(CNN)– On Thursday it was announced that United Airlines had reached an undisclosed settlement with Dr. David Dao, the passenger dragged off a flight simply a couple of weeks back, bloodied and semiconscious, and seen in a video that produced a flood of unfavorable promotion for the airline company.
It must have been a kajillion dollars, right?
Although, according to Dao’s lawyer, he suffered a concussion, a broken nose, injuries to his sinuses requiring surgical treatment and lost 2 front teeth, the most substantial question in terms of examining damages is whether he will suffer long-term health effects.
Valuing a plaintiff’s injuries is not a specific science. No two cases are identical. If you remove away the disturbing viral video of Dao’s experience, and examine the case strictly by his injuries only, this case might not have had a great deal of monetary value for the plaintiff in case of a trial.
Exactly what about the humiliation of being watched by countless individuals? Doesn’t that have value? It does. In assault cases, a jury can think about the embarrassment and indignity suffered by the plaintiff and compensate him. The thing about these damages is that they are uncertain, and hard to value.
In the weeks following the Dao video, there were some who believed Dao should have just gotten off the plane. If a few of those voices found their way onto a jury, they might not have actually awarded Dao much for humiliation. In reality, some may have foisted some blame onto Dao for not disembarking willingly.
In injury cases like this, quantifiable medical injuries are normally the primary consider assessing value. Indeed, Dao sustained medical injuries, but the level of them might not be the kinds that are likely to produce a considerable payout.
Broken teeth are definitely uncomfortable, but that period of pain might be restricted to the time between the injury when the dental practitioner fixes them. The price of those teeth is also an ascertainable quantity. 10 thousand dollars may be a reasonable value of some oral implants, but it’s the sort of injury that is mainly repaired once the procedure is over. Similarly, a damaged nose that recovers on its own is painful, but most likely not for the rest of one’s life.
The genuine motorist in high damage awards in personal injury cases is long-lasting pain or problems. For example, herniated discs and torn rotator cuffs are not gruesome, obvious injuries, like damaged teeth or noses. Yet, they can result in long-term treatment and surgical treatments, irreversible impairment and a lifetime of pain.
His concussion is probably the injury with the most prospective damages– or least. Some concussions are difficult to even detect. A concussion is thought about a mild terrible brain injury, and it can be connected with impaired cognitive function, headaches, fatigue, depression, stress and anxiety and a host of other signs that can last indefinitely.
This is likewise why accident cases normally take a few years to resolve. Examining the degree of certain injuries requires waiting to see how bad they get, and whether they get any much better. That’s why Dao’s case was non-traditional, and not actually about the injuries. The parties didn’t wait to see how Dao’s recovery and treatment defined his injuries gradually. They settled within weeks. This case was more about United’s public relations headache, than Dao’s real headaches.
Yet, Dao didn’t have as much utilize as it may have seemed he did. His injuries alone didn’t strike fear in United’s legal representatives– airline companies prosecute traveler injuries all the time. Instead, United desperately needed Dao to accept settle to stop the flurry of bad publicity.
However with each passing day, as United suffered the criticism it wished to prevent, the quantity United would pay to avoid that criticism reduced significantly. Had Dao waited a year, the something he had to use– ending the bad PR– would not deserve anything to United. Heck, I have to imagine there were attorneys in United’s camp that recommended hunching down, waiting it out and playing hardball up until couple of remembered the event– as has the tendency to occur with viral videos.
That’s why Dao’s lawyers did the right thing in settling rapidly. It also shows that United probably paid well north of a million dollars. Why? Because by settling early, Dao takes a danger by quiting the chance to develop the value of his case the conventional method: a couple years of medical records documenting the nature and extent of his injury and treatment. The settlement amount had to be a number that Dao felt comfy accepting, even if his injuries take a turn for the worse in the future.
That’s good for him, however not a sign of exactly what other plaintiffs may get if they file cases versus airlines. Dao’s case is one-in-a-million. For the rest of the potential complainants out there, United will most likely see you in court.
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