The airline moved to settle quickly, likely because it had much more to lose by going to court against Dr. Dao
Long Beach, CA, May 9, 2017 (Newswire.com) - Last month, a settlement was reached between Doctor David Dao and United Airlines in the now infamous April 9 incident in which the doctor was forcefully removed from a flight by police in Chicago. Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney Belal Hamideh said the incident has prompted an important case study in personal injury cases.
The incident was caught on cellphone video and has since been virally distributed around the world. The public reaction was swift against United Airlines, and there was not much that could be done to pass blame to Dr. Dao, as the incident was caught on video by several passengers.
According to Hamideh, the publicized video accounts show that Dao was not exhibiting any threat to safety, nor was he being a disruption. The video does appear to show the police officers showing an unreasonable amount of force.
Dao is said to have suffered a broken nose, concussion and had two teeth knocked out when he was thrown into an adjacent armrest. According to Dao's lawyer, Thomas A. Demetrio, Dao will require reconstructive nose surgery.
Now that a settlement has been reached, Hamideh estimates amounts that Dao should be entitled to that stem directly from the incident. Past medical expenses incurred immediately after the incident may range close to $100,000. Future medical expenses are likely to include treatment for concussion syndrome, dental and nasal surgery and can safely be estimated at close to $300,000. Dao can also be entitled to damages for pain and suffering somewhere in the range of $1-2 million according to Hamideh.
Hamideh added that if the case would have gone to court, they could have faced punitive damages up to nine times the case value.
"Now the kicker is that there probably would be imposition of punitive damages, since dragging him off the plane was a reckless act with disregard for his well-being, so the total damages can be multiplied up to 9 times, which would bring total damages to roughly $10 million," said Hamideh.
Hamideh points out that due to how highly-publicized the incident was, a jury may offer very high judgments against defendants in order to put other airlines on notice in regards to similar risky and negligent business practices.
In addition, another significant amount the airline would be liable for would have been the emotional stress that Dao experienced; he was caught on camera visibly distraught and possibly in shock after the incident. He adds that in the event of last month's settlement, part of the airline's agreement with Dr. Dao would likely include that he would not speak publicly about the incident, nor negatively about the airline in a public forum.
A spokesperson for United said that the settlement that was reached was amicable.
The incident had prompted a major public relations crisis for the airline, including massive calls for boycotts in China, where the airline is trying to gain a foothold in the airline market.
For press inquiries on the matter, contact Belal Hamideh Law at (213) 335-6282
Source: Belal Hamideh