Today I’m going to show you exactly how to get the biggest hotel injury settlement in 2022.
In this comprehensive guide I’ll cover:
- How much hotel injury cases are worth
- How to increase the value of your hotel negligence case
- Recent hotel injury settlements (and some from other years)
- How to sue a hotel
- Advanced hotel injury claim tips
So if you want to get the biggest possible payout as fast as possible, you’ll love this updated guide.
Let’s get started.
Table of contents
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Hotel Accident Claims and Settlements
- Does a hotel owe you money if you’re also at fault for causing the accident?
- $300,000 Settlement for Accident Caused By Hotel Valet
- $240,000 Hotel Trip and Fall Settlement in Florida (2021)
- $250,000 Settlement for Hotel Slip and Fall (Florida)
- Other Complaints About the Same Hazard (May Get You a Bigger Settlement)
- Example of using the internet to get a bigger payout
- $197,500 Settlement for Hotel Slip and Fall (Injury in Room)
- $160,000 Settlement for Hotel Negligence Case (Trip and Fall)
- Do you need to hire an expert witness to get a fair settlement?
- $100,000 Settlement with Resort for Trip and Fall
- $60,000 Payout after Shower Glass Breaks and Guest Injures His Knee
- $31,500 Settlement for Sliced Leg From Shattered Shower Glass
- Taking Photos May Greatly Help Your Case
- What should you do if the hotel starts to fix the hazard that caused your injury?
- $18K Settlement for Quadriceps Tear from Slip and Fall at Hotel (Miami)
- $15K Settlement for Slip and Fall at Residence Inn by Marriott (Hotel)
- $15K Settlement for Hotel Guest Whose Toe Struck the Base of the Bed
- $13K Settlement for Trip and Fall on Step at Hotel (Broken Arm)
- Hotel Guest Gets $5K+ for Knee Injury from Slip and Fall (Naples, Florida)
- What Types of Compensation Can You Get if You’re Hurt at a Hotel?
- Does a hotel have to give you the accident report form if you’re hurt there?
- Is a Florida hotel required to give you a copy of your written statement if you were injured on its property?
- What should you include in your first letter that you send the hotel?
- Does a hotel have to tell how much insurance they have?
- Premises Liability Claims against Florida Hotels, Resorts and Motels
- Hotel, Resort and Motel Playground Accidents
- Do I have a case if I am sitting on a wall mount shower bench seat and it collapses?
- Guest Bathroom Cases
- Are Hotel Accident Cases Similar to Cases Against Walmart or Publix Supermarket?
- What is the Full settlement value of a hotel accident case?
- Will a Hospital Reduce your bill if you’re hurt at a hotel?
- How much is pain and suffering worth in a hotel injury case?
- Will past injury settlements help you calculate compensation in a hotel accident case?
- What is Medical Payments Coverage in a Hotel’s Liability Insurance Policy?
- Hotel Restaurant and Store Accident Claims
- Who’s the Best Attorney Who Specializes in Hotel Injury Cases in Florida?
- Only Hire an Attorney Who Is Willing to Sue
- Hire an Honest Florida Hotel Accident Lawyer
- Should a tourist hire an attorney who has settled cases for out of state visitors who were hurt at a Florida hotel?
- If a Car Hits a Pedestrian on Hotel Property, Does the Pedestrian Have a Case?
- Who do I make a claim against if a hotel’s valet driver hits me?
- Does an injured person’s marital status affect an injury claim against a hotel?
- Can a Florida Lawyer Pay a Referral Fee to an Out Of State (or Foreign) Attorney in a Florida hotel accident case?
- Is my Hotel Injury Case worth less if I did not take an ambulance to the hospital?
- Can a hotel insurance adjuster close a victim’s injury claim without his or her consent?
- Do pre-existing injuries affect a Hotel accident case value?
- Don’t Agree to a Confidential Settlement in a Hotel Injury Case
- Do Gaps in treatment hurt my Hotel Accident Case?
- My Experience as a Hotel Accident Lawyer
- Do Some Hotel Insurance Companies Pay Better Than Others?
- How Long Does an Injured Person Have to Sue a hotel for Personal Injury?
- What third party administrators (TPAs) handle hotel injury claims?
- Liquor Liability Accident Claims Against Florida Hotels
- Injury Claims caused by a Hotel’s Courtesy Transportation
- Which Injuries Are Worth the Most in a Hotel Accident Case?
- What do you need to get a personal injury settlement with a hotel that is $250,000 or more?
- Will the hotel’s insurance policy cover the hotel management company?
- 76 factors May affect whether you have an Injury case Against a Hotel
- Injury Claims against a Hotel for Poor Security
- Starwood Hotels in Florida
- How does Starwood Hotels use predictive analytics?
- Best Western Hotel Accident Claims
- Hard Rock Hotel Injury Claims
- Who are the largest hotel franchisees in Florida?
- If you were hurt at a hotel in the Bahamas, can you get compensation?
- I want to represent you if you were injured at a Florida hotel
Some of the settlements below are from 2021 and other years.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Hotel Accident Claims and Settlements
I’ve collected a bunch of frequently asked questions. Please review them carefully before handling a hotel accident claim.
In order to sue a hotel for your injury, the hotel must have done something wrong to cause it. This is called negligence. Without negligence, you can’t sue the hotel for your injury.
However, few lawsuits are filed against hotels in comparison to the amount of injuries that happen at hotels. The majority of claims against hotels are either settled or closed without the injured person suing.
If you think that a hotel’s negligence caused your injury, take photos of the dangerous condition. Get witness statements or hire a lawyer to get them. A hotel accident lawyer will know what information to put in the witness statement.
Having the wrong information in a witness statement can destroy a case. A witness statement can be the difference between you getting a payout or not.
If you need medical treatment, get it. If you have a serious injury, speak with a hotel accident lawyer. You won’t be able to sue a hotel without a lawyer. Simply put, it is too complicated.
Be sure to only hire a hotel injury lawyer who has reached many settlements with hotels. Look for an attorney who has settled injury claims for accidents that have occurred at big hotel chains like the Hyatt, Marriott, W hotel, and others. I’ve settled injury claims for accidents that have occurred at those hotels. In August 2019, I reached a $250,000 settlement for a slip and fall at a resort near Orlando, Florida.
If you are injured at a Florida hotel, you can Get a Free Consultation with me to see if I can represent you.
My educated guess is that it is for under $15,000. This is because most accidents at hotels do not involve serious injuries. The injury severity is the biggest factor that determines the full value of the case.
The most common injury is just soreness or pain that quickly goes away. Often times, the guest’s injury is not bad enough for the guest to get medical treatment. These injuries may result in small settlements and many guests don’t may claims.
On the other hand, sometimes you will have a broken bone or a torn ligament. Occasionally, these injuries will lead to surgery. The biggest hotel injury payouts are usually the result of the guest having surgery.
Also, in many accidents the hotel did nothing wrong. If the hotel is not at fault, the guest does not have a personal injury case.
From August 2019 through January 2022, my average hotel accident settlement was $147,500. I’m talking about hotel negligence cases that I handled by myself.
My average hotel injury settlement is so high is because a couple of my settlements were big. One was a slip and fall, and the other was a trip and fall. This helped increase my average settlement as I also settled some cases for under $65,000.
Also, I tend to take serious injury cases, which are usually worth much more than smaller injury claims.
This charts below shows that half of my hotel accident settlements in time period below were for $240,000 or more.
The average settlement is likely under $15,000. This is for two reasons. First, most slip and falls do not result in serious injuries.
Second, in order to win a slip and fall case, a guest must show that the hotel knew or should have known that there was a substance on the floor before the slip and fall. This is called proving notice. If you cannot prove that the hotel had notice of the slippery substance, you are not entitled to compensation.
Alternatively, you may be able to show that the floor was unreasonably slippery. To prove this, you will need to hire an expert who can test the floor’s slip resistance.
Below is a pie graph showing my hotel slip and fall, and trip and fall settlements from Aug 2019 through January 2022. (It does not include cases where an exploding shower door may have also caused injury to the guest.)
My average hotel fall down settlement was $176,666.
Yes, however you will likely need to have surgery to get a settlement over $40,000. Don’t expect a hotel’s insurance company to offer you more than $40,000 if you haven’t had surgery.
That said, there are a few situations where you may be able to get over $40,000 without surgery. One is if you have graphic photos of your injury. Another situation is if you have a serious fracture.
In addition to the above two situations, big medical bills help your chances of getting over $40,000.
There are other situations where you may be able to get over $40,000 without surgery. For example, if you have a brain bleed, the full value of the claim is likely worth over $40,000.
However, as a general rule, the biggest factor that increases your chances of settling for over $40,000 is having surgery. (I am not suggesting that you have surgery to increase the value of your case.)
Surgery is a huge value driver in hotel accident claims. In most cases, surgery increases the full value of a case to a greater degree than anything else.
I settled a hotel accident case for $197,500 settlement. In that case, the hotel guest ended up having two surgeries. Surgery greatly increased the value of her case. Without surgery, the offer would have been much smaller.
Maybe. The injured person doesn’t always have to sue a hotel to get a fair settlement. I’ve settled injury cases with hotels for fair value without filing a lawsuit.
However, there are times when a hotel denies liability, and offers nothing. This typically happens if the hotel’s insurer feels that the hotel did nothing wrong.
