A long serving British Airways flight steward, Terry O’Driscoll has recently won £13,000 in damages, after being bitten by a US spider whilst working on a long haul flight.

It is thought that Terry had been bitten by a brown recluse spider in May 2013. This happened whilst at work, in the staff resting area during a long-haul jumbo jet flight, travelling to Denver, Colorado. Terry O’Driscoll feared losing his hand after being bitten by the venomous spider, whilst relaxing in the crew rest area during a flight from Heathrow to the United States in May 2013.  Although the source of the bite was never definitely identified, an expert stated that the breed of spider is native to the US.

Terry told Central London county court that at first, he felt a small nip, and did not report the bite to anyone. As the days went on, he became increasingly worried, as his finger began to swell and sore. He had to undergo intensive treatment, to fight a severe infection and save his hand. The infection was deemed ‘life and limb threatening,’ by one medical expert at a local hospital near his home in Cork.

A judge at Central London County Court awarded Mr O’Driscoll £13,000 in damages, BA being sued for failing to safe proof his place of work.

British Airways was criticised for “insufficient” action over the incident, the airline having “poor reporting systems” and failing to prevent the menace of harmful insects and spiders.

British Airways fought the case, stating that Mr O’Driscoll could have been bitten anywhere; bugs are unwittingly carried onto planes during flights via passengers and crew members. BA argued that bites such as these “could not have been foreseen.”

However, the Judge ruled in Mr O’Driscoll’s favour, as Judge stated that BA had failed to prevent bugs infesting the crew’s bunk area.  Terry O’Driscoll had been a BA flight attendant for 30 years.

If you have wrongfully sustained an injury that wasn’t your fault, whether it is in the work place or elsewhere, you too may be eligible to make a claim for damages. At Ison Harrison, we deal with a wide breadth of personal injury claims – including complex and unusual cases such as this.

If you have any queries relating to the content of this article, please contact Gareth Naylor on 0113 284 5014, or alternatively email gareth.naylor@isonharrison.co.uk.


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