CHICAGO (CN) – The doctor dragged off a United Airlines flight nearly three weeks ago has reached a confidential settlement for an undisclosed amount over the incident that went viral, his attorneys said Thursday afternoon.
On April 9, Dr. David Dao, 69, was forcibly removed from his flight to Louisville, Kentucky by Chicago Aviation Department police at the city’s O’Hare Airport after refusing to be bumped to make room for United employees to get on the overbooked plane.
Passenger cellphone videos captured Dao screaming as he was being dragged off the flight. His face injured and bleeding, Dao ran back onto the plane, collapsed and was taken out again on a stretcher.
Dao suffered a concussion, a broken nose, injured sinuses and lost his two front teeth in the confrontation.
United came under fire on social media after the cellphone videos made national news.
At the time, one of Dao’s attorneys said at a press conference, “For a long time now airlines, United in particular, have bullied us…Rudeness and bullying customers has gone the next step now to physical injury.”
After filing a petition in Cook County Circuit Court to preserve evidence and talks of a lawsuit being filed, the confidential settlement was negotiated with United by Dao’s lawyers, Thomas A. Demetrio of Corboy & Demetrio and Stephen L. Golan of Golan Christie Taglia.
In a Thursday afternoon news release, Dao’s attorneys called the settlement with United “amicable.”
The deal was reached the same day United announced that it would be making changes to ensure such an incident doesn’t happen again, including reducing the amount of overbooking on flights and not requiring customers to get off of a flight unless they pose a safety risk.
“Every customer deserves to be treated with the highest levels of service and the deepest sense of dignity and respect. Two weeks ago, we failed to meet that standard and we profoundly apologize. However, actions speak louder than words. Today, we are taking concrete, meaningful action to make things right and ensure nothing like this ever happens again,” United CEO Oscar Munoz said in the announcement.
Demetrio thanked Munoz in a statement.
“Mr. Munoz said he was going to do the right thing, and he has. In addition, United has taken full responsibility for what happened on Flight 3411, without attempting to blame others, including the City of Chicago,” the attorney said. “For this acceptance of corporate accountability, United is to be applauded.”
As for his client, Demetrio said Dao “has become the unintended champion for the adoption of changes which will certainly help improve the lives of literally millions of travelers.”
“I sincerely hope that all other airlines make similar changes and follow United’s lead in helping to improve the passenger flying experience with an emphasis on empathy, patience, respect and dignity,” he said.