Woman Claiming Screaming Child Passenger Caused Deafness Settles

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Everyone hates sitting near screaming kids on planes, but an American woman has apparently reached a settlement with Australian airline Qantas after alleging a screaming child caused her to go deaf on a flight.

It was unclear whether the "confidential" settlement included any payment by the carrier.

According to Australian Associated Press (AAP), Jean Barnard claimed the incident occurred after she boarded a flight from Alice Springs to Darwin, Australia, last year. She was seated near a three-year-old who she said leaned towards her and screamed so loud blood came out of her ears and she couldn't hear.

Barnard was helped off the plane and taken to an Alice Springs hospital. She had been on a "dream trip" to Australia and New Zealand.

"The pain was so excruciating that I didn't even know I was deaf," Barnard said during a deposition for a civil lawsuit she filed against Qantas in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, AAP reports.

The 67-year-old claimed she suffered permanent injuries from the child's scream. She sought, among other things, damages for both physical and mental suffering, medical expenses and loss of income.

Barnard's lawyer argued Qantas was negligent because the plane's crew failed "to take all the necessary precautions" to prevent the incident, AAP reports.

The airline argued the woman had a hearing problem before she arrived in Australia, including wearing hearing aids, and that the crew cannot be responsible for the acts of a three-year-old.

In an email to AAP, Barnard wrote that she had signed a "confidential release and settlement agreement with Qantas," and that she had agreed not to further discuss the incident.

"There is a confidential settlement and we can't make any comment," Qantas' senior executive vice president for The Americas, Wally Mariani, tells AAP.

Photo, jimmyharris, flickr
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