American Airlines refuses to reimburse St. Louis man after allegedly misplacing his $26k prosthetic leg

Francis Akhalbey May 11, 2023
Michael Williams said American Airlines has refused to reimburse him after the company lost his prosthetic leg -- Images via FOX 2

A disabled St. Louis man is calling on American Airlines to properly reimburse him after the company allegedly lost his $26,000 prosthetic leg during a 2020 flight. According to FOX 2, the incident occurred while Michael Williams was flying back to St. Louis from Indianapolis.

“Dealing with a prosthetic leg is not as easy as people think it is,” Williams said. “You can’t do this to somebody that’s disabled. Just say, ‘Hey, we lost something of yours, but we’re not going to pay for it,’” he added.

Prior to boarding the flight, Williams said he put his “special-made leg” in his suitcase and also put a “sticker on it that says ‘fragile.” “I gave it to the young lady at American Airlines when I was checking in. When I get to St. Louis airport, they roll me downstairs to baggage claim. I’m sitting there waiting for my luggage to come off, and never comes off,” he recalled.

Following the loss, Williams said he submitted a claim detailing what had gone missing and also followed all the protocols for American Airlines’ delayed or damaged baggage claims. He said the company later sent him a reimbursement check for about $600.

“When I spoke with the young lady that was handling the claim, she told me this was to cover the clothes that you lost. I was like, ‘Ok, fine, great,” he recalled.

However, when he reached out to the airline company some weeks later to ask about compensation for his prosthetic leg, Williams said a representative told him they weren’t going to pay for the leg because they “don’t have enough proof or evidence to pay for the leg.”

Williams has since hired an attorney to look into the case, FOX 2 reported. He says the missing prosthetic leg cost him $26,650, adding that it also fit him perfectly. “When you find the one that works, that’s the one you want to hold onto,” Williams said.

He also said he hopes American Airlines would review its earlier decision and compensate him for losing his prosthetic leg. “It’s to the point where I don’t want to fly. I feel like if I fly again, what if I have to fly with my wheelchair and they lose my wheelchair this time,” said Williams. “And they tell me we lost your power wheelchair, but hey, we’re not going to do anything about it. It’s like, what do you do?”

American Airlines is yet to respond to FOX 2 after the news outlet contacted the company about Williams’ missing prosthetic leg.

Last Edited by:iboateng Updated: May 12, 2023


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