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Media Contact: Desi Canela | 210-857-1464

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | November 16, 2018

United Airlines Sued Over Neglect of Disabled Passenger

Document details allegations of passenger neglect and mistreatment

HOUSTON – Heard Law Firm, PLLC, a Houston-based national personal injury firm, has filed a federal lawsuit against United Airlines, alleging the neglect and mistreatment of a senior female passenger.

Maria Marques, 70, a victim of Polio,  sustained life-threatening injuries after United Airlines employees failed to provide her wheelchair assistance, as she requested. Marques filed suit against United after suffering a broken leg and severed artery while boarding a flight to her home in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

In addition to Marques’ story, the complaint details the airline’s history of problems serving disabled passengers, including two separate occasions where the airline demonstrated a lack of value for the safety of its customers.

In October 2015, United employees left and forgot a passenger with cerebral palsy on a plane after they failed to provide him wheelchair assistance as requested. In 2016, United was fined $2 million by the Department of Transportation for violating rules that protect disabled customers. In April of 2017, United settled a case after employees brutally beat a passenger, resulting in a broken nose, concussion and lost teeth.

“United Airlines has a habit of conscious indifference to the needs of its customers,” said Derek Merman, an attorney at Heard Law Firm, “particularly customers with physical challenges and disabilities.

“United has shown time and time again that it does not value the safety of its passengers. Mrs. Marques is presumably the most recent victim of United’s callous and indifferent treatment of its customers with physical limitations.”

Marques requested wheelchair assistance from United Airlines when she booked her flight reservations and made a second request upon arriving at the airport.  She was left unattended at her boarding gate for more than four hours. She was forced to walk down the jet bridge without assistance, because United’s employees ignored her requests for a wheelchair just before boarding. She then tripped on a defect in the carpet, suffering a broken leg and severed artery.

Instead of rendering immediate aid, United employees directed remaining passengers onto the plane as she writhed on the floor.

Marques was rushed to the hospital where surgeons removed a vein from her right leg to replace the severed artery in her left leg. Marques required more than two weeks before she could return to her home in Brazil. 

United Airlines then charged Marques for a new ticket back home to Brazil and did not offer a refund or reimbursement for her original ticket. 


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