John Doe v. National Airline Company

Paraplegic’s Dreams Are Shattered By Careless Skycap

John Doe, a 57-year old successful businessman, was returning from a business trip and flew into Palm Beach International Airport. John Doe, an independent paraplegic for more than 25 years, requires skycap assistance to exit the plane and travel up the jet way to the terminal. While being pushed up the jet way, the skycap, in an attempt to gain momentum, carelessly struck a floor hinge causing the wheelchair to abruptly stop, throwing John Doe forward from the chair.

As a result of being tossed from the chair, John Doe broke his tibia and fibula bones in both of his legs. He did not feel the pain but sensed discomfort and immediately realized something was wrong with his legs as they were contorted in an unnatural position.

Although airline personnel were in a hurry to get him up and out of the way so other passengers could exit the plane, John Doe insisted on being examined by paramedics. Paramedics checked him out but they failed to detect that he had breaks in both legs. John Doe was left to fend for himself and seek his own treatment. He flagged down another skycap who took him to his car service and immediately went to the emergency room where he was diagnosed with comminuted fractures in both of his legs and was immediately scheduled for surgery the following morning.

After surgery, John Doe chose to returned home rather than be placed in an inpatient rehabilitation center. John Doe’s legs were placed in a cast for 10 weeks followed by three months in “walking” boots. The biggest source of concern and stress was making sure he did not develop blood clots or skin deterioration or even infections which is challenging when you’re a paraplegic. Overtime his muscles atrophied. John Doe initially received several hours of care with a home health nurse but that ended and his wife took on the sole responsibility for his care.

John Doe saw his career that he worked so hard for at an aircraft engine manufacturer and his financial security vanishing. John Doe began his work at the company in 1969. In 1977 he was rendered a paraplegic in a car accident. He was out of work for a year but came back with a vengeance. He raised the bar with his positive attitude, drive, hard work, perfect attendance and employee recognitions. He became a Director and traveled around the United States reviewing company operations. After his latest injuries, he was out of work for 5 months and never was able to spend a full day at the office again. He was ultimately forced to resign in 2004 as part of a workers compensation settlement.

John Doe continues to experience swelling and spasms in his legs. His biggest risk, which also can be deadly, is when he is being transferred. This requires an extensive amount of time and assistance from his wife. He has to elevate his legs and at night he must be moved every two hours or the spasms become unbearable. Prior the incident he needed no assistance, lived independently and thought nothing of hopping on a plane at a moment’s notice. Today John Doe needs substantial care and he hasn’t been on a vacation or gone more than 20 miles from home since the accident.

Attorney Scott C. Murray successfully settled the case for John Doe and his wife for a confidential.

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