David Dao has received a settlement from United Airlines, and in the absence of specific amounts, legal consultants speaking to the media can do little more than estimate how much he received.
This week, United and the Kentucky doctor, who was forcibly removed from United Flight 3411 earlier this month, suffering a concussion, two broken teeth and a bloody nose in the process, reached a settlement for an undisclosed amount of money, according to Fox News.
The key word here is “undisclosed.” Because the specifics of the amount aren’t made public, the settlement could be anything, ranging from a token payment of $1 to the tens of millions.
In fact, a review of assault cases, in which the terms of the settlement were made public, reveal payouts ranging from tens of thousands to well into the millions. For example, the police department in Bloomfield, New Jersey, according to WKXW, recently agreed to pay $243,000 to a man who was “physically assaulted and severely beaten” by two cops. Similarly, according to the Washington Post, Florida State University agreed to pay $950,000 to a woman who claims she was raped by Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston back in 2012, when the two were both students.
However, both of those settlements were reached after months, if not years, of negotiations, legal wrangling, and back-and-forth between attorneys for both sides. Dao, on the other hand, reached a settlement with United after only a few days.
Considering that the settlement was made almost immediately, and considering the public-relations implications for United Airlines, some observers believe that Dao’s settlement is likely north of a million dollars.
Mark Borkowski, who runs a U.K. public relations agency, told Talk Radio U.K. that he thinks Dao likely got a check for something in the neighborhood of £1 million (about $1.3 million).
“They’ve corralled him, they’ve obviously got across him very quickly. They’ve obviously been talking to his lawyers, and undoubtedly he got a substantial settlement… The mere fact that he’s locked down means there’s more value in keeping his mouth shut and staying off the radar than actually opening his trap.”
— talkRADIO (@talkRADIO) April 28, 2017
Meanwhile, attorney James Goodnow, an attorney with the Lamber-Goodnow Injury Law Team at Fennemore Craig, speaking to International Business Times, speculated that the settlement is much higher than that.
“Dr. Dao will likely get millions here. The only question is how many zeros will follow the first number.”
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) April 28, 2017
Similarly, money blog The Squander posits that Dao’s injuries were comparatively minor; his personal possessions weren’t damaged; and he only lost a few days’ worth of income from the incident – factors that would ordinarily point to a comparatively small settlement. However, deep-pocked United Airlines, facing a public relations nightmare, wants to put this matter behind them, and quickly. Thus, the anonymous writer said, United likely coughed up an amount approaching $5-15 million.
In a statement, United reiterated its desire to put the incident behind them.
“We are pleased to report that United and Dr. Dao have reached an amicable resolution of the unfortunate incident that occurred aboard flight 3411. We look forward to implementing the improvements we have announced, which will put our customers at the center of everything we do,”
Dao’s attorney, Thomas Demetrio praised United Airlines for its quick response, according to Israeli National News.
“[United CEO Oscar] Munoz said he was going to do the right thing, and he has.”
How much money do you believe Dr. Dao should get from United Airlines?
[Featured Image by Scott Olson/Getty Images]