A hotel’s insurance company may also deny liability if they feel that someone else caused the accident. That “someone else” could be an installer or product manufacturer.
For example, a hotel may place blame on someone who installed something on the hotel’s property that caused your injury.
If a hotel or their insurer denies liability, you may have to sue to get compensation.
A big mistake is not taking photos of the hazard that caused your injury. Don’t expect the dangerous condition to be there in the future.
The hotel may fix it. I’ve seen hotels fix hazards within days after someone trips and falls.The time to take the photo is now. Don’t wait!
This assumes that you are still a guest at the hotel (or allowed to be on the property). You should not trespass to get back on to the hotel property.
If you tripped over a change of elevation (a raised surface), make sure that the photo shows the length of the change. You can use a ruler to do this.
Further below, you can see a close-up photo of measuring tape that shows the exact height of the curb (change of elevation) on a property. This exact height is important because if the change in height is too small the curb may not be considered dangerous.
If you don’t have access to a ruler, you can use a stack of pennies, or a deck of cards. Make sure that the photo shows the ruler (measuring the change in height).
You should also take several photos from further away, and from different angles.
Having a good photo that shows the change in height increases the chance that the hotel pays you fair value without a lawsuit. It may even increase the chance that the hotel (or its insurance company) pays you fair value during a lawsuit.
Does a hotel owe you money if you’re also at fault for causing the accident?
It will depend on the state where your accident happened.
Some states are more generous and allow you to get compensation for your hotel personal injury case even if you’re partly at fault.
However, your payout will be reduced in proportion to your percentage of fault. So if you’re 60% at fault, the hotel only owes 40% of the value of your injury claim. Of course, the hotel must be careless and cause your injury.
Florida is one of these states that allows you to get compensation even if you’re 51% or more at fault. And, thankfully, it’s where I’m a hotel accident lawyer.
Other states, like North Carolina, Virginia and others do not allow you to get a pain and suffering payout if you’re just 1% or more at fault.
That’s harsh! I imagine that hotel negligence cases are much tougher in these states.
As you can see from the map, most states allow you to still have a personal injury case if you’re under 50% at fault for causing the accident.
And some states require you to be under 51% at fault for causing the accident.
To determine fault, you apply the laws of the state where you were injured, and facts of the accident. If your case goes to trial, the judge will tell the jury how to apply the law to your case.
$300,000 Settlement for Accident Caused By Hotel Valet
Jose (not real name) was riding a motorcycle in South Florida.
A valet was driving a hotel guest’s car and crashed into Jose.
Jose got a Free Consultation with me (attorney Justin Ziegler). We spoke and he quickly hired me.
I jumped into action on his case.
USAA insured the car with a $300,000 bodily injury liability insurance limit. But they did not pay us immediately. Like all insurance companies, they played hardball.
Within two months after this accident, we settled with USAA for $300,000.
Here is the settlement check (redacted):
$240,000 Hotel Trip and Fall Settlement in Florida (2021)
Shirley was staying at a hotel in Hollywood, Florida. While she was in the pool courtyard, she tripped over a raised edge in the walkway. She said that she didn’t see it before she tripped.
Shirley had horrible shoulder pain. Paramedics came to the hotel and took her to the hospital.
There, an x-ray showed that she broke her upper arm bone (humerus).
Shortly thereafter, she searched for a hotel injury lawyer. I gave her a free consultation and she hired me.
After the fall, Shirley’s friend came to the hotel. She took a photo showing that the general area was blocked off.
As you can see from the photo, yellow caution tape was put up after the fall.
It was good to have this photo.
However, it would have been MUCH better if Shirley’s friend would have walked much closer to the alleged hazard that she tripped over and taken several photos of it. She should have taken photos from different angles.
Here is a tip:
Always take photos of the hazard (that caused your injury) from both close up and far away. And use measuring tape to measure the change in height of the walkway. I can’t stress this enough.
Shirley was eventually able to take photos and and video of the walkway. She sent them to me.
I added a red arrow to the area where Shirley claimed that she tripped and fell.
Take a look:
However, I could not see anything wrong with the walkway. This concerned me because, in a personal injury case against a hotel, you must show that the hotel did something wrong in order for you to get compensation.
If at the time of Shirley’s trip and fall, there was nothing wrong with the walkway, she would not have a winnable case.
I assume that the hotel owner or its management company fixed the walkway very quickly after her fall.
A doctor performed surgery on her broken arm
A doctor put a plate and screws in Shirley’s shoulder to fix her arm. This is an x-ray of her plate and screws in her arm.
They used staples to sew up her arm.
You can see the staples:
Medicare paid most of her medical bills.
Raphael and Associates handled the claim for the hotel’s insurance company, The Princeton Excess and Surplus Lines Insurance Company.
Raphael’s first offer to us was only $20,000! Take a look at my email to them after we got that offer.
Shirley’s treating orthopedic surgeon did not think Shirley would need a future surgery.
After a whopping 10 offers later, we settled with the hotel’s insurance company for over $240,000.
Here’s the redacted settlement check:
The good news?
The settlement was 12 times the hotel’s insurance company’s first offer.
Take a look:
When an insurance company calculates the settlement value of a case, they assign a certain value to pain and suffering.
I estimate that the hotel’s insurance company assigned $232,953 to pain and suffering.
Check it out:
We had to pay Medicare back from the settlement.
However, they had to reduce their claim by lawyer fees and costs. We paid Medicare $6,543 from the settlement.
After my attorney fees, costs, and paying Medicare and Shirley’s other health plans, she got $154,595 in her pocket.
I did not charge her a fee on $5,000 of the settlement, which was from the Medical payments coverage in the hotel’s insurance policy.
Shirley gave us a 5 star review on Google Maps.
Justin and Jenny [paralegal] are incredible!! They delivered in a big way financially helping me secure a significant settlement.
They also delivered in a caring way, understanding I was going through a very difficult and challenging time.
They were empathetic and personable; their world guidance and advise made everything so much easier for me.
I cannot thank them enough. I highly recommend working with them.
$250,000 Settlement for Hotel Slip and Fall (Florida)
Angela was staying at a resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Lake Buena is close to Orlando and Kissimmee.
While in the bathtub, she slipped and fell.
As a result, she broke her upper arm bone (humerus).
Paramedics took her to Orlando Health. There, she doctors performed surgery.
Shortly after her fall, she completed the Free consultation form on my website to see if I could represent her. Fortunately, I was able to represent her. She hired me as her personal injury attorney to make a claim against the hotel.
My position was that the hotel was liable for allowing the bathtub flooring to be to slippery.
This is an example of a first letter that I send to the hotel in a bathtub or shower slip and fall case. I change it to fit the facts of my case.
Of course, the hotel disagreed and told me that there was no issue with the flooring.
They offered $12,500 to settle. Take a look at an email from the hotel’s insurance company to me:
We rejected this offer.
The hotel’s insurance company later increased its settlement offer to $18,000.
Check out their email:
My client was still getting medical treatment at this point. She was not in a rush to settle.
I did what we do best. I built up the case. This including searching the internet to look for other guests who had complained about the same flooring that my client slipped on.
Why does this matter?
Because the more aware that a hotel is of a hazard on its property before an accident, the better for the guest’s injury case.
It took several hours to find other guest complaints about the flooring surface at the hotel. (In time, searching will become easier.)
I struck some gold. Fortunately, I found a few other guests’ complaints about the slipperiness of the same (or nearby) flooring where my client slipped and fell. I sent these complaints to the hotel insurance company’s adjuster.
The adjuster emailed me back. As you can see from her email, she said that the reviews had been considered, and she offered to settle for $205,000:
Shortly thereafter, I settled Angela’s personal injury claim for $250,000.
Take a look at the settlement check:
This was about 20 times the hotel’s insurance companies first offer!
Most of the Settlement was for Pain and Suffering
As with most broken bone cases, most of the settlement was for pain and suffering.
The best part?
We settled without a lawsuit. This saved my client a huge amount of stress and money. Let me explain.
Some attorneys get frustrated when the hotel’s insurance company doesn’t make a fast and fair offer to settle. (I was guilty of this about 10 or so years ago.) In large part due to their frustration, these attorneys sue the hotel.
But here’s the problem:
Once you sue, the hotel’s insurance company hires an attorney to defend it. The hotel (or its insurance company) pays its attorneys by the hour. Therefore, the more work they to do on the case, the more they can bill the hotel’s insurer. And many attorneys like to bill!
This is different than how the hotel guest’s attorney makes money. The guest’s attorney has a fee that is a percentage of the total settlement. The hotel guest’s attorney wants to get paid fair settlement value as fast as possible.
By not suing, my attorney’s fees were less
Again, I didn’t sue in this case. Thus, my attorney’s fees was 33 and 1/3 percent of the total settlement. If I would’ve sued, my fees would’ve gone up to 40%. Let’s assume that I sued and settled for $250,000. In that instance, my client would’ve had to pay me an extra $17,000! In this case, that’s another reason why I didn’t rush to sue.
Make no mistake about it. I sue.
Sometimes it’s necessary to sue. I’ve sued for personal injury in several state courts in Florida, and in federal court in Florida. However, I usually only sue after I give the insurance company a fair chance to settle. And this may involve some waiting.
That said, I explain the claim process so thoroughly to my clients that they always follow my advice. Once you understand how long it takes to settle a hotel injury case, it reduces your anxiety.
