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Truck driver sues Virgin Australia for injury over seat

May 30, 2014 Aviation, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59A Gold Coast truck driver is suing Virgin Australia for half a million dollars, stating he suffered permanent injury because he was unable to adjust his seat on a flight from Sydney to Perth. Virgin disputes the facts of the matter and plans to defend the case.

Documents lodged in the Brisbane District Court and cited by Brisbane’s Courier-Mail newspaper state that Daniel Gleeson, 51, was seated in row 16K on the flight on 15 January 2012.

Soon after take-off he reclined his seat fully but then found he was unable to bring it back into the upright position. He asked a flight attendant for help, but the attendant couldn’t bring the seat back up either. Web-banner-300-250

Gleeson says that when he mentioned that he had a pre-existing back injury, the attendant responded by offering him and his wife free drinks.

According to the documents, Gleeson repeatedly asked to be moved to another seat – only to be told the flight was full. As a consequence, he had to stay in an “unsupported position” throughout the 4.5-hour flight, the paper said, and he claims that this caused permanent injury to his back.

A medical assessment declared the injury had resulted in a “7% whole person impairment”, according to documents filed by Gleeson’s solicitor.

Gleeson is seeking a total of AUD 540,463 in damages, including for future economic loss. He is “likely to have ongoing episodic severe lower back pain for the foreseeable future,” a medical report by orthopaedic surgeon Dr Malcolm Wallace said.

The airline denies the seat was faulty and also denies that Gleeson was prevented from sitting in one of the eight empty seats in economy class, the Courier-Mail said.

“The plaintiff failed to adopt an ergonomically suitable position while seated; failed to use a pillow or other means to support his back; failed to leave his seat and move around the cabin; and failed to swap seats with his wife,” Virgin contends.

Written by : Peter Needham

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