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The Legal Options for an Illinois-Based Flight Attendant Hurt by a Violent Passenger

Flight attendants encounter a wide spectrum of passengers on the job. Regrettably, those sometimes include troubled people, including people with substance issues and those with mental health issues. Either of these groups can be particularly prone to violent outbursts during a flight, especially longer-haul flights. If you’re a flight attendant who’s been hurt by an out-of-control passenger, then you may be entitled to take certain legal actions and recover compensation, so you should make sure you don’t delay in contacting a knowledgeable Chicago injury attorney to discuss your situation.

Recently, multiple news sources covered the story of a Newark-to-Miami United Airlines flight that diverted to Charleston, South Carolina due to a passenger’s violent outburst. The passenger allegedly became agitated and then attacked, biting one man’s ear, striking another in the nose (and possibly breaking it), and hitting a third person in the temple, according to USA Today.

Many flight attendants, including O’Hare-based United and American Airlines crews and Midway-based Southwest crews, likely read this story with a grim sense of familiarity, having their own “horror” stories of violent passengers. Injuries inflicted by violent passengers stand as the dark flip side to the glamorous life that many people often associate with being a flight attendant.

Flight attendants may be physically harmed by passengers in many ways. They may get hurt by a passenger who attacks them or suffer injuries trying to subdue a violent passenger who was attacking others.

In some circumstances, the passenger may simply have been overcome by anxiety and/or anger. A lot of times, though, drugs or mental health issues are involved. In this recent flight, police discovered 1.5 grams of methamphetamine in the attacker’s pocket after they got him off the plane, USA Today reported.

Getting Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Illinois

If you’re a flight attendant who has been hurt by a violent passenger, you may be entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits. If your passenger attack caused you to suffer extensive physical injuries, those injuries may be debilitating. They may require you to undergo a long period of physical therapy and rehab before you can return to work… if you can return at all.

Workers’ compensation benefits may cover your medical expenses, including the cost of the physical therapy and rehab necessary to get you back to where you were before. You can also receive benefits for your period of disability, whether that period was temporary or permanent, and whether your disability was total or partial.

Sometimes, you may have been harmed but have suffered no physical injury at all. Don’t misunderstand… the fact that you suffered no physical damage doesn’t necessarily mean that you weren’t hurt, and it doesn’t automatically mean you cannot obtain workers’ compensation benefits.

Say, for example, a violent passenger charged toward you, but a colleague stepped in front of you, so the passenger beat your colleague so savagely that she suffered a permanent traumatic brain injury (TBI.) That kind of event may have left you with only a psychological injury, but a very serious one.

To obtain workers’ compensation benefits in Illinois in a situation like that, you need proof that (1) your harm arose from a shocking event or unusual degree of mental trauma and also (2) that your work conditions played a significant role in causing your psychiatric problems. With the right evidence and the right legal team, getting an award of benefits is distinctly possible in this situation.

If you are an airline worker who was harmed on the job, whether your injuries were physical or psychological, the experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca are here to help. Our team has many years of experience representing airline workers in communities from Chicago to Champaign, from Springfield to Skokie, and across Illinois. To set up a free case evaluation, contact us at 800-444-1525 or through our website.

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