United passenger told lawyer his experience was "more harrowing" than fleeing Vietnam War

A lawyer for David Dao said the doctor suffered a concussion and a broken nose and also lost two teeth

Published April 13, 2017 8:17PM (EDT)

David Dao   (YouTube/Inside Edition)
David Dao (YouTube/Inside Edition)

David Dao, the passenger dragged off a United flight earlier this week, suffered a concussion and a broken nose and also lost two teeth, his attorney said on Thursday.

Dao, a 69-year-old Vietnamese-American doctor, was released from the hospital on Wednesday night, according to news reports. His lawyer said he will still need to undergo reconstruction surgery for his nose.

"For long time airlines, United in particular, have bullied us," the attorney, Thomas Demetrio, said in a press conference in Chicago on Thursday. "Dr. Dao, I believe to his great credit, has come to understand that he is the guy, the guy to stand up for all passengers going forward."

Demetrio said that a lawsuit is likely to happen, arguing that passengers cannot be removed from their seat with unreasonable force under the law.

According to an investigation by MapLight, a nonprofit government watchdog, United spent millions of dollars "to fight legislation that included measures to create minimum airline seat sizes; require airlines to allow families to sit together on flights; and prohibit airlines from charging customers to use an airplane bathroom."

Demetrio told reporters that Dao told him that being violently ejected from the United flight was "more harrowing" than fleeing from Vietnam, which he did in 1975. Crystal Dao Pepper, the doctor's daughter, spoke at the news conference and explained that her family was "horrified, shocked and sickened" by the events that occurred. She explained that Dao was returning from a vacation in California, and described him as a "wonderful father" and "loving grandfather."

"What happened to my dad should have never happened to any human being," she said.

Reuters reported:

Demetrio and a second attorney, Stephen Golan, said neither they nor the family had heard from United yet.

United, in a statement, said Munoz and the company "called Dr. Dao on numerous occasions to express our heartfelt and deepest apologies." The company did not comment on what its response would be to any litigation, and did not comment on whether the airline would try to settle with Dao.

Dao's lawyers filed an emergency request with an Illinois state court on Wednesday to require United Continental Holdings Inc and the City of Chicago to preserve video recordings and other evidence related to Sunday's incident, which would be a precursor to a lawsuit.

Following the press conference, United released yet another statement about the incident (following others earlier this week), expressing a "steadfast commitment to make this right."

"This horrible situation has provided a harsh learning experience from which we will take immediate, concrete action. We have committed to our customers and our employees that we are going to fix what's broken so this never happens again."

Watch the entire press conference below:

By Charlie May

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