Most importantly, she was very happy with the settlement.
Learn more inside tips from this $250,000 hotel slip and fall settlement.
Other Complaints About the Same Hazard (May Get You a Bigger Settlement)
Both a hotel guest and his or her attorney want to get a fair settlement. On the other hand, the hotel’s insurance company wants to pay as little as possible to settle the case.
In fact, the hotel’s claim adjuster is likely evaluated by their average loss payouts (ALP). Although they don’t insurer hotels, GEICO has used average settlements to rank their adjusters.
But why would a hotel’s insurer be any different?
This means that the insurance company keeps track of each adjuster’s average settlement for hotel injury claims. All things equal, adjusters get promoted quicker if they have a lower average loss payout. At a minimum, if an adjuster’s ALP is too low, they’ll lose their job. And adjusters need to eat and feed their families too.
What’s the solution for the hotel guest (or his or her attorney)?
Use a good offense. The hotel guest or his or her lawyer should search internet for comments from other guests who have complained of the same hazard that caused the injury.
Example of using the internet to get a bigger payout
For example, assume that Bob is a guest at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. I chose this hotel just because it’s the biggest hotel in Miami-Dade County. (In 2018, the Greater Miami area and beaches got 16.5 Million overnight visitors and reported 6.8 Million “Day Trippers”. )
While walking in the hotel lobby, Bob slip and falls on water.
Maybe Bob hires a hotel accident lawyer. Perhaps he doesn’t. Either way, Bob argues that the hotel should have known that water was on the floor before his fall. Additionally, he also argues that the hotel’s flooring was unreasonably slippery when wet.
To maximize the case value, Bob (or his attorney) should look on the internet for comments by other guests at the same hotel who complained about the slipperiness of the flooring.
In all hotel negligence cases, you (or your attorney) should look at the hotel’s reviews online for other complaints about the same issue that caused your accident. Look at the reviews for that specific hotel location.
Earlier, I gave you an example of how I used other complaints of a potential hazard to get a $250,000 settlement.
How do you find other similar accidents or complaints online?
The search feature is a fantastic time saver instead of manually searching through thousands of individual reviews. It can literally save countless hours!
Google Maps seems to have more reviews than any other hotel review site.
The quickest way to look at reviews is by typing in a keyword that relates to the cause of your injury. For example, if you slipped and fell, you can type in the word “slippery”. This is quicker (more efficient) than individually looking through potentially thousands of reviews.
If you find other complaints about the same hazard, you (or your lawyer) should save them as a PDF document. If you don’t have a program that lets you save files as a PDF, you can use the “print screen” feature on your keyboard.
Once you’ve found and saved the reviews that help your case, you can send them to the hotel’s insurance company.
The more complaints that Bob can find from other guests, the better for Bob’s case.
Because this means that the hotel had more notice of the hazard before Bob’s accident. And Bob has a stronger argument that the hotel should’ve fixed the issue before Bob’s accident. In other words, Bob argument is as follows:
If the hotel would’ve acted reasonably, he would not have been injured.
Jurors are more likely to find a hotel liable if they believe that the accident was preventable. And you need the hotel to be liable (negligent) in order to have a personal injury case.
$197,500 Settlement for Hotel Slip and Fall (Injury in Room)
Regina (not actual name) lived Texas. On August 2, 2013, a guest was staying at the Marriott Courtyard hotel in Downtown Pensacola, Florida. She turned on the water in the bathtub in her hotel bathroom. She stepped into the tub, and slipped and fell.
The guest fractured her upper arm bone (humerus), and had surgery to fix it.
On August 14, 2013, Regina’s husband filled out a form on my website to Get a Free Consultation with me. He saw that we’ve settled many hotel accident cases. He also saw that we had an average 5 star review on Google Maps.
I immediately called Regina’s husband. Next, I spoke with Regina. She hired me as her slip and fall lawyer.
We claimed that the bathtub flooring was unreasonably slippery. Our bathtub expert said the bathtub flooring wasn’t slip resistant. He said the flooring was dangerous.
The surgery left her with a scar on the back of her upper arm. The photo below shows her scar.
Travelers first offer was $70,000. After negotiating this case hard, I settled her injury case with Travelers for $197,500.
Here is the comparison between Travelers first offer and the settlement:
Most of the settlement was for pain and suffering:
After my lawyer fees and costs, and paying Regina’s health insurance lien and out of pocket medical bills, she got $95,633 in her pocket.
The $197,500 settlement was over 5 times her final health insurance lien and out of pocket medical bills.
I sent Travelers Insurance Company the signed settlement release.
Travelers sent me a settlement check for $197,500 to settle the case.
Here is Travelers’ settlement check:
$160,000 Settlement for Hotel Negligence Case (Trip and Fall)
While on vacation, Lisa was staying at the Royal Palm South Beach Miami (a Tribute Portfolio Resort).
At night, she exited the doors of the hotel lobby so that she could walk through the breezeway toward the beach.
While walking a few steps outdoors in the breezeway, her heel got caught in a hole that was in the tile. She fell to the floor and had bad leg pain.
Her husband reported the accident to hotel security. Within hours, Lisa took a rideshare car to an urgent care center in South Beach.
Here is a photo of her at the urgent care center:
They took an x-ray that showed that she had a fibula fracture. (The fibula is the thinner bone is your lower leg.)
You can see her fracture here:
The next day Lisa’s husband took a photo that showed the hole and its depth.
You can see the hole and its depth below:
Her husband took another photo that showed the general area.
Here it is:
This was great thinking on his part.
This is because you need to show that a hotel did something wrong in order to get compensation for pain and suffering (and some other damages).
As you can see, there were many holes in the flooring. In fact, this flooring naturally has small indents.
Lisa searched for a hotel injury lawyer and found me. I gave her a free consultation to see if I could represent her.
Within hours after speaking with me, she hired me. I immediately began working on her case.
I sent an email and letter to the hotel and found out that Markel American Insurance Company was its insurance company.
A doctor operated on Lisa’s Leg
After Lisa flew back to her home state, her doctor operated on her leg. Specifically, he put a plate and screws into her fibula.
This x-ray shows the hardware in her lower leg:
Her surgeon closed up the surgical incision with stitches.
The photo below shows the stitches.
A few months later, she felt some irritation in her lower leg.
The doctor removed one of the screws. Lisa’s health insurance paid most of her medical bills.
As with most hotel negligence cases, the hotel’s insurance company did not admit fault. The hotel insurance company’s first offer was only $37,500!
Take a look:
Unfortunately, insurance companies are not on your side.
Of the $37,500 offer, $10,000 was from the Medical Payments coverage in the hotel’s insurance policy.
I knew that $37,500 was way too low of an offer given how the accident happened and Lisa’s injury.
Hotel’s Insurance Company Pays 4 Times Its First Offer
I battled the hotel’s insurance company for several months. We rejected several more low offers.
I took a tough stance. The adjuster told me that there was no surveillance of the accident. I told her that this was a great liability case, meaning that it was easy to prove. She told me that she didn’t agree.
I drafted a lawsuit and sent it to the claim adjuster for Markel Insurance.
In 2022, I got the hotel to settle for $160,000. This is over four times its first offer!
Of that amount, $150,000 was from the liability coverage in Markel’s insurance policy.
Here is the redacted settlement check:
The remaining $10,000 was from Markel’s medical payments coverage, which I did not charge Lisa a fee on.
After my lawyer fees, costs and paying back Lisa’s health insurance plan, Lisa got over $94,900 in her pocket.
Overall, her leg is doing well. If she works a long shift, her leg swells some. But she can still work her usual shift without issue.
She is very happy with the settlement.
Do you need to hire an expert witness to get a fair settlement?
Without an expert witness, we may not have had a case. Courts have dismissed many hotel accident cases where the injured person didn’t have an expert witness.
If you don’t have a lawyer, you will need to pay for the expert up front.
What if you have a lawyer?
The attorney will pay the expert in advance.
The lawyer is paid back for this cost after taking a fee on the settlement. This assumes that the attorney is able to settle the case.
$100,000 Settlement with Resort for Trip and Fall
Maria (not real name) tripped and fell on an alleged hazard on a walkway at a beach resort.
We settled with the insurance company for the condo association for $100,000.
$60,000 Payout after Shower Glass Breaks and Guest Injures His Knee
John was staying at a Marriott hotel in West Palm Beach, Florida. He was visiting from the Northeast and was in Florida for business. While taking a shower in his hotel bathroom, he closed the sliding door.
When he did so, the glass (on the door) exploded into many small pieces, which cut him in several areas on his hands and feet. Someone called 911. Paramedics came to the hotel. However, John refused a medical transport to the hospital.
Several days after the accident, John went to his podiatrist (foot doctor). He took glass out of John’s foot. John then went back for a second visit since he had a small ulcer on his foot. (He was diabetic.) At those visits, John did not complain of knee pain.
John contacted Massachusetts labor and employment attorney Mickey Long. Mickey referred John to employee benefits and pension fund lawyer Peter Herrera of Sugarman Susskind in Miami. Peter then referred the case to me. I’ve known Peter since the late 1990’s (before I was a lawyer).
Florida Bar rules allow me to pay a referral fee when the case settles so long as a few conditions are met. First, I could pay the out of state attorney (in Massachusetts) because John lived in that same state where Mickey is licensed. Second, John was hurt in Florida so I can handle the case.
