Man suing Southwest for $49,000 after carry-on bag fell on him

Upon landing, airline flight attendants always warn passengers to open overhead bins with caution as carry-on luggage may have shift during the flight. But what about before take-off?

One man is suing Southwest Airlines for $49,000 after suffering a compressed disc when a piece of luggage fell on him from the overhead bin while boarding a flight to Las Vegas.

Jeffrey Reinhardt was on a Southwest plane gated at Portland International Airport on Jan. 17, 2013 when a fellow passenger tried to fit another piece of luggage in the bin above him, according to the lawsuit filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court. A Southwest attendant came over to assist the passenger when a piece of baggage fell on Reinhardt who was already seated.

In the days following the incident, Reinhardt says he suffered a compressed disc, suffered several strains and tears to muscles in his back and neck, resulting in headaches, nausea, dizziness and decreased range of motion. He is seeking $10,000 in medical expenses, $5,000 for lost income and $34,000 for pain and suffering.

The suit faults the airline for allowing a passenger to carry a piece of luggage on board that was too large for the overhead bin, as well as failing to properly train the flight attendant for how to deal with luggage in overstuffed bins. The suit does not name the passenger with the errant luggage and Reinhardt is not seeking compensation from him.

In 1998, a study estimated that 4,500 passengers and flight attendant are injured each year due to baggage that falls out of overhead bins. But lawsuits resulting from such accidents are still uncommon, reports the Oregonian.

Southwest did not immediately respond to a request for comment on this story.