Woman injured by falling luggage receives damages payout

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Woman injured by falling luggage receives damages payout

2nd June 2010

An airline passenger who was hit in the face by a bottle of whiskey which fell from an overhead luggage compartment has received compensation totalling £10,000.

The woman suffered cuts and bruises to her face as well as serious damage to her teeth in the incident, which occurred as she was returning home from a family holiday to Dubai.

"I was sat in my seat when another passenger started to put some luggage in the overhead compartment above me," said the woman, who was in her 40s at the time of her injury. "Unfortunately, as he did this a full size bottle of whiskey fell from the overhead compartment and struck me.

"The bottle was heavy and it was very painful when it hit me in the face," she said. "My upper lip was bruised, cut and swollen and there was a lot of blood. After the initial shock I noticed that my front teeth were also causing me pain and had become loose."

Nicola Simpson, a holiday claims specialist with Fentons Solicitors LLP who represented the woman, said that because the plane was about to leave she had no choice but to remain on the long, ten-hour flight. "The crew were unable to offer her any treatment for the pain she was suffering," said Nicola.

"Upon returning to the UK, she received treatment in hospital before being referred to a dentist who told her the only solution would be to extract her teeth and replace them with false teeth," she said. "There was an alternative, but that involved expensive implants which are not available on the NHS."

Nicola said her client suffered months of agonising pain due to her damaged teeth, which prevented her from eating normally. "Even the cold weather made her teeth hurt," she said.

"When she saw the dental expert, he told her the teeth could be saved but only through a painful root canal operation. This procedure leads the affected teeth to darken more quickly, and she now requires bleaching treatment."

Nicola said there had been no warnings from the cabin crew for people to be careful when putting items into the overhead compartments.

"Under UK law, airlines are strictly liable for injury sustained by a passenger if the accident which caused it took place on board their aircraft," said Nicola. "This incident caused months of pain and suffering for my client. She still faces further expensive dental treatment, and it is only fair that the airline is held to account."

Nicola successfully negotiated a settlement of £10,000 on behalf of her client, which took into consideration the treatment she has already received as well as the further care she will need in the future.

How can Fentons Solicitors help?
Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims relating to holiday accidents.

If you think that you have a case or require further information, contact Fentons on 0800 019 1297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.