about US$113,000 under a strict liability theory. Beyond that there would have to be negligence on the part of the airline — which seems difficult to prove since people do use the tray table without injury every day even if it’s confusing, since the flight attendant was available to help open it and since there’s no claim that the flight attendant refused to close it for him, just that there wasn’t a proactive offer as quickly as the doctor wanted to recline his seat. I offer no legal opinion here on the likelihood of his prevailing though presumably he’s simply seeking a nuisance settlement.
The doctor should, perhaps, meet the woman suing Singapore Airlines over her arthritis which she claims developed because that airline spilled a drink on her husband.
My best guess is that they watched the old Saturday Night Live commercial for the law firm of Green & Fazio too many times.
Let’s be frank, what does a ‘No Trespassing’ sign mean when you’re as drunk as I was?
They can have their $2.6 million back, but who’ll give me back my tooth?
…Do you want to spend the rest of your life wondering, maybe I should have sued?