United Airlines to pay $30m to family of quadriplegic man left brain damaged after ‘violent’ removal from plane

United Airlines has agreed to to pay $30m to the family of quadriplegic man who was left brain damaged after he was “violently” removed from a flight.

Nathaniel “NJ” Foster Jr, 26, who uses a wheelchair, ventilator, and tracheal tube, suffered the injury as he was deplaned from a United Express flight to Monroe, Louisiana, on 8 February 2019, while traveling to a funeral with his family.

His family alleged in court that a ramp supervisor had “aggressively” pushed Mr Foster, causing his body to jerk forward and then fall back, according to Reuters.

His mother sought medical help after hearing him whisper “I can’t breathe”. According to court papers, an airline gate agent laughed and told a surgeon who offered help “we got this,” prompting him to sit down.

Mr Foster, from Pleasant Hill, California, went into cardiac arrest and suffered “significant” brain damage, according to Reuters.

He was left unable to eat solid foods or speak, and his life expectancy has shrunk from 39 prior to the incident to 31.5, the complaint stated.

After a one day trial in San Francisco federal court, United agreed to pay $30m to his family. The settlement needs to be approved by a judge.

United Airlines did not immediately respond to a request for comment by The Independent.

In a statement to Reuters, the airline said: “Our top priority is to provide a safe journey for all our customers, especially those who require additional assistance or the use of a wheelchair.

“We are pleased to share that this matter has settled.”

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