Third, we were all on my fee contract and it had the required language to comply with the Florida Bar rules. I gladly pay a referral fees when it is allowed.
John’s first complaints of knee pain were about 2 months after the accident
A couple months after the accident, John complained to an orthopedic doctor about knee pain. Ultimately, the doctor took an MRI of his knee. John had a meniscus tear. Shortly thereafter, the doctor operated on his knee.
Marriott Claims Services (MCS) handled the claim for the hotel. Ultimately, the assigned senior claims adjuster Michael Moore to the case. Senior adjusters tend to be more experienced The claims company who handles cases against the hotel will assign a senior claims adjuster
Michael was professional. He also handles cases after a lawsuit is filed.
The Marriott denied liability. They told me to go after the shower door installer, or the glass manufacturer.
If shower glass (in a hotel) breaks and cuts you, is this an easy case?
No. The hotel’s (or its insurance company’s) defense will often be:
What could we done to have prevented this?
The injured guest (or his or her lawyer) must prove that the hotel knew or should have known that their was a problem with the glass before your accident.
In a moment (in another case), you will see that this often happens in cases where shower glass shatters at a hotel.
Marriott Claims Services (MCS) paid $60,000 to Settle
I fought for John. Ultimately, we settled his personal injury claim with the Marriott for $60,000.
Check out the Marriott settlement check:
John gets at least $35,000 in his pocket after attorney’s fees, costs and paying back his health insurance company. John said that we did a 5 star job on his case.
He said the following about my law firm:
Many thanks to you and your law firm for representing me in my case against the Marriott Corporation. In the complexity of handing such a case you and your firm were spectacular and efficient on my behalf for a pleasing outcome and resolve. Thank you again.John
$31,500 Settlement for Sliced Leg From Shattered Shower Glass
When he opened the shower door, it shattered. He did not take pictures of the shattered glass. It sliced his lower leg, slightly above his ankle.
The pictures of his injury were graphic. It looked like someone hit him in the leg with a small ax.
You can see the scar:
We argued that the hotel should’ve used tempered glass.
Liberty Mutual Insurance Company insured the hotel.
Liberty Mutual’s first offer was $14,500. Eventually, they paid paid $31,500 to settle my client’s personal injury claim.
Currently, Liberty Mutual pays about the same as GEICO.
Ace American Insurance Company (now Chubb) insured the business that installed the shower door. They offered an additional $10,000. We didn’t settle with Ace because their settlement release required him to hold them harmless from any claims brought by any parties.
Taking Photos May Greatly Help Your Case
The injured person should always take pictures and/or video of:
- The shattered glass
- Any blood on the floor, your body and anywhere else
- A full body photo of yourself
- The entire accident scene
- Any witnesses including, but not limited to, before and after witnesses
- Any other important evidence
Be sure to take video and photos before your check out from the hotel. You don’t want the hotel to accuse you of trespassing on its property or committing a crime.
If your accident happened at night, you should take some photos that accurately show the lighting conditions at the time of your accident. You should also take photos with the flash on so that they clearly show the hazard that caused your injury.
For your set of photos that show the actual darkness at the time of your fall, you likely want to turn the Night mode setting off. If you are using an iPhone, this is how you most accurately show the lighting at the time of your accident.
Tap on the Camera app.
Then go to Photo. Next, click on the Night mode setting. I added the arrow to show you the Night mode setting.
Next, slide the bar to the left so that the Auto feature is turned to “Off”.
In the photo below, the arrow is pointing to the Off setting.
When you look at your phone, you’ll see that the screen more accurately shows the darkness that you see with your eyes.
Next, adjust the exposure show that it accurately shows the lighting conditions that you see with your eyes. To do this, tap on the screen.
You’ll see that a yellow box appears.
To the right of the box you will see an icon that looks like a sun. Drag the scroll bar up or down until it looks like the actual lighting that you see with your eyes.
Now that the camera settings accurately show the lighting conditions, you can take your photos.
In addition, you should also take a photo with the flash on that shows the hazard. You don’t want to only have photos that show a dark area and not have a separate set of photos that show the hazard that caused you to trip or slip and fall.
What should you do if the hotel starts to fix the hazard that caused your injury?
Let’s assume that you get injured at a hotel. You (or a friend/family member) thinks that a hazard caused you to get hurt. A day or so after your injury, the hotel starts fixing the dangerous condition that caused you to trip and fall or otherwise get injured.
If this happens, do not just take a photo (or video) of the area being blocked off or caution tape from far away. This is a common mistake that I see guests and their friends or family make.
Instead, contact a hotel accident lawyer and ask him or her to come to the hotel and video the maintenance worker repairing the hazard. If you are badly injured at a hotel in Florida, I may able to meet you at your hotel to properly document the accident scene. You’ll need to first get a free consultation with me.
Additionally, you (or your friend or family member) should video the repair work while it is being done. Be sure to both zoom in on the hazard, and take a video of the hazard from a distance.
This may be your last chance to see (or have evidence) of the hazard. You don’t want to make your hotel personal injury case harder than it already is. Don’t give the hotel’s insurance company an easy victory.
You don’t want to be stuck with mounting medical bills and not being able to work.
Do not rely on the hotels video surveillance. Perhaps it does not exist or did not capture the area where you fell or were otherwise injured. Do not assume that there will be video surveillance.
Do not just assume that the hotel is liable because they fixed the hazard after you fell or were injured. This is another common mistake that I see hotel guests make time and time again.
In Florida, the fact that a hotel owner (or its management company) repaired the dangerous condition is often not admissible in your hotel accident claim.
Florida law encourages hotel owners to fix their property in order to keep it safe. Often times, a jury may never get to hear that the hotel fixed the hazard.
$18K Settlement for Quadriceps Tear from Slip and Fall at Hotel (Miami)
A guest was staying at the Hyatt Place Hotel in Doral, Florida. She was on a business trip.
Fortunately, she called me after she fell. She quickly hired my law firm.
Zurich Insurance Company insured the hotel. At first, Zurich denied liability. They said that the hotel did nothing wrong.
I needed to get them to change their view of the case. To do so, I spoke with a witness. The witness signed an affidavit which placed blame on the hotel.
Shortly thereafter, Zurich paid $18,000 to settle under the bodily injury coverage in their liability insurance policy.
Zurich also paid us the $5,000 limit of its Medical Payments (Medpay) insurance. Again, our law firm does not take a fee on Medpay unless we sue.
Don’t let a Florida attorney take a fee on Medpay if he or she doesn’t sue. You’re giving away free money if you do!
$15K Settlement for Slip and Fall at Residence Inn by Marriott (Hotel)
Chiquetta was staying at a Residence Inn by Marriott near Miami International Airport. While there, claimed that she slipped and fell on water on the floor of an interior part of the hotel.
After she fell, her friend took photos of the water. Here is one of them:
She went to the emergency room and complained of back pain. Shortly thereafter, she decided to Get a Free Consultation with me to see if I could represent her. After we spoke on the phone, she hired me.
I then starting working on her case as her attorney. Fortunately, Chiqeutta did not need surgery to her back. Surgery would have greatly increased the settlement amount.
The Marriott’s first offer was only $2,500. And this was with me as her attorney.
Can you imagine what the Marriott would have offered if she did not have an attorney?
I can. My guess is that the Marriott would have offered $1,000 or so. I do not think that the Marriott would have made a first offer of $2,500.
The adjuster gave me two reasons for making the $2,500 offer. First, she said that it was questionable whether the hotel was liable.
Second, the Marriott argued that Chiquetta’s injury was chronic (old). In other words, she argued that my client had the same before the accident. I’ve pointed it out in the email below:
I aggressively negotiated my client’s case. In February 2019, I settled Chiquetta’s personal injury case for $15,000 with Marriott’s claims department.
Here is the settlement check:
The final settlement was for six times the Marriott’s opening offer. After my attorney’s fees, costs and paying her medical bills/liens, Chiquetta got over $8,340 in her pocket.
She came to my office to pick up the settlement check. Here is a picture of us:
The entire case took around 8 months to settle.
Watch Chiquetta talk about her settlement:
$15K Settlement for Hotel Guest Whose Toe Struck the Base of the Bed
A hotel guest struck her toe on the base of a bed at a hotel in Central Florida. She fractured her toe.
The guest said the base of the bed was not visible because the bed sheets were hanging over it. We argued that this was a dangerous condition.
I worked on this case with an attorney from a different law firm.
$13K Settlement for Trip and Fall on Step at Hotel (Broken Arm)
A man (from another state) was staying at a beach resort condominium in Panama City Beach, Florida. While it was dark, he went to barbecue some food.
He claimed that he tripped on a step that he couldn’t see due to poor lighting. He fractured his left humerus (shoulder). Specifically, the fracture was in the greater tuberosity.
I’ve circled (in red) the greater tuberosity (of the humerus) in the image below.
He did not have surgery. Tokio Marine Specialty Insurance Co. insured the resort condominium association. Philadelphia Insurance Company handles Tokio’s claims.
We settled his personal injury claim for $13K with Philadelphia Insurance. Most of the settlement was for pain and suffering.
Hotel Guest Gets $5K+ for Knee Injury from Slip and Fall (Naples, Florida)
A lady from the Midwest was vacationing at the Registry Hotel in Naples, Florida. It is now the Naples Grand Beach Resort.
