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Accidents at Hotels - Case Studies

Client Complains About Child Accident at Hotel

Mr and Mrs S were staying at a hotel in the Lake District, when one of their young children was injured while having a bath. He put his hands under the running hot water tap, and was immediately in absolute agony. He was taken to hospital with second degree burns. After the child’s wounds were dressed, his hands were bandaged and he was discharged.

Mr and Mrs S complained to the hotel about the accident, and Mr S was able to examine the water boiler in their room, which he found was set to the maximum temperature of 65 degrees centigrade. The boiler had recently been serviced, but had not been reset to its normal temperature of around 45 degrees centigrade. The family were offered a refund on their stay, but decided to leave the English hotel the same day of the accident and return home.

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Mr S decided to seek legal advice as he felt his son’s accident, and relatively serious burn injuries, were wholly the responsibility of the hotel. We represented his son in a no win no fee compensation claim against the hotel’s owners, arguing that our client’s injuries had been caused by a maintenance failure at the hotel at the time of the family’s stay. The water heater in their bathroom had recently been serviced by a maintenance worker, who had failed to readjust the temperature controller to the correct, safe level, after completing his work. Water at 65 degrees centigrade is too hot for even brief human contact, and it was therefore reasonably foreseeable that Mr S’s son would burn himself while using the running bath. On admission of liability, our client received £3,500 in compensation for the accident at the hotel, to be held in trust for him by the court until he reaches the legal age of 18.
Ms B was having breakfast in her hotel’s dining area, when she slipped and fell on some orange juice that had been spilled by another guest, spraining her ankle, as well as tearing ligaments in her knee. Hotel staff called an ambulance, and she was taken to the local hospital’s A&E department. Doctors applied a plaster cast to her leg, and she was later discharged on crutches, with orders to rest and avoid putting any weight on her leg while her muscles and ligaments healed. Ms B’s husband had filed an accident report with the hotel, and complained to management, who refused to accept responsibility for the accident, despite several other guests confirming that the spilled orange juice had been on the floor for some time prior to Ms B slipping on it.

Ms B got in touch with Bartletts Solicitors, having read about our experience of successfully suing hotels for accidents involving guests. We wrote to the hotel’s owners stating that, in this instance, they had not taken the necessary ‘reasonable’ measures to protect guests from the risk of injury. It was later confirmed that the hotel’s restaurant had been short-staffed on the morning of the accident, and due to this, the normal system of inspection and cleaning in the dining area had broken down. The spillage that caused Ms B’s injuries should have been cleared up within a reasonable time-frame, and the hotel had negligently failed in this regard. After further correspondence, the hotel’s owners accepted liability for the accident, and Ms B received £2,600 in compensation.
Mr A was injured while attending a wedding reception at a country hotel in 2010, and successfully sued the hotel for damages. At the evening dinner and dancing event, Mr A was looking for the toilets, and found one available in the outdoor courtyard. As he was leaving the toilets, he slipped on the wooden access ramp, which was wet and slippery due to the rainy weather conditions that night, and fell awkwardly, tearing ligaments in his ankle and bad bruising his shoulder. Mr A was assisted by other guests, and subsequently driven to a nearby hospital’s A&E unit, where he was attended to by a consultant orthopaedic surgeon. Mr A was on crutches for 2 weeks after the accident, and was unable to work for over a month. He also required extensive physiotherapy sessions to regain full mobility in both his ankle and shoulder.

Bartletts Solicitors went on the represent Mr A in a no win no fee personal injury compensation claim against the hotel’s parent company. In corresponding with them and their insurers, we maintained that the hotel should have had measures in place to ensure that fixtures like the access ramps outside the toilets in the hotel’s courtyard were kept free from rainwater, or were covered in anti-slip material to prevent them becoming slippery and hazardous. This was a breach of the Occupier's Liability Act 1957, and a general breach of the duty of care the hotel owed Mr A as a visitor. We were able to gain an admission of liability from the hotel, confirming the fact that the establishment’s negligence was the primary cause of our client’s injuries. Mr A later received £4,750 in compensation.
Mrs V was on a weekend break with her husband when she was injured while checking into their hotel through no fault of her own. Mrs V tripped over an electrical power cable in the lobby of the hotel. At the time, the marble floor was being polished by a member of the hotel’s cleaning staff, and as the floor was black it was difficult to see the trailing power cable. Mrs V tripped and fell forwards, spraining her wrist and dislocating her finger in the accident. Her weekend break was effectively ruined because of her injuries, but she met with an unsympathetic response from the hotel’s deputy manager (the full time manager was away that weekend), who told her that she should have noticed that the floor was being cleaned at the time, and would not even offer her a refund on the couple’s stay.

Mrs V’s husband phoned Bartletts Solicitors a few weeks later having read online about a similar case we handled previously, and our lawyers advised him that his wife had strong grounds for making a personal injury claim against the hotel. We agreed to represent her on a no win no fee basis, and sent a letter of claim to the hotel’s insurers, arguing that the hotel had breached the duty of care that they owed Mrs V as a legitimate visitors to their premises, because the trailing electrical power cable was an obvious tripping hazard and cleaning of this kind should not have been carried out while guests were checking in. The hotel’s parent company acknowledged responsibility for the accident and we were subsequently able to negotiate a compensation settlement for Mrs V totalling £2,750.

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