During a regular trip from Maui, Hawaii to Spokane, Washington, a 75-year-old woman fell down an escalator. She died from her injuries 4 months later, and family members sued Alaska Airlines. The wrongful death lawsuit alleged that the accident would not have occurred had Alaska Airlines provided the gate-to-gate escort services the family requested.

Although the airline tried to blame the decedent for this horrific fall, the jury found Alaska Airlines 90% responsible for the incident. Gate agents met the elderly woman at the gate in the Portland International Airport and escorted her across the sky bridge. Then, they left the woman alone to find her connecting flight instead of accompanying her to the next gate. Surveillance footage shows the woman wheeling around the airport, becoming confused, then wheeling herself towards – and falling down – a 21-step escalator.

Complications from the woman’s injuries led to a septic infection, an amputation, and ultimately, her death. The case was ultimately settled for $3.2 million.

Legal Rights Upheld

In response to this tragedy and the wrongful death suit that followed, Alaska Airlines tried to have the case dismissed. The company then claimed that the family should never have let the woman travel by herself. Fortunately, the victims’ rights were protected by law. The Air Carrier Access Act allows passengers with disabilities to travel by air and requires airlines to provide assistance with boarding, deplaning, and making connections. The decedent’s daughter confirmed she called Alaska Airlines several times to make sure her mother would get the help she needed.

Not only did Alaska Airlines’ negligence result in a preventable accident resulting in death, but the airline also tried to shirk responsibility and put the family through a grueling, 3-year legal battle. The decedent’s daughter broke down in tears after receiving the verdict, telling KIRO 7: “We got justice for my mom.” While the sense of justice is overwhelming for the family, nothing will replace talking with, cooking with, and going to church with their beloved family member. “She was our somebody,” the victim’s daughter reminds readers everywhere.

Have You Lost a Loved One?

Every wrongful death lawsuit involves a family losing “their somebody,” and companies like Alaska Airlines often try to avoid liability. At Clark, Fountain, La Vista, Prather & Littky-Rubin, our wrongful death lawyers have a history of successfully litigating cases involving transportation companies, airline and airport employees and contractors, and product manufacturers.

No amount of money can change what happened, but a sense of accountability and fairness can help families move forward, and bring closure after their devastating loss.

Clark Fountain Represents Aviation Crash Victims in Wrongful Death and Catastrophic Injury Claims

A 58-year-old pilot died in an airplane accident in Illinois after a portion of the aircraft wing and/or engine detached during flight. Partners Mark W. Clark and Ben J. Whitman filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the FAA-approved aircraft maintenance company that serviced the plane a month prior to the crash, as well as the manufacturer of the wing components. The firm retained a materials engineer and aviation expert who determined that the aircraft maintenance company failed to properly perform the repair of the aircraft wings, thereby allowing the skin on the wing to peel off during flight. In addition, Clark and Whitman with the assistance of their experts were able to identify a manufacturing defect in the wing component parts. As a result, they were able to negotiate a confidential settlement and hold the defendants accountable for the wrongful death of the pilot.

In a similar case, Clark represented an engineer who sustained catastrophic injuries in an airplane crash after the aircraft’s propeller struck the runway and stalled the engine while attempting to land. Our client was airlifted to a local hospital and sustained burst fractures to his thoracic and lumbar spine, bleeding on the brain, and a 49% permanent whole body impairment. Both aviation accident cases settled for confidential amounts.

Free Consultation with our Legal Experts

If you have lost a loved one due to another’s negligence, our board-certified attorneys can advocate for you. We have more than 200 years of combined experience and are confident in our ability to stand up to any opponent, including corporations like Alaska Airlines.

Call us at or contact us online to schedule your free consultation today – no recovery, no fee.