She slipped and fell while exiting the shower in her hotel room. After she fell, she realized that water leaked – from the inside of the shower – onto the floor outside the shower.
She did not take any photos of the water on the floor.
What injuries did she have?
She was rushed to the hospital where she was injected with Lidocaine (numbing medication). A doctor gave her stitches to close the gash to her lip.
She had an MRI of her knee.
What did it show?
She did not have any broken bones.
Hartford Insurance insured the hotel. The adjuster was Edwin Fernandez.
He argued that the hotel didn’t do anything wrong to cause her injuries. Edwin argued that she may have slipped on water that was dripping from her body.
He argued that her injuries were pre-existing.
I was the guest’s attorney. She hired me after seeing my website.
What Types of Compensation Can You Get if You’re Hurt at a Hotel?
If a hotel’s negligence caused your injury, you may be able to get compensation for:
- Past Lost Income
- Future lost income reduced to present value
- Past medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Replacement value of lost personal property (e.g. damage to your watch, glasses, etc.)
- Funeral expenses
- Reimbursement for mileage to and from medical appointments
- Past Pain and suffering
- Future Pain and Suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Mental anguish
- Loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life
- Punitive Damages (in rare cases)
Does a hotel have to give you the accident report form if you’re hurt there?
If a hotel completed an accident report form, and you did not write anything on the form, they do not have to give it to you. The same applies to resorts and motels.
Is a Florida hotel required to give you a copy of your written statement if you were injured on its property?
In Florida, yes. This applies to hotels, resorts and motels.
Find out more about whether you’re entitled to a copy of your accident statement in Florida.
What should you include in your first letter that you send the hotel?
If you are injured at a hotel, and the hotel is at fault, your first letter to the hotel should ask it for several items.
Either you or your lawyer can write this letter. I suggest hiring a hotel personal injury lawyer.
Because a hotel accident lawyer will have a letter template. If your lawyer has a case management system, he or she presses a button and it inserts all of your information into the letter in seconds. I have a case management system that does this. It saves me lots of time and stress.
The letter should ask the hotel to preserve (and not destroy) all evidence. This includes video, photos and the hazard that you claim caused your injury.
Second, you should ask the hotel for its insurance information. This is so that you can deal with the hotel’s insurance company or its claims company. The insurance company will be the one who pays you compensation. It won’t be the hotel’s manager.
In this first letter, I also like to explain how the accident happened and what my client’s injuries are. Additionally, I include photos of the hazard that caused the accident. This assumes that I have photos.
I also include photos of my client’s injuries. For example, if a doctor put a cast on my client’s broken leg, I include a photo in the letter.
When you are finished getting medical treatment, you or your lawyer can use the information from this letter in your settlement demand. Your memory of the accident is better when you write the initial letter than when you later are ready to settle the case. Thus, this opening letter will be accurate.
If you don’t hire a lawyer, one risk of you writing and sending this letter is that the hotel may be able to later use it against you. Specifically, the hotel’s attorney may claim that you have changed your story if and when he or she takes your statement under oath.
Here is a boilerplate version of the first letter that I send to a hotel after a potential client (who was injured at a hotel in Florida) hires me.
Does a hotel have to tell how much insurance they have?
It depends on the state where the accident happened. In Florida, the hotel’s insurance company must tell you the hotel’s insurance limits if you ask for it in writing.
Here is a sample response from a hotel’s insurance company that told me the insurance limits for an accident in Florida:
As you can see, this resort had a $1 Million in general liability coverage. They also had an $15 Million excess liability policy that kicks in after the $1 Million. Basically, they had $16 Million in total coverage. That insurance applies to slip and falls, and other accidents at the hotel.
To get a hotel to pay you $16 Million, you likely need to have a severe brain injury or be paralyzed from the neck down.
Premises Liability Claims against Florida Hotels, Resorts and Motels
A Florida hotel, resort or motel owes two duties to an invitee. They are:
2) To give the invitee warning of concealed dangers which are known or should be known to the landowner, and which are unknown to the invite and cannot be discovered by him through the exercise of due care.
Landscaping and Walkways
Hotels have landscaping and walkways. A guest may have a case against a hotel if a walkway or bridge collapses.
A hotel guest may have a case if a falling object causes his or her injury.
Hotel, Resort and Motel Playground Accidents
A younger guest may have an injury case if he or she is injured by dangerous exterior playground equipment. This could include, but is not limited to, unsafe flooring.
Accidents at Golf Clubs at Hotels or Resorts
Some Florida hotels and resorts have a golf club. If the golf club’s negligence causes a guest’s injury, he or she may have a case.
A hotel guest may also have a case against another golfer for driving a golf cart carelessly and causing injury. The personal injury claim is typically paid by the negligent hotel guest’s homeowners insurance or renters insurance.
Learn more about Florida golf club/course accident claims.
Do I have a case if I am sitting on a wall mount shower bench seat and it collapses?
Possibly, if you are seriously injured. These chair seats can break. Just look at some reviews of wall mounted shower benches.
The hotel (or its insurance company) may accept liability and may offer to settle before a lawsuit. However, don’t expect the hotel to specifically tell you (or your lawyer) that they are at fault. Hotels and their insurance companies do not like to admit fault.
If the hotel accepts liability, it may be because they inspected the seat and realized that it was dangerous. It may have been dangerous if it was loose, missing a screw, or had too much rust on it. Or maybe, before your accident, other guests complained to the hotel that a wall mount shower bench seat was loose.
The hotel (or its insurance company) may claim that they never had any issues with their shower bench seats before your accident. Thus, they will just pay you Medpay benefits (if they have Medpay on their insurance policy). At some point, they will deny your bodily injury claim or make you a nuisance offer. They may offer you around $2,500 or so to settle.
If the hotel denies liability, you will need an attorney to sue the hotel if you want a chance at getting compensation.
Guest Bathroom Cases
At least 8% of accidents at hotels occur in the bathroom. A hotel has a duty to use reasonable care to make the guest bathroom’s safe.
Swimming Pool Accidents/Jacuzzi Areas
Find out more about Florida swimming pool injury claims.
Are Hotel Accident Cases Similar to Cases Against Walmart or Publix Supermarket?
The cases are very similar. One of the bigger differences is that a hotel may not have a self-insured retention (SIR). This means that a hotel’s insurance coverage may start from dollar one. Many Florida hotels are franchisees and do not have a SIR.
Some Florida hotel’s with a SIR are known for giving more resistance when paying an injury claim. If a Florida hotel’s insurance policy does not have an SIR, you can file a consumer complaint against the insurer if the adjuster is being unreasonable.
It is filed with the Florida Department of Financial Services.
Tip: Some Disney hotels such as the Swan and Dolphin Resorts are not owned by Disney.
How do you Calculate the Settlement Value of a Hotel Accident Case?
Calculating a claim value in a Florida hotel injury case is the same as other Florida accident cases. The formula is:
Claim Value = (Medical Bills + Lost Wages + Pain & Suffering) x (100%- % for factors that warrant reduction)
You should use as spreadsheet so that you can itemize the medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering component. Therefore, you will not fail to account for any lost wages and medical bills. It is easiest to use a spreadsheet in order to make a proper demand to settle.
I recommend Microsoft Excel or Google Docs. It will also help when negotiating with the adjuster.
Adjusters are don’t like to spend time on the phone waiting for you to look through your notes. You do not want to be unprepared when discussing economic damages. Otherwise, you could wait weeks or months to hear back from the adjuster. Most claims adjusters are very busy.
Estimating the settlement value is difficult and takes years of experience. In certain hotel injury cases, I still look at jury verdicts to determine case values. That is even truer in a case where the injured person suffered a fracture or had surgery.
If you understand the 86 factors that can affect a Florida hotel accident case value, you are on the right track. It will help you adjust the case value as indicated.
Using an Online Settlement Calculator to Estimate Compensation in a Florida Hotel Injury Case
Be very careful using an online settlement calculator to estimate the payout in a Florida hotel accident claim. Most online calculators are not specific to Florida.
Each state has different laws. No two states have the exact same laws. For example, in Florida you can only recover out of pocket bills and not the total billed charges.
Other states may let you collect the total billed charges. Not accounting for this factor alone will throw any settlement estimate way off.
I created a Florida injury calculator that I use for Florida hotel accident cases. But I make significant adjustments. Verdicts for pain and suffering are constantly changing.
So I continuously adjust the ranges that the calculator uses for the pain and suffering component of the claim.
My use of my calculator is only one piece of my evaluation. I also know how to adjust the calculator estimation by over 86 factors that may affect the case value.
Without many years of claims experience, using an online settlement calculator for a hotel injury case is a huge mistake!
What is the Full settlement value of a hotel accident case?
The full settlement value is the first step to calculating the possible settlement amount. The injured person needs to know the full value of the damages to know the possible settlement amount.
The full value of damages is the total of economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are usually out of pocket medical bills and lost wages.
A Florida hotel accident case can have a high full value and still be worth little or nothing. This is because over 86 factors may affect a Florida hotel accident case.
Will a Hospital Reduce your bill if you’re hurt at a hotel?
Possibly. The hospital is more likely to reduce your bills if you are uninsured. A hospital billing department may learn that you are making a personal injury case against a hotel.
If so, whether they reduce the bill may depend on the settlement amount. If you are made whole, they may be less likely to reduce the outstanding balance.
