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Paralyzed Veteran Sues United for Pain and Humiliation Suffered on Flight

Sgt. Joseph Smith, a 42-year old Marine veteran who was paralyzed in Afghanistan, filed a lawsuit this week against United Airlines and the airport contractor Air Serv, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Smith is suing for $300,000 in damages following a United flight in November 2010. Smith alleges that an Air Serv employee helping Smith off the plane in his wheelchair during a layover, ignored Smith’s warnings that one of the chair’s wheels was stuck, and subsequently caused Smith to fall, hit his head, and sustain a concussion.

Upon arriving at his connecting flight, Smith says that United and Air Serv employees would not get a special aisle wheelchair to bring Smith to his seat, and Smith claims that he had to drag his own body down to his seventh row seat. Smith states that dragging himself down the aisle caused his catheter bag to break and spill urine on him, and that none of the employees would help him clean up, forcing him to sit in his own urine for his entire flight to Colorado Springs.

United Airlines released a brief statement, only saying that, “Our preliminary review does not corroborate Mr. Smith’s version of events.”

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