Gaby Assouline: Family of disabled woman who fell off plane walkway sue Southwest Airlines for 'wrongful death'
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA: A 25-year-old woman tragically lost her life nearly a year after she plummeted from a Southwest Airlines jetway. Gaby Assouline sustained life-threatening injuries when she plunged from her wheelchair down a gateway bridge last year.
Now her devastated family has announced that they are going to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the company. Assouline died on Sunday, January 22, after she spent 11 months while being bedridden in a hospital. The airlines was previously sued for their negligence by the family, in order to recoup costs associated with Assouline’s medical bill that demanded millions of dollars.
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What happened to Gaby Assouline?
Assouline was traveling from South Florida to Denver in February last year, according to the Broward County suit, when she sought the help of someone to push her wheelchair down the corridor. The suit claims that Assouline was forced to take on the jet bridge alone as a Southwest supervisor at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport declined her request.
The Florida native then fell down from the plane bridge onto her head, and caused some serious injuries that left her paralyzed from the neck down, her relatives said. The airlines, however, gave a totally different narrative altogether. They claimed that it was Assouline herself who declined the help and that they should not be blamed for the accident.
What did Assouline's family's attorney say?
“Southwest has crossed their arms and are blaming Gaby,” the family's attorney Robert Solomon said, according to New York Post. “She fought for 11 months. Her family fought for 11 months. Now I’m going to fight on their behalf. You have a family that was fulling expecting her to come home,” he added. Soloman further added, “But there were complications, and now they are sitting shiva.”
Attorney Solomon said he is now amending and resubmitting the suit. “What was a negligence case will now become a wrongful death suit,” Solomon said, adding, “Gaby did everything right here, and now the family is mourning her death.” Assouline was traveling to see her sister in Denver from the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport when the unfortunate incident occurred. Solomon said that her sister spent a huge amount of money to prepare her residence to accommodate Assouline's special needs. The mother was optimistic about the fact that her daughter would make a full recovery.
Solomon said that Assouline "was a meticulous woman, a college graduate." “She had the trip planned out, along with her mother. It was her first time flying alone. This should have never happened," he added. Assouline's mother said her daughter was aware of her condition after the accident. “The fear and pain she is showing in her eyes when she wakes up in those brief moments of clarity is too much to bear,” her mother said at the time.
Southwest Airlines said it "offers its sincere condolences to Ms. Assouline’s family, friends, and all whose lives she touched," in a statement released by the company this week. “We have a more than 51-year commitment to caring for our People and Customers and remain engaged with the parties involved," Southwest Airlines continued in the statement.