You may want to enter informal settlement discussions with the hospital before the Florida hotel injury case settles. Many Florida hospitals have right to get paid from an injury settlement for accident related care.
Once you settle with the hotel’s insurer, you may lose leverage in negotiations with the hospital.
If you enter settlement negotiations with the Florida hospital before the injury case settles, then you can tell the hospital that you will not pursue your injury claim if the hospital does not reduce its bill. This gives you leverage.
How much is pain and suffering worth in a hotel injury case?
Your injury will determine the full value of the pain and suffering component. Once you know the injury and the other damages, you can then adjust the value by up to 86 factors. Other damages usually consist of medical bills and lost wages.
The full value of the pain and suffering component in a hotel accident case is the same as in any other Florida injury case.
Will past injury settlements help you calculate compensation in a hotel accident case?
Maybe. You can look at the settlements of past experienced Florida injury lawyers. However, most Florida injury settlements and Florida slip and fall settlements that are online are not very detailed.
They don’t give enough information for you to learn the value of the pain and suffering component. They can often be misleading.
I try to do this on my website. These complexities are one of the many reasons to hire a Florida accident lawyers for hotel accident cases.
There have been settlements for people injured or killed by carbon monoxide in a Florida hotel parking garage. A hotel has a duty to make sure that the parking garage is designed properly.
What is Medical Payments Coverage in a Hotel’s Liability Insurance Policy?
Medical payments (Medpay) coverage will pay for a hotel guest’s medical expenses up to the limits of the Medpay coverage. It pays regardless of fault.
You must have been injured while lawfully on the hotel, resort or motel’s property. Do not expect the Medpay coverage to pay your medical expenses if you snuck onto the hotel property.
Medpay is completely different from the hotel’s liability coverage. Medpay limits are often $5,000. However, it can be higher or lower. Hotels with a SIR generally do not have Medpay coverage.
The hotel will not send you to a doctor. Do not wait for that. They will not pay in advance for your medical expenses. Get medical treatment if you need it.
Do not wait for the hotel to contact the doctor’s office. They will not.
The hotel claims adjuster may send you an authorization for release of your medical information. They are not doing this so they can pay for your bills in advance.
They are doing this so they can request your medical bills and records after you get treatment. The injured guest’s medical records and bills are needed to evaluate the case.
Hotel Restaurant and Store Accident Claims
Some restaurants and stores within hotels are individually owned and operated. They may have their own liability policies.
These insurance policies may include Medpay. If you are injured within a restaurant or store in a Florida hotel, you should make a claim with them.
In your personal injury case against a Florida hotel, the hotel will get a credit for any amount paid under its Medpay coverage.
If you are on sitting on a booth and it tips up and you fall, you may have a case.
If you are a hotel guest, you may have a case if a folding chair or other chair that you are sitting on collapses. Similarly, if you scoot in your chair, and you finger is pinched underneath the chair, you may have a case. This assumes that part of your finger is amputated or it breaks.
Who’s the Best Attorney Who Specializes in Hotel Injury Cases in Florida?
I’m sorry to report that there isn’t one hotel injury attorney who is the “best”. If someone tells you that he or she is the “best” hotel injury lawyer, it’s simply not true.
First, Florida lawyers can’t ethically say that they are best. The Florida Bar ethics rules prohibit it.
Moreover, and more importantly, there are lots of fantastic hotel accident attorneys. And that’s not surprising given that Florida has over 106,000 attorneys!
Also, how do we define “best”?
Is it a hotel accident attorney:
- With the best average online review rating?
- Who has settled the most hotel injury cases?
- Who only handles personal injury cases?
The list of questions goes on and on. But I won’t bore you.
That said, I will say that there are many excellent hotel accident lawyers. When looking for an excellent hotel accident lawyer, you want to look for a few traits.
First, look for an attorney who has at least 15 years experience practicing personal injury law. Yes, I fit into this category. (And I readily admit that my statement is self-serving). This is, in part, because I want you to hire me if you’ve been badly injured at a hotel in Florida.
Again, I only represent guests if the hotel did something wrong to cause an injury. Or if the hotel failed to do something that caused the injury.
Ok. Enough of a sales pitch.
After practicing personal injury law for 15 years, he or she has likely settled many hotel injury cases. I have an excellent understanding of how hotel claim adjusters think. And I know how they value personal injury claims.
In fact, we’re currently handling several hotel injury claims. Some of these are against multi-billion dollar companies. Some of these involve clients who’ve broken bones and have had surgery (or multiple surgeries).
Only Hire an Attorney Who Is Willing to Sue
Get an attorney who is willing to sue a hotel (if appropriate). I’m not saying that every hotel accident claim requires a lawsuit. It doesn’t.
Further, lawsuits are stressful, costly and time consuming. There is nothing fun about them. (OK. That’s not completely true. It’s fun to discover facts that help your injury case. But you get my point. In general, lawsuits aren’t fun.)
However, sometimes a lawsuit against a hotel is necessary. In certain cases, the only settlement offer that a hotel claims adjuster understands is a looming trial date.
You’ll have to sue some hotels in Federal court. You can’t sue them in state court. This is true if they’re a corporation that isn’t registered in Florida.
If you’re dealing with a hotel (or its franchisee) that is incorporated in Florida, you can sue them in state court. In that case, any lawyer licensed in Florida can sue. For example if you have to sue a Walt Disney World hotel, most of the time you can sue in state court. (However, some Disney hotels aren’t owned by Disney. In those instances, you may need to sue in federal court.)
However, you’ll have to sue some hotels in federal court. Thus, you may need an attorney who is licensed in federal court.
I am licensed in two (of the three federal courts) in Florida. They are:
- The Southern District of Florida (Key West, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Fort Pierce and more)
- The Middle District of Florida (Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Orlando, Ocala, Clearwater, Tampa and more)
But don’t stop there.
You don’t just want an attorney who is licensed in federal court. You also want an attorney who has previously sued in Federal court as well. I’ve sued for personal injury in federal court before.
You should look for a hotel accident lawyer with a 4.9 (or above) Google review rating. Check out some of our 5 star reviews. However, just because a hotel accident lawyer has a 5.0 review, it doesn’t automatically mean that they he or she is great.
That said, some clients who have a horrible experience with a lawyer may voice their concerns in reviews. If you see a repetitive pattern, this is something to which you may want to pay attention.
Hire an Honest Florida Hotel Accident Lawyer
You should look for a hotel injury lawyer who is honest. This is the toughest characteristic to determine. Some of it will involve your gut feeling when speaking with the attorney.
Does he or she directly answer your questions? Or does he or she dodge the question? Does the hotel accident lawyer readily admit that he or she may not know every single law that exists?
For example, if you’re from out of state and are hurt at a Florida hotel, do you have to pay back your health insurance for the medical bills that it paid?
In many instances, the law depends on the state where you live. I can’t answer this question off the top of my head for all 50 states. Different states have different laws. There are too many laws to know without research. Florida law alone is complex enough.
But I’ll look at my past research. And I’ll do more research if necessary.
Should a tourist hire an attorney who has settled cases for out of state visitors who were hurt at a Florida hotel?
Yes. Look for a hotel accident lawyer who has settled several cases for people from other states and countries who were hurt while at a Florida hotel.
I am proud to say that I’ve settled Florida hotel accident cases for visitors from other states. Additionally, I’ve settled a hotel injury claim for an international visitor.
Some of my clients who were injured at a hotel in Florida were tourists. Others were in Florida for work (business).
Some of these people were hurt at a Florida hotel while visiting from Illinois, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, Indiana, Canada, Indonesia and more. This means that in some of those claims, I’ve had to learn how the out of state health lien law applied in the Florida hotel accident claim.
In 2018, Greater Miami and the Beaches broke another record by selling a record 15.6 million hotel room nights in 2018. An overnight hotel stay means that many guests will spend more time on the hotel property. This, in turn, may lead to more accidents.
I readily admit that I don’t know the answer every single personal injury law in Florida. And I say this even though I’ve written 700+ articles on this blog. Additionally, I have 90 popular videos on Youtube.
But one way to determine an attorney’s honesty or to find out how much the attorney tells you about his or her attorney’s fees and costs.
I’m proud to say that we have a very detailed explanation of our attorney’s fee and costs. It’s on our website. There are no hidden costs.
If a Car Hits a Pedestrian on Hotel Property, Does the Pedestrian Have a Case?
Yes. The injured person should make a claim through any Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage to which the victim is an insured. In many cases, the injured person will need a threshold injury in order to recover non-economic damages.
A motor vehicle driver’s carelessness may cause injury to a Florida resident pedestrian in a hotel parking lot. If the Florida resident is not otherwise covered under PIP, the victim can make a PIP claim through the driver’s (and owner’s) auto coverage. This assumes that the pedestrian is not obligated to have PIP.
A hotel valet driver hits a pedestrian in a hotel parking lot in Florida. It could happen in Miami, Homestead or any other city. The pedestrian is a hotel guest.
If the pedestrian qualifies for PIP, the pedestrian will need to meet the tort threshold to recover pain and suffering damages.
Tip: The valet company is usually a different company than the hotel. They generally have a different insurance company. A claim should be made with the valet company.
What happens if a car hits a nonresident pedestrian on a Florida hotel property?
