Lawyer says United passenger had broken nose, concussion

A United Airlines plane taxis at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, the site of a public relations nightmare for the airline after an elderly passenger was physically dragged off a plane for refusing to give up his seat because the flight was overbooked. The lawyer representing the man said his client suffered a broken nose, concussion and lost two front teeth. File photo by Brian Kersey/UPI

April 13 (UPI) — A lawyer for the doctor who was forcibly removed from a United Airlines flight in Chicago on Sunday said his client sustained several injuries, including a broken nose that will require surgery.

Thomas Demetrio, the personal injury attorney representing David Dao, a 69-year-old doctor who was dragged off a United flight at O’Hare International Airport, said his client was released from the hospital Wednesday. Airport police removed him after he declined to vacate the seats he and his wife paid for because the flight was overbooked.

Demetrio said Dao sustained a “significant concussion,” a broken nose and injuries to the sinus cavities that would require reconstructive surgery. Dao also lost two front teeth in the encounter with airport police that was captured on cellphone video from other passengers that showed officers dragging Dao off the plane.

The resulting fallout has created a public relations nightmare for United Airlines that prompted CEO Oscar Munoz to offer a public apology to Dao, the other passengers on the plane and all United employees for what had happened. Munoz said he felt “shame” when watching the viral videos of Dao being dragged down the aisle of the plane.

Demetrio said the Dao family accepted the CEO’s apology “with gratitude,” but added: “that’s not gonna let him off the hook here.”

On Wednesday, Dao’s legal team took the first step toward filing a lawsuit, by filing an injunction forcing the city of Chicago and United to preserve any cockpit recordings of the incident, along with personnel records of the flight crew and Aviation Department officers who hauled Dao off the plane.

Demetrio pledged a lawsuit would be filed on behalf of his client in Cook County Circuit Court, though he offered no timeline for when that would happen.


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