This article focuses on slip and fall claims against Florida resorts, motels and hotels. The cases and settlements below aren’t mine unless I specifically say that they are.
Jury Awards $396,725 for Kneecap Fracture and Surgery from Slip and Fall at Hotel
In Westgate Palace, LLC v. Parr, Fla: Dist. Court of Appeals, 5th Dist. 2017, Mrs. Parr traveled to Orlando. She was staying at the Westgate Palace Hotel, a facility owned and operated by Westgate.
The jury awarded her a total of $396,725.62. This included $10,000 for past lost earnings, $61,726.62 in past medical expenses, $125,000 in future medical expenses, $150,000 for past pain and suffering, and $50,000 for future pain and suffering.
After applying her fault to the verdict, she gets 45% (hotel’s % of fault) of the verdict. This would be about $178,526.529.
The jury awarded Mr. Parr $7,500, including $3750 in past loss of consortium and $3750 in future loss of consortium. Mr. Parr gets 45% of his verdict. This would be $3,375.
(However, the appeals court ordered the trial court to allow the hotel’s lawyer to interview a juror. The hotel may get a new trial.)
Hotel Parking Lot Injuries
- Is unfamiliar with the parking lot layout
- Trips on and object because there is poor lighting
Landscaping and Walkways at Hotels
Hotels have landscaping and walkways. A guest may have a personal injury case against a hotel if he or she slip or trips on:
- A hole in the grass that is covered with overgrowth.
- A vinyl landscape edging that is protruding into the walkway.
- Pebbles that overflow over a landscaping edging onto the walkway.
- A dangerous condition in a dark parking lot including, but not limited to, a pothole or piece of metal sticking up from the ground.
- A walkway or bridge has uneven or slippery flooring.
Hazards Inside Hotel, Motels and Resorts in Florida
A hotel, resort or motel guest may have a case if he or she slips or trips and falls due to:
- a sunken area.
- an unmarked changing floor surface.
- an electrical cord that is in the walkway.
- highly waxed dance floor or other area.
- alcohol, food or another beverage on the floor.
- workout equipment and weights left on the floor.
Someone may also fall due to water on:
- a tile floor in the shower room of a swimming pool.
- slippery tile on the pool edges.
- the floor of the gym or exercise room.
Mats for Interior Entrances to Hotels, Motels and Resorts
You may slip or trip and fall while entering a hotel. The victim’s case may be stronger if he or she slips on water at the entrance and there were no mats at the hotel’s entrance.
A slip and fall at the entrance of a hotel may be tougher if there were mats. However, if the mats are bunched up the case may be easier.
The guest may have a stronger injury case if he or she can show that the hotel, resort or motel did not use one or more of the following procedures to make its property safe.
Failure to follow the procedure must have caused the guest’s injury:
- Check bathroom floors and areas near water fountains and drink machines often.
- Use absorbent, nonskid mats at the bottom of water fountains to absorb excess moisture.
- Require guests to put their workout bags in locks (if available).
- Remove unused towels and weights, and put them in the proper storage rack.
- Use an inspection sheet to record inspections times.
The hotel, resort or motel may hire an outside company to perform any of the above services. If so, the other company may have an insurance policy that might provide compensation.
Exterior Dangerous Conditions at Florida Hotels, Motels and Resorts
There are many exterior dangerous conditions that can cause a fall at a Florida hotel.
Staircase with Broken Tile or Missing Step
A step on a staircase may break at a hotel or resort. If this happens, the hotel should place a warning sign next to the step.
The hotel should immediately block of this area. They should fix the step as soon as possible.
Guest Bathroom Cases Against Hotels, Motels or Resorts
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.
Faulty Grab Bars in the Shower
A hotel, motel or resort may have a hotel that has a faulty grab bar in the bathtub or shower. You lose your balance after trying to hold onto the faulty grab bar. If you fall as a result, you may have a personal injury claim.
You could also slip and fall on water that is leaking through a crack in the shower door hinge.
Swimming Pool Accidents/Jacuzzi Areas
Most hotel pool accidents in Florida are slip and falls. More data can be found at the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals.
Pool decks at Florida hotels should have anti-slip flooring. There should be enough drainage so that water does not form puddles.
The pool deck should be even. An injured hotel guest should take pictures of pooled water if it causes a slip and fall.
The pool deck and area should be clean. It should not have debris or dangerous conditions. Each day the pool area should be inspected prior to letting guests in the pool area.
Any trip hazards should be removed. If a trip hazard cannot be removed, it needs to be marked properly. It can be blocked off.
The edges of the hazard should be soft. This may prevent injury to a guest.
Hotel Guest Slip and Falls on Pool Deck, Gets Settlement for Leg Fracture
A a guest who slipped and fell on a hotel pool deck.
As a result, he suffered a leg fracture. He claimed that the pool deck was too slippery.
He had surgery. I worked with an attorney from a different law firm on this case.
Hotel Pool Accidents
Ladders should have nonslip tread on at least one area of the deep section in a pool. Diving boards should have anti slip tread.
Find out more about Florida swimming pool injury claims.
Lower Leg Injuries at Florida Hotels
My Actual Case: $23,000 Settlement for my client, a guest at a hotel in a Hyatt hotel. My settlements on this page are before deduction for attorney’s fees and expenses.
Most cases result in a lower recovery. It should not be assumed that your case will have as beneficial a result.