In this instance, the nonresident does not need a threshold injury to recover pain and suffering damages. This assumes that the nonresident pedestrian is not covered by PIP. If the nonresident pedestrian is covered by PIP, he usually needs a threshold injury to get pain and suffering damages.
Who do I make a claim against if a hotel’s valet driver hits me?
If a hotel’s valet driver for a hotel carelessly crashes a car into you, you should make a claim against all the responsible parties. If the hotel uses a valet company, the valet company’s insurance will likely be primary to insurance of the car that hit you.
This means that the hotel’s valet’s company is likely first in line to make a payment for your injuries.
Let me give you an example. Assume that you are riding a motorcycle, or you’re in a car, in Miami, Florida. A valet, while driving a hotel guest’s car, hits you.
Assume that GEICO insures the owner of the car that hit you. Let’s assume that Nationwide insures the valet company. In this scenario, Nationwide’s general liability insurance policy will likely require that it’s coverage is primary to the GEICO policy.
This will be based on the language in the valet company’s insurance policy. It means that Nationwide will pay before GEICO has to pay you compensation.
However, don’t assume that the valet company’s insurance company will have a big insurance policy that will pay you.
The valet company’s insurer may try to deny coverage if the valet company didn’t add the valet driver (who caused your injury) to its policy before your accident. Or the valet company may argue, if true, that the valet did not have a license and that goes against the terms of the policy.
If either of those scenarios happens, the valet company’s insurer may argue that you are only entitled to Florida’s minimum $10,000 financial responsibility requirement limit.
If the hotel uses its own employees as valet drivers, there is a chance that the GEICO policy may pay before the hotel’s insurance policy must pay you money for your personal injury claim.
Does an injured person’s marital status affect an injury claim against a hotel?
Yes. The injured person’s spouse may have a claim for loss of consortium.
The claims adjuster will ask the injured person if he or she is married. If he or she is married, the adjuster will likely include the spouse on the release and settlement check.
The spouse needs to sign the release if the injured person wants to settle the case. The spouse must endorse the settlement check.
So get on good terms with your spouse immediately! The adjuster will most likely be unwilling to remove the spouse from the release or check.
Most hotels have high liability policy limits. They usually face no threat of excess financial exposure for acting in bad faith.
This may affect the time it takes to get an injury settlement.
As a general rule, hotel slip and fall cases usually take longer to settle than many other types of cases. The same is true for other types of hotel negligence cases.
Can a Florida Lawyer Pay a Referral Fee to an Out Of State (or Foreign) Attorney in a Florida hotel accident case?
A Florida attorney may be able to pay a co-counsel fee to an actively licensed out of state or foreign attorney in a Florida hotel injury case. It can be done if the client lives in the referring attorney’s state. \
A Florida lawyer can also pay a fee to another Florida attorney in a Florida hotel accident case.
Referral fees are usually 25% of the total attorney’s fee. It does not cost the client anything extra. If the client has trust in the referring lawyer, it is a win-win for the client and the attorneys.
Is my Hotel Injury Case worth less if I did not take an ambulance to the hospital?
Yes, the full value of the case is lower. This is because there are no ambulance bills. A smaller case full value results in a smaller settlement.
However, the injured person may still have a great case if he or she did not take an ambulance to the hospital. The full value of the case decreases less if the victim quickly gets medical treatment.
Can a hotel insurance adjuster close a victim’s injury claim without his or her consent?
Yes. The injured person can just ask to have it re-opened. This assumes that the time limit to sue has not expired.
I had an adjuster from Ace Insurance Company close a claim.
My client was injured at a hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I asked the adjuster to re-open the claim. He later offered $10,000 to settle.
Do pre-existing injuries affect a Hotel accident case value?
Yes. Pre-existing injuries may decrease a Florida hotel accident case value. However, an injured person is entitled to damages from an aggravation of a pre-existing condition.
Pre-existing conditions generally affect back, neck, herniated disc, meniscus tear and shoulder tear claims more than other injuries. A tendon or ligament tears may have existed before the accident.
An adjuster will not pay settlement dollars to an injury that existed before the accident.
Don’t Agree to a Confidential Settlement in a Hotel Injury Case
A confidential settlement may have terrible tax consequences to the injured person. That means potentially owing the IRS much more money in taxes.
The good news?
Some hotels won’t require the settlement to be confidential. For example, I settled a slip and fall case for $197,500 with Travelers Insurance. Travelers insured the Courtyard Marriott in Downtown Pensacola. Travelers did not require the settlement to be confidential.
Similarly, I settled a slip and fall case with the Residence Inn (Marriott). Marriott Claims handled the case. We settled for $15,000. The Marriott did not require the settlement to be confidential.
On the other hand, I settled a slip and fall case for $250,000 with Philadelphia Insurance. Philadelphia Insurance Company insured Legacy Vacation Resorts in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
After we settled, the Philadelphia adjuster sent me the settlement release. It required the settlement to be confidential. Next, I made some reasonable changes to the release language, which also included removing the confidentiality language. I sent my edits to the adjuster.
Shortly thereafter, the adjuster sent me an email stating:
This is a standard release used for all claim settlements, and with no issues in the past with the wording. I my 4 years with the company, I have not seen Phly allow any changes. I will send this to management but cannot guarantee the changes will be considered.Email from Philadelphia adjuster
Here’s her email:
I like this adjuster. Once the case was ready for settlement, she made quick offers and counteroffers. She was never rude.
However, I find it hard to believe that she has not seen Philadelphia Insurance Company agree to any changes to a settlement release. It is unimaginable.
I asked her to accept my changes to her settlement release.
Can you guess what happened just 15 days later?
Her management agreed to my reasonable changes! Take a look at her email to me below:
Now, my client can freely talk about the accident and the settlement. Better yet, she does not have to worry about hiding the facts of the accident from any doctors in the future. Moreover, she won’t have to pay taxes on the personal injury settlement.
Please don’t agree to confidentiality in the insurance company’s settlement release.
Warning! This is not tax advice. Always speak with a CPA.
Do Gaps in treatment hurt my Hotel Accident Case?
Sometimes a person who is hurt a hotel waits to get medical treatment.
Here’s a warning:
Only get medical treatment if you need it. Don’t go to the doctor just to try to increase the settlement value of your case.
I have settled many Florida injury cases where the victim waited to get medical treatment. Many other factors affect the case. Gaps in treatment is just one of factor.
I’ve been representing injured accident victims for over 17 years. If you suffered a serious injury at a Florida hotel, I want to represent you.
Learn more about me and my experience.
Do Some Hotel Insurance Companies Pay Better Than Others?
The insurance company that insures that hotel affects settlement. I have settled hotel accident cases with The Hartford, Philadelphia Insurance Company, Zurich Insurance, Liberty Mutual and others.
Insurance companies have different reputations. Some are known for paying better than others. For example, Zurich Insurance Company and The Hartford have a good reputation. So does Scottsdale Insurance Company and Hanover Insurance Company.
They have a reputation for paying more for hotel accident settlements than Liberty Mutual and CNA.
However, there are still some poor paying companies that insure hotels. For example, many attorneys feel that Philadelphia Insurance Company is cheap.
How Long Does an Injured Person Have to Sue a hotel for Personal Injury?
An injured victim has four (4) years to sue a hotel for negligence in a Florida accident.
What is the time limit for a claim against a hotel if someone is killed there due to the hotel’s negligence?
It is two years from the death that was caused by the accident at the hotel. A personal representative brings a wrongful death claim in Florida. The claim is for the estate and each survivor.
The estate and each survivor can recover damages. Typically, the largest part of a wrongful death settlement is for pain and suffering.
For example, take the tragic case of the boy who was attacked and killed by an alligator at a Disney hotel. Let’s assume that the boy’s parents settled their claim.
What third party administrators (TPAs) handle hotel injury claims?
Examples are Gallagher Bassett, Raphael and Associates and many others. A third party administrator (TPA) handles the claim for an insurance company. Ultimately, the insurance company’s money pays the claim. However, the TPA evaluates the claim and negotiates with the injured guest (or his or her lawyer).
As an example, Gallagher Bassett handles claims for Chubb (Federal Insurance Company) for some Homewood Suites by Hilton hotels.
Likewise, Raphael and Associates handles some motel accident claims for Princeton Excess and Surplus Lines Insurance Company. Princeton is part of Munich Re.
On the other hand, the Marriott uses its own claims adjusters for some of its hotels. However, some small Marriott franchisee hotels, like the Downtown Courtyard by Marriott in Pensacola, Florida have insurance and the Marriott does not handle the claim.
Liquor Liability Accident Claims Against Florida Hotels
Hotel staff may become lazy over time and less strict in using the proper procedures when serving alcohol.
In Florida, a hotel may be liable if it serves a customer after he is intoxicated. The hotel must know that he is a habitual drunkard.
Alternatively, Florida hotels may be liable if they serve someone under twenty-one years old if that person later causes injury or death.
The patron may drive after drinking and injure someone. If so, the hotel may be responsible for the victim’s damages.
The victim’s case against the hotel may be harder if the hotel trained all staff who serve liquor, and it was documented.
A hotel or restaurant may also be liable for not having procedures for keeping control over liquor service at group events. These events may include weddings, Bar or Bat Mitzvahs, Quinces, reunions and parties.
Procedures include checking the ID of all guests and giving wristbands or other ways of identifying guests who may legally drink.
