A woman who uses a wheelchair is suing United Airlines after an employee allegedly dropped her on the ground as he tried to move her to a reserved spot on the airplane, resulting in “serious and permanent injuries.”
Erica Fulton claims that she was traveling from Florida to Austin, Texas, for a relative’s birthday party when the incident took place. A male employee moved in to help her get into her reserved seat, but the gesture turned out to be the last thing she needed.
“He kept saying, ‘Don’t worry, I got you.’ And I put my trust in him,” Fulton told KPRC 2 in Houston. “But I saw the look of panic in his face when he knew he was going to drop me and it was terrifying.”
According to the lawsuit, Fulton landed on her right shoulder, causing grievous injuries that have robbed her of the ability to control her arm despite corrective surgery. “When you lose use of your legs you need your arms,” she noted in a statement. To top it all off, Fulton’s wheelchair was damaged during the trip as well.
“Everybody’s heard travel stories as we’ve gone through life,” said attorney Jonathan CC Day. “This is the worst story I have ever heard. Handicapped woman gets dropped, and then they drop her wheelchair on the same flight. They didn’t drag her off the plane at least.”
Fulton went on to accuse United’s leadership of not making good on their promises.
“Based on the way I have been treated, I cannot take seriously United’s own CEO Oscar Munoz’s recent promise that every customer deserves to be treated with the highest levels of service and the deepest sense of dignity and respect,” she wrote.
“After learning about the severity of my injury, United chose to bury its head in the sand by ignoring my phone calls, forcing me to hire legal counsel,” Fulton continued.
While United claims that it offered to pay Fulton the full cost of her customized wheelchair, her lawyers claim that the airline has not offered to pay a dime toward her expensive medical bills, despite the incident’s serious repercussions on Fulton’s ability to live independently.