Blog - Miscellaneous

Airline Traveller Wins Injury Compensation after being Deafened by a Screaming Child

Qantas airlines have ended up in court after being sued for injury compensation by an American passenger.

Jean Barnard had alleged that staff for the airline were negligent in not protecting her safety. The American tourist had boarded a plane in Alice Springs on a flight bound for Darwin. She sat at her assigned seat next to a three year old boy across the aisle. Without warning the boy leaned across his armrest and screamed at the top of his voice.

The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper is reporting that the scream had a severe effect on Ms Barnard and blood started to pour from her ears. She was helped off the plane and taken to Alice Springs hospital. The incident caused her severe pain and has left her with complete hearing loss. No other people were injured in the incident.

Since the incident in 2009, Ms Barnard has been involved in a lengthy compensation battle with Qantas seeking a damages settlement for her hearing loss, psychological trauma, loss of earnings and medical costs.

Her case revolved around the claim that Qantas staff failed to take precautions to prevent the accident happening. Qantas countered this by arguing that they cannot be held responsible for an unpredictable child, especially as he showed no signs of screaming at the terminal or on the plane before the screaming incident. They also argued that Ms Barnard’s hearing was damaged before the trip and that she wore hearing aids.

A settlement was reached out of court last week although the details of this have not been released.

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