Air Canada staff injured woman when lifting her out of wheelchair without consulting her, lawsuit alleges
Bonnie Hayes, who has paraplegia and polio, suing airline for negligence
A woman from Penticton, B.C., claims Air Canada staff injured her when they lifted her out of her wheelchair without consulting her first.
The airline failed to take "reasonable care to ensure that passengers who require extra assistance in boarding would be reasonably safe," and failed to properly train its employees, Bonnie Hayes alleges in a notice of civil claim.
Hayes has paraplegia, which affects the function of her lower extremities, as well as acute polio.
When she travels by plane, she usually requests an aisle seat with an armrest that lifts up so she can easily maneouver herself from her chair to her seat, safely.
But on a flight from Vancouver to Penticton last December, her request was not granted and she was assigned a seat with a stationary arm, according to court documents.
As a result, she was unable to lift herself into her seat.
The documents say two Air Canada employees then "unilaterally elected" to pick Hayes up by the arms and place her in her seat.
"Dr. Hayes cried out in pain during the incident and one of the two men involved apologized," the court documents say.
Hayes alleges that being picked up caused her immediate pain and ongoing injury to her shoulders and upper arms.
She is seeking damages for both past and future health-care expenses, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life and loss of earnings.
The lawsuit also claims members of her family experienced monetary loss because of the "time and effort" involved in taking care of her and her house while she was injured.
None of the allegations have been proven in court. Air Canada has yet to file an official response.
In an email, Air Canada declined to comment on the matter because it is before the court.