No one expects to go to work and become violently ill or feel close to death because of bad air. But that's what happened to a flight attendant represented by workers' compensation attorney Robert A. McLaughlin.
A lawyer based in San Diego, Robert McLaughlin represents Vanessa Woods and three other flight crew members whose on-the-job ordeal has generated international media attention. Their case is putting a spotlight on what has been described in one lawsuit as the airline industry's "dirty little secret."
It's called aerotoxic syndrome or toxic "bleed air" exposure. And it is linked to a possible flaw in the design of the Boeing 747 aircraft. The air passengers and crew breathe on an airplane has passed through the jet engines and into the cabin, known as a "bleed air system." If oil or fuel leaks or burns, that fresh air can turn into toxic fumes, according to 7 News in Australia, which referenced Robert McLaughlin's four clients.
Flight Attendant Describes Inflight Ordeal
The four flight attendants sustained permanent health damage after breathing toxic fumes while on a flight from Boston to San Diego. Vanessa Woods told CBS News she and two other flight attendants passed out after they noticed a chemical odor while in flight.
"I felt like I might die," Vanessa said, according to the report.
The flight attendants suffered headaches, blurred vision and memory loss. Other problems associated with breathing toxic cabin air include difficulty concentrating and nausea.
Vanessa told 7 News she hopes "at least to recover some sort of life."
Airplane manufacturer Boeing did not comment on the lawsuit it is facing, but says the air was safe to breathe, according to the CBS report.
But a WGNTV.com report presented evidence suggesting that smoke or fumes mixing with cabin air is not unusual. A military report cited by WGNTV.com said, "smoke/fumes in the cockpit is not a rare event and is a clear threat to flying safety because of acute toxic effects."
WGNTV.com also pointed to a 1953 study by Boeing that stated the potentially dangerous consequences of air contamination from heated toxic jet engine oil.
At least three lawsuits have been filed against Boeing alleging people got sick after breathing toxic air, according to WGNTV.com. The news agency also noted 17 lawsuits have been filed in Britain against Airbus.
While attorney McLaughlin is not involved in any related personal injury cases, he has been working closely with the attorneys handling those cases. These personal injury cases are distinct from the workers' compensation claims filed by the flight attendants that are being handled by McLaughlin.
Any airline worker injured after breathing toxic cabin air should not suffer in silence. If you were injured on the job, you have a right to pursue a workers' compensation claim. In complicated cases such as claims involving "bleed air" problems, you will need an experienced attorney like Robert McLaughlin in your corner.
For a free consultation, call McLaughlin & Sanchez at 866-324-9558. You also can reach the firm by completing the online contact form.