She claimed that she slipped and fell on water near the cafeteria. She claimed that she suffered quadriceps tears. It happened in Doral, Florida.
I spoke with her co-worker. Her co-worker said that an employee at the hotel mopped the area before the fall.
The co-worker said that a “slippery when wet” warning sign was placed by the hotel entrance. However, the co-worker said it was not visible to my client, the hotel guest.
Zurich Insurance Company was the hotel’s insurer.
They initially offered nothing. We prepared a written statement for the witness to sign under oath.
The witness signed it. We sent the witness the statement. She signed it.
We sent it to Zurich. She treated with a doctor for about six weeks. She did not get further treatment. Surgery was not recommended.
Hotel Guest Wins $1,155,806 for Slip and Fall Near Ice Machine
This isn’t my case. A hotel guest claimed that she slipped near an ice machine at a Broward County Hotel on July 7, 2007. She claimed that the floor wasn’t reasonably slip resistant.
She was 29 years old and had 3 kids. Her occupation was a deli manager.
She argued that the hotel should’ve had carpet or a mat near the ice machine, or that the floor should’ve been slip resistant. The court allowed the testimony of someone who said that the ice machine had leaked two years before the accident.
Choice Hotels International argued that this was irrelevant as to whether the machine was leaking on the day of the accident.
The trial court disagreed with the hotel.
The court allowed testimony that the maintenance man had told someone “this machine is always leaking.”
Her attorney hired a hospitality expert, who likely said that the floor should’ve had carpet or mats or been slip resistant. Her lawyer also hired an engineer, George Zimmerman, who may have testified as to slip resistance.
It may cost $500 or more to hire a hospitality expert to give an opinion on whether he/she feels that hotel was negligent. An expert like the engineer used in this case usually requires an initial fee of $1,200 or so.
She was pregnant at the time of her fall. She mostly complained of low back injuries.
An ambulance took her to the emergency room. This helped her case.
She was seen at the ER, and was instructed to see her doctor. Then, she continued getting medical treatment for her lower back injury.
She then had another slip and fall at someone’s house. The hotel argued that this new slip and fall caused her new back injury.
She said that this 2nd slip and fall was caused due to her difficulty walking from the first slip and fall. When you have a 2nd accident, it can make it tougher to prove that the first accident caused your injury.
She also had gaps in her medical treatment. In total, she had about 17 injections, which included facet blocks, sacroiliac injections, and epidurals.
A Doctor Analyzed Her Nerve Studies That She Had Done
A neurologist, Dr. Richard Kirshner, MD, diagnosed her with cervical disk displacement, cervical radiculopathy, lumbar disk displacement and lumbar radiculopathy. She also complained to him of paresthesia (numbness).
Johnson complained of a shocking sensation from her neck to her buttocks. Dr. Kirshner called it a Lhermitte’s sign.
He said that any impingement on the spinal cord can cause a shocking sensation from the neck down to the buttocks, into the legs or even into the arms.
Johnson was given an EMG test. She had findings that were consistent with L5 radiculopathy on the right. (Radicular pain may also be accompanied by numbness and tingling, muscle weakness and loss of specific reflexes. When nerve dysfunction is present, this is called “radiculopathy”.)
Her L5 nerve root was affected. Dr. Kirshner related her radiculopathy of the L5 nerve root to the incident on June 7, 2007.
Victims’ Lawyer Offered to Settle for $500K, But Hotel Didn’t Accept
On October 24, 2011, Johnson (through her lawyer) offered to settle for $500,000. Tamarac Hotels, Inc. didn’t accept it.
The breakdown of the $1,155,806 jury verdict is:
- $137,656 – past medical expenses
- $270,000 – future medical expenses
- $10,000 – past lost earnings
- $260,000 – future lost earnings
- $204,400 – past pain and suffering
- $273,750 – future pain and suffering.
I think that this was a great result for her. The verdict was on November 3, 2014.
The final judgment was for $960,225.82. The hotel tried to get the verdict reduced. On January 15, 2015, the trial judge refused to reduce the verdict.
Choice Hotels International (the holding corporation) accused Johnson of fraud upon the court by repeatedly being untruthful throughout the course of the lawsuit.
Specifically, Choice Hotels claimed that she failed to disclose to her treating physicians an accident in which she fell down a flight of stairs three months after this accident, before she begun treating. Choice also said that Johnson failed to disclose a subsequent car accident.
The hotel said that she never told her doctors she suffered from chest pain prior to the accident. Thus, the hotel argued that her doctor’s opinions (were flawed) because they were based upon the history given to them by her.
The trial court also awarded attorney’s fees because the guest’s final judgement was 25% higher than her offer to settle during the lawsuit.
On April 13, 2017, the appeals court approved the verdict. Tamarac Hotels, Inc. v. Johnson, Fla: Dist. Court of Appeals, 4th Dist. 2017
On October 4, 2017, the Florida Supreme Court denied review. This means that Tamarac Hotels (Mainstay Suites and Comfort Suites) owes the injured guest the full judgment.
The case is Nickesha Johnson vs. Tamarac Hotels, Inc. d/b/a Mainstay Suits and d/b/a Comfort Suites, and Choice Hotels International.
Will a Hotel’s Insurance Company Pay You Medical Payments Coverage if You’re Injured on Its Property?
A hotel guest is entitled to receive benefits directly from