Airports are large, complex institutions with hundreds of employees from many different employers doing various tasks on a given day. These employees include flight crew, restaurant workers, janitorial staff, mechanics, and wheelchair service providers. Often, employees working for several different airlines or wheelchair service companies will be present in one airport at one time. What is more, turnover is high among these employees, who seem to come and go at will.
Unfortunately, airport employees in general and wheelchair service providers in particular seem to be responsible for many airport-related accidents that occur. What is more, when an individual is injured by an airport employee or a wheelchair service provider, they may be so taken off guard that they forget to ask for the contact information of the employee. As one Texas case shows, failure to secure contact information for the employee causing the injury may be detrimental or even fatal to a case.
In Delta Air Lines, Inc. v. ARC Security, Inc., the induvial, who was paralyzed below the waist, was being helped through the airport by a male and female flight attendant. The attendants attempted to move the individual from an airplane seat onto an aisle chair, a small wheelchair that fits between the aisles on an aircraft. The attendants wound up dropping the individual onto the wheel of his wheelchair, causing serious injuries.
The individual attempted to sue both the airline and a security company that the individual claimed was the employer of the flight attendants. There was a small problem, however: the individual could not remember who the flight attendants were, exactly. The individual thought he remembered the names and the appearance of the employees. However, as the case progressed, it became clear that the employees looked completely different from how the individual described them. While the security company was the most obvious party in this suit because it employed the people who directly injured the individual, the individual eventually had to drop his case against the security company because there was simply not enough evidence of its culpability. The individual attempted to proceed against the other party, the airline, but a jury found that the airline was not liable. This is unfortunate, because the individual was badly injured when he was dropped and likely had a claim worth tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The lesson to be learned from Delta Air Lines, Inc. v. ARC Security is, if you have been injured as a result of an airport or airline employee doing something wrong, make sure you are thinking clearly enough to get at least the name and employer of the employees involved. It is harder than you may think to get this information after the fact. If you are armed with this information, it becomes much easier for an experienced aviation attorney to put together a winning case in court.
If you or a loved one have been injured, Call Carabin Shaw at 800-862-1260. We Can Help.