Man Sues Airline After Being Seated Next To An Obese, Coughing Passenger.

Personal injury accidents arise from a number of facts and circumstances.  Although car accidents and slip and fall accidents might be the most common, an accident can arise whenever someone fails to act with the reasonable level of due care expected from ordinary persons under similar circumstances.  Personal injury lawsuits can be filed against individuals or against entities, such as businesses, hospitals and corporations.

James Basso has filed a person injury lawsuit against Abu Dhabi-based airline Etihad Airways after he allegedly sustained back injuries during a Dubai to Sydney flight.  Basso had purchased a single seat in economy class.  He has filed this lawsuit after he says the airline forced him to sit next to an overweight and coughing passenger.  According to his lawsuit, the size of the man required him to “contort and twist” his body to avoid touching his coughing neighbor.

Basso repeatedly asked the crew to move him or find another way to remedy the situation.  Eventually, the crew agreed to allow him access to a crew seat for limited intervals.  Still, he was forced back to his own crowded seat for long periods of time during the flight.  Remaining in his own cramped seat, Basso claims his preexisting back injuries were exacerbated. 

Etihad Airways is firing back saying there was no accident, and therefore no basis for a personal injury lawsuit.  The airline argues that it is not unusual to be seated next to a sick or overweight passenger.  Basso filed his lawsuit in Brisbane, Australia seeking compensation for his injuries.  The district court declined the airline’s motion to dismiss the action, instead ordering medical exams to determine what if any damages actually resulted from the cramped flight.  CNN predicts that a ruling in Basso’s favor could have negative repercussions for obese persons across the world.  Some airlines have already turned away obese passengers or require that they purchase an extra seat.  A ruling in Basso’s favor could set precedent encouraging this arguably discriminatory practice.

Have you or a loved on been injured in an accident?  If so, please call 617-787-3700 today to get your free and confidential consultation with one of our expert Boston, Massachusetts personal injury attorneys.

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