- February 9, 2023
- Attorney Matt Stoddard
- Premises Liability
As this blog has noted many a time before, the most dangerous part of flying in and out of Atlanta is what happens on the ground. Simply walking through Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is far more likely to result in serious injury than the flight itself.
From escalator accidents and shuttle bus crashes, to Plane Train brake issues, questionable COVID procedures, and children falling down luggage chutes, we’ve covered plenty of the hazards that travelers face in the largest airport in the world.
But what about the people who spend every working day at the airport, helping others get where they’re going? Hartsfield-Jackson has just as much of a duty to protect its workers as its passengers — and it sometimes lets them down as well.
One Airport Worker Nearly Killed Another by Driving Distracted on the Tarmac
Camdyn Davis, a 19-year-old Delta Airlines employee, was directing air traffic out on the tarmac in her reflective safety vest, when a lavatory service truck struck her from behind. The truck was moving at speed and rolled all the way over her before coming to a stop. The driver immediately confessed to distracted driving, saying he was looking at his tablet at the time.
Davis was admitted to Grady Hospital with injuries to her skull, neck, and brain. According to her mother, she was briefly discharged and then readmitted with the discovery of additional brain bleeds. She returned home on December 12th, two days after the accident, still in need of 24-hour care. Her mother has also reported possible changes in behavior and cognition.
Davis’s recovery prognosis is currently uncertain, as is often the case with new traumatic brain injuries. It can be difficult even for experts to tell which changes, if any, will become permanent.
The collision was caught on camera, and Davis’s family has been sharing a clip of the footage, combined with a recording of what seems to be another airport worker, pleading with drivers to slow down and be aware of their surroundings.
The point the video hammers home is absolutely valid — this horrible experience for Davis and her family could, and should, have been avoided.
Hartsfield-Jackson and Its Contractors Are All Responsible for Keeping People Safe
Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is, in practice, far more than a single organization. It runs on the work of hundreds of separate companies and their employees. Delta Airlines is one of the most prominent brands to operate out of Hartsfield-Jackson, but other types of services, from concessions to construction, are also performed by contractors.
So, when something goes as terribly wrong as it did on December 10th, it can raise legitimate questions about who bears responsibility.
In this case, Davis will probably be able to collect a modest worker’s comp settlement through her employment with Delta, because her injuries occurred on the job. That would be the limit of Delta’s responsibility, however. To get full compensation for her losses and pain, her best bet would be a lawsuit against another involved contractor, or against the airport itself.
Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is responsible for coordinating and overseeing what happens on its premises, to maintain a hazard-free space for anyone who has a right to be there. That includes airline employees like Davis.
Hartsfield-Jackson might also be directly responsible for the lavatory truck driver’s on-the-job conduct, if he’s an airport employee. If he works for another contractor, on the other hand, that contractor would share liability for Davis’s injuries.
The Stoddard Firm has acted as lead counsel in multiple large cases against Hartsfield-Jackson and its contractors. Furthermore, Matthew Stoddard has been through flight training and has a pilot’s license. There’s no one better suited to argue the ins and outs of airport operations and safety obligations.
If you are Camdyn Davis, or if you have also been injured at Hartsfield-Jackson, reach out to learn more about how we can help.