Within the last 24 hours, United Airlines announced that it had reached a settlement with Dr. David Dao, the man who was dragged off a United flight after he refused to give up his seat for a deadheading crew.
So how much is Dao set to earn from the settlement with United? We’ll take a look.
Several news outlets have recently reported that Dr. Dao reached a settlement today after he received a concussion and several other injuries for being pulled off of a flight by security and airport authorities.
Dao’s lawyer, Thomas Demetrio put out a statement today saying the following: “Dr. Dao has become the unintended champion of the adoption of changes which will certainly help improve the lives of millions of travelers… Mr. Munoz [United CEO] said he was going to do the right thing and he has. In addition, United has taken full responsibility for what happened.”
Of course, Demetrio has not publicly disclosed exactly how much Dr. Dao will be receiving from United, or whether he will be suing other potential defendants, like the city of Chicago or the Chicago airport authority. However, given the information we have, we can make a reasonably estimated guess as to how much he might be earning.
Settlements for personal injury cases can vary extremely dramatically, depending on several factors. Those factors are: 1) medical expenses, 2) other damage, 3) lost earnings and potential future earnings, and most importantly in this case, 4) reputation risk for the business making the settlement, as well as the potential planitiff.
The first three of the factors are relatively minor for Dr. Dao. Dr. Dao did not receive particularly major injuries from the United and airport staff that dragged him. Also, it’s likely that most of his medical expenses were paid by insurance.
Secondly, there wasn’t much damage to Dr. Dao’s personal belongings, and his earnings were only affected for a small number of days.
However, in this particular case, as expected, reputation plays a major role. Dr. Dao, for instance, may have been a victim of negative publicity, due to his previous legal and other issues, which were dredged up by reporters because of his involvement in the United situation. Given that his reputation will forever be connected with this United incident, there may be a future affect on his ability to earn.
But, of course the most significant part in this whole settlement is United’s reputation and their concern about the negative publicity and future effects on their ability to gain customers do to their actions. It is likely that United’s offer for a settlement was almost entirely based on this particular concern.
In typical injury cases, where someone receives minor injuries from a representative of a corporation, they generally don’t receive that much money. In fact, according to the Bureau of Justice statistics, the average settlement is only around $30,000.
However, this is no ordinary case. It compares much closer to large liability cases, like those of people getting injured in stores.
To estimate the how much Dr. Dao may receive from United, we looked at several comparable settlements with large corporations, under similar circumstances.
Based on these, we roughly estimate that Dr. Dao’s settlement with United Airlines will probably bring him between $5-$15 million. As more details come out, we will update this estimate as necessary.