Dao suffered a concussion and a broken nose, and will undergo reconstructive surgery after losing two front teeth, Demetrio said.
In an effort to save face, United announced last week that it would reimburse all the passengers on the flight where a passenger was beaten, bloodied, and removed from his seat. Dr. David Dao had more bad news for the airline when he hired one of the country's foremost trial lawyers to represent him.
The company has also vowed that law enforcement will not be asked to eject passengers from overbooked flights in the future as part of its ongoing efforts to "deliver the best customer experience".
The treatment of Dao sparked worldwide outrage, as well as multiple apologies from the carrier, and raised questions about overbooking policies of airlines. When nobody offered, the airline randomly chose passengers.
Even if United could pursue legal action, Anthony Rickman, a former prosecutor turned defense attorney in Tampa, said the airline is already facing a public relations nightmare that would only be compounded by an attack on the passengers who captured the incident on video.
The union for the airline's pilots issued a statement Thursday seeking to distance them from the incident, pointing out that it happened on a United Express carrier that is "separately owned and operated by Republic Airline" and that United pilots weren't flying the jet. Dr. Dao was one of them.
The 69-year-old physician had refused to leave, saying he needed to go home to see his patients.
As the PR disaster for United Airlines continues to rage on in the aftermath of a passenger being forcibly dragged off a flight, the airline is taking steps to ensure it doesn't happen again.
United crews previously could be booked on flights until the time of departure. She said "employees are empowered to intervene in all situations with guidance to do right by our Customers". That increased to 79 percent among those who indicated they had heard about the United incident recently, while it was about evenly split among those who hadn't.
United has said it is examining policies including booting passengers off sold-out flights, and has promised a complete review by April 30. The airline also said all passengers on the flight would get a refund.