Injury Claims caused by a Hotel’s Courtesy Transportation
In Florida, some resorts and hotels have courtesy shuttles. Hotels may be liable if a shuttle driver has a bad driving record and he or she causes an accident.
The victim(s) would have a personal injury claim against the hotel or resort.
A hotel employee may drive a courtesy shuttle. On the other hand, the hotel may contract this driving function out to a third party. If so the vendor’s liability insurance may pay the guest’s damages.
The injured person may have a better case if the vendor failed to screen its drivers and conduct background checks.
Which Injuries Are Worth the Most in a Hotel Accident Case?
An injury is necessary to have an accident case. Without an injury, there is no case.
The injuries that are worth the most are where the hotel guest has surgery on:
- Lower leg (tibia) fracture
- Tibial plateau fracture
- Shoulder joint tear (labrum tear)
- Broken wrist (distal radius fracture)
- Rotator cuff tear
- Fracture of a bone in your face
- Herniated disc
- Thumb fracture
- Broken upper leg bone (femur)
- Hip fracture
- Burst fracture or Compression fracture
- Ankle fracture
However, it doesn’t stop there.
What do you need to get a personal injury settlement with a hotel that is $250,000 or more?
You’ll likely need to have surgery and the hotel will usually need to be clearly at fault for causing your injury. However, this doesn’t mean that if you have surgery, the hotel’s insurance company will automatically offer you $250,000 or more.
It just means that without surgery and without the hotel being clearly at fault, you generally have a low chance at getting a $250,000 or higher offer.
Will the hotel’s insurance policy cover the hotel management company?
Yes. In the hotel’s insurance policy, look at under “Section II – Who is an Insured“. You’ll see that Section II.2.b. says that the [hotel’s] real estate manager is an insured.
Specifically, it says that:
Any person (other than your “employee” or “volunteer worker”), or any organization while acting as a real estate manager.Section II.2.b of a Commercial General Liability Insurance Policy
For practical purposes, what does this mean to you?
It means that if you sue the hotel and the hotel management company, one attorney will likely defend both. In most cases, the hotel’s insurance company will pay and choose the lawyer.
76 factors May affect whether you have an Injury case Against a Hotel
You should know every one of these factors so that you can decide if is worthwhile to pursue a claim. A hotel guest must understanding these factors.
It’s the only way to properly respond the hotel’s insurance company. The hotel guest needs to be as educated as possible when making a accident claim.
Knowledge is power. Understanding the 76 factors will also help you properly value your case.
Injury Claims against a Hotel for Poor Security
Starwood Hotels in Florida
Starwood Hotels has nine distinct hotel brands in Florida:
- Westin (Colonnade, Coral Gables, Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort, etc.)
- Sheraton (Fort Lauderdale Airport & Cruise Port, Cypress Creek, etc.)
- Sheraton Suites
- St. Regis (Bal Harbour Resort, etc.)
- W hotels (South Beach, Fort Lauderdale, etc.)
- Aloft (In Brickell, Doral, etc.)
- Tribute Portfolio Resort (Royal Palm South Beach Miami, etc.)
- Element (Miami International Airport, Doral, etc.)
- Four Points by Sheraton (Miami Beach, Coral Gables, etc.)
Many Starwood hotels are franchisees. Steve Truono is vice president of Global Risk Management & Insurance for Starwood Hotels & Resorts.
According to Claims Management, Starwood’s goal is not to be risk free as operating a hotel always carries some degree of risk.
A company may rent out hotel rooms and have a meeting at a Starwood hotel. The company may want to do team building exercises through a third-party company that carries a high degree of risk.
Starwood may require that the third- party company have great insurance, and a contract that is written favorably for Starwood. They may check the third-party company’s track record, training procedures, and experience to make sure that it is good.
Starwood wants its brands to have a good image. They do not want to alienate its guests.
Per Claims Management, Steve says that Starwood faces the following risks [which may cause injury]:
- Premises liability issues [slip, trip and falls, etc.] related to its pools, spas, gyms and beachfront areas
- Liquor liability [If a habitual alcoholic or minor is overserved and causes injury to someone, Starwood may be on the hook.]
- Employees may make workers’ compensation claims related to housekeeping, catering, and banquet facilities.
How does Starwood Hotels use predictive analytics?
Per Claims Management, Steve says that Starwood has done some predictive analytics in workers compensation claims.
Starwood tries to predict the outcome in a claim’s early stages instead of waiting for it to develop. Starwood locates certain red flags or information about the claim that would, based on data and analytics, show it will trend in a certain direction.
Once Starwood hotels does that, they try to manage those claims more closely. They will be doing more like that in the future.”
Best Western Hotel Accident Claims
Florida has 93 Best Western hotels. Each Best Western® branded hotel is independently owned and operated. This means that the hotel may have insurance that starts at dollar one.
You should submit the notice of claim to the hotel. You may also want to send a notice of claim to the Best Western corporate headquarters. It is located at:
Best Western International Inc.
6201 N. 24th Parkway
Phoenix, AZ 85016
Hard Rock Hotel Injury Claims
Hard Rock has three hotels in Florida. They are located in Orlando, Tampa and Hollywood, Florida. The hotel in Hollywood is subject to Seminole tribal immunity in certain circumstances.
Guests may be giving up major rights when they step onto the Hollywood Hard Rock hotel property. It is my understanding that Zurich insures the Hard Rock for up to $1,000,000 in bodily injury damages.
On at least one past occasion, Gray Robinson had defended the Hard Rock.
Who are the largest hotel franchisees in Florida?
There are many large Florida hotel franchisees. If you were injured at a franchisee’s hotel, your claim is likely against the franchisee. There is a chance that is may also be against the franchisor.
Some large Florida hotel franchisees are:
Ocean Properties, Ltd.
Ocean Properties, Ltd. has 38 Florida hotels including:
- Banana Bay Resort & Marina FL
- Boston’s on the Beach Delray Florida
- Country Inn & Suites by Carlson FL
- Courtyard by Marriott Boynton Beach FL
- Courtyard by Marriott Bradenton
- Courtyard Hutchinson Island /Jensen Beach FL
- Courtyard Key Largo FL and Orlando Lake Buena Vista FL
- Delray Breakers on the Ocean FL
- Delray Sands Resort on Highland Beach FL
- Edgewater Beach Hotel Naples FL
- Hampton Inn Vero Beach Hotel FL
- Hilton Longboat Key FL
- Holiday Inn Lido Beach FL, Port St. Lucie FL, and Vero Beach Oceanside FL
- Holiday Inn Resort & Marina Key Largo FL, and Holiday Inn Express Boca Raton FL
- Hotel Indigo Miami – Dadeland FL
- Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa FL
- Key West Bayside Inn & Suites FL
- Key West Express
- Lido Beach Resort FL
- Marina Del Mar Resort & Marina FL
- Marriott (Delray Beach, Hollywood Beach)
- Marriott Key Largo Bay Beach Resort FL
- Postcard Inn on the Beach FL
- Residence Inn by Marriott St. Petersburg/
Treasure Island Beach FL
- Residence Inn Delray Beach FL
- Sandcastle Resort at Lido Beach FL
- Sandpearl Resort Clearwater Beach FL
- Sheraton Suites Key West FL
- The Resort at Longboat Key Club FL
- Weatherstation Inn Key West FL
- Westin Key West Resort & Marina FL
- Sunset Key Guest Cottages, Luxury Collection FL
You can send a notice of claim to:
Ocean Properties, Ltd.
1001 East Atlantic Ave.
Delray Beach, Florida
Tel: (561) 279-9900
Fax: (561) 276 1563
South Beach Group owns many Miami Beach boutique hotels. They include:
- Catalina Hotel & Beach Club
Chesterfield Hotel Suites
Hollywood Beach Hotel, Suites + Hostel
Lincoln Arms Suites
Metropole South Beach
Posh South Beach Hostel
Riviera South Beach
Tradewinds Apartment + Hotel
You can send a notice of injury claim to the Guest Relations Manager.
If you were hurt at a hotel in the Bahamas, can you get compensation?
Some attorneys try to bring a lawsuit in Miami for an injury that occurred in the Bahamas. I do not handle cases where someone is injured in the Bahamas.
First, I am not licensed there. Second, trying to bring a lawsuit in Miami for an accident that happened a hotel in the Bahamas can be tough.
Attorney Gabriel Garay is a trial lawyer that sues in Miami for accidents at hotels in the Bahamas. He files the lawsuit in federal court.
Gabriel is a great attorney. When I have a question about a lawsuit in federal court, he is one of the attorneys that I ask. As with any attorney, check their state bar website to make sure that they are a member in good standing.
Yes, I sue in federal court in Miami. In fact, I have sued for injured cruise passengers in federal court.
I have even sued the United States of America in federal court. Yes, the good old USA!
After a hard fought battle, they paid me $125,000 to settle. (And that is part of a $325,000 total settlement.)
That said, there are simply too many procedural rules and laws for one attorney to know everything. I know a lot. But I don’t know it all. Thus, I ask attorneys questions from time to time.
Were you seriously hurt from an accident at a hotel in Florida?
If your answer is yes, and the hotel (or someone else) is at fault then…
I want to represent you if you were injured at a Florida hotel
We want to represent you if you were injured in an accident in Florida, on a cruise ship or boat. If you live in Florida but were injured in another state we may also be able to represent you.