Israeli Man Sues United Over Luggage That Hit His Head

(AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

An Israeli man is suing United Airlines for NIS 5 million – over $1.3 million – after he was badly hurt when a piece of luggage fell on his head from an overhead compartment on a flight two years ago, a report on Keshet News said Thursday. The 43-year-old man, who is a married father, was a software engineer for a large tech company who would often fly out to the United States on assignment. On a flight two years ago from San Francisco to Portland, he sat in his aisle seat, fastened his safety belt, and awaited takeoff. “I was tired, and closed my eyes to take a nap,” he told Keshet.

However, his rest was soon disturbed when a large object – a carry-on bag from the overhead bin – fell on his head. According to Uri (his last name was not given in the report because of the lawsuit), the bag fell when a flight attendant opened the compartment, and apparently was unable to stop it from falling. The flight attendant asked if he was okay, and Uri told the attendant that he had a headache. However, he thought it would pass. “I told her that I did not think any further assistance was necessary, and I thought that was the end of the story,” Uri said.

However, the headache did not pass. Uri at first attributed the headache to jet lag, but still it continued. Uri decided to have himself checked out at a Portland hospital, and was diagnosed as suffering from Sinusitis. He was given a prescription and sent back to his hotel room. However, the pain only got worse – and when he returned to the hospital he was given a CT scan, which determined that he had suffered a brain hemorrhage caused by the impact of the bag. “I called my family in Israel and informed them of the situation,” Uri said, right before he was taken for emergency brain surgery, which involved opening his skull in order to drain fluid.

After five days in the hospital, he was released – but doctors told him he could not fly for another two months, out of fear that pressure in flight could damage his brain further. Uri was forced to remain in the United States, and remained alone, without family or community support, he said. After the two months passed he returned home, but has not been able to remain on his job as head of a team, instead forced to take an easier, simpler job – with a requisite drop in salary. Uri has filed a lawsuit with the Tel Aviv District Court demanding compensation and damages from United.

In a statement, United told Keshet that it could not comment on the case at this time, as the case was in court.

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