Aviation

Emirates ordered to pay $5,000 in damages after suitcase fell on passenger’s head

A man has been awarded $5,000 in damages after a suitcase fell on his head during an Emirates flight in 2019.

Stephen Bradshaw took legal action against the airline in December 2019, initially seeking $43,600 in damages ranging from loss of employment to out-of-pocket expenses, under the Montreal Convention.

The incident occurred on 1 January 2019 when Bradshaw, who was 28 at the time, was travelling on an Emirates flight from Dublin to Dubai on his way to Brisbane.

According to court documents, Bradshaw said another passenger opened the overhead luggage bin directly above him as the aircraft banked, causing a child’s suitcase to fall on Bradshaw’s head.

The passenger, Joseph Langan, said the suitcase was “almost empty”, and had mostly been used to carry his daughter’s stuffed animals.

Bradshaw claimed he suffered serious injuries as a result of the incident, which left him “severely dazed” and seeing “a few black spots”.

Upon landing in Dubai, he approached the Emirates desk and asked to be upgraded, but was advised there was not much they could do aside from sending him to hospital.

During his flight from Dubai to Brisbane, Bradshaw said he told flight attendants about the pain in his head and was allowed to lay in the aisle near the toilets, and was given oxygen and panadol before being allowed to sit in the first-class cabin for landing.

Once in Brisbane, Bradshaw claimed he saw a doctor out of concern for his injuries; however, the doctor’s notes didn’t mention a head injury and said he was treated for a sore throat and fever.

He drove to Sydney on 6 January to return to work, with payslips revealing he worked full-time from 8 January.

Bradshaw emailed Emirates on 21 January expressing his disappointment with how he was treated following his injury; however, according to court documents, he made no complaint of lasting injury.

On Friday, Justice Angus Stewart said the evidence gave him the impression that Bradshaw had “embellished” his version of events to support his claim.

“Once he had recorded that embellished version in his email of 21 January 2019, it was difficult for him to resile from it and it got reproduced in his affidavit,” Stewart said.

“The terms of that email indicate that its objective was to try and secure an upgrade or a discount on a future flight because Mr Bradshaw was “displeased … with the treatment [he] received from the airline”; it was not because, as claimed by him in his affidavit, he “was still concerned about [his] ongoing injury to [his] neck and the continuous pain and aching and difficulties at work”. Those matters are not even mentioned in the email.”

Stewart awarded Bradshaw $5,000 in damages for “pain and suffering” after judging that his “loss of amenities of life” were limited.


Featured image source: iStock/structuresxx


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