Delta Airline Passenger Files $1 Million Lawsuit Alleging Faulty Armrest Caused Rib Injury

Delta Passenger Sues for $1 Million after Alleged Rib Injury on Flight from San Diego to Seattle: An Example of the Limitations of the Montreal Convention

In 2022, a Delta Air Lines passenger, Joseph Hippensteel, is suing the carrier for $1 million after allegedly breaking his rib during a flight from San Diego to Seattle. The incident occurred as Hippensteel was getting ready to depart and leaned on an armrest while buckling his seatbelt, causing it to collapse and him to fall into the aisle. Despite attempts by two repairmen, the armrest could not be fixed and the plane took off without it functioning properly.

Hippensteel received assistance from a flight attendant and a doctor on board. The lawsuit mentions the Montreal Convention, which holds airlines responsible for passenger injuries during international travel unless they can prove negligence on the part of the passenger. However, in this case, Hippensteel is seeking $1 million in total compensation due to alleged negligence on Delta’s part.

The Montreal Convention sets a limit of around $170,000 for compensation but this suit is seeking more due to the severity of Hippensteel’s injury. Delta Air Lines has not yet responded to requests for comment on the matter. This incident is just one example of how the Montreal Convention has been invoked in cases involving passenger injuries such as a previous incident where a 6-year-old was burned by a hot meal on a United Airlines flight.

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