Slip and fall accidents may happen literally anywhere. Commonly, they happen on trips or vacations, at hotels and motels.
“While most of us do not think about this, traveling offers its own set of dangers, ranging from lousy drivers in another city to unsafely maintained places where we rest our weary heads at night,” said Robert W. Lee, a personal injury attorney of Lee, Gober & Reyna in Austin, Texas.
Take the case of the Doe’s, who were on their way to a major city in the U.S. After realizing that they were running late at the end of the day, they opted to stay in a hotel close to the city. It looked clean and tidy and had a vacancy, and at 2 a.m., almost anything with a room available looked attractive. What the Doe’s did not count on was the condition of the rooms. The ceiling in the bathroom fell in chunks on Jane Doe while she was having a shower. The sheets on the bed had nasty stains on them and the tile flooring was loose in several locations.
During what was left of the rest of the night, John Doe got up to use the facilities and tripped over a loose tile. He fell, hitting his head on the corner of a desk. He sustained traumatic brain injury, a broken ankle and a sprained knee.
“Did the hotel know about the loose tiles? Evidently they did, but had not gotten around to fixing them. Did they frequently inspect their property? In court files, it was revealed the hotel was inspected about once a year and a list of things needing to be done was compiled. Whether or not any of those things actually got done was another question. From the shape of the rest of the premises, the answer was likely not,” Lee said.
Of interest to travelers is that many franchise and chains hotels are required to pass monthly inspections to make sure they are safe and reflect the values of the brand name. While they may be done, it does not mean the potential dangers are always caught. Properties that are not part of a franchise system may not get regular inspections.
“Some of the more common accidents that happen in hotels are burns from scalding water, slips and falls near a swimming pool, chairs or beds collapsing, loose rugs, wet floors that are not clearly marked as being dangerous, loose hand railings and poor lighting,” Lee said.
The results of a slip and fall accident may cause the unfortunate victim to break bones, sprain joints and sustain head injuries. Some of these injuries, while they sound mild, may have the potential to lead to death. For instance, if someone happens to grab a loose handrail or balcony rail and it pulls out, it could send the person plummeting to the floor or down several stories. Would these incidents have been avoidable if the hotel owner had maintained their property in safe condition?
“Without any doubt, the victims would not be victims had the property owners taken care of their property and kept it safe for visitors and taken care of anything wrong immediately,” Lee said. “If you have been hurt in a slip and fall accident at a hotel, you may be entitled to compensation based on the grounds of premises liability, as property owners may be held responsible for negligence for not keeping their property safe.”
“If this has happened to you, please, feel free to call me and let’s talk about your situation. If I can help you in any way, I will. The first consultation is free. If we proceed beyond that first consultation, you have my word you will receive first class representation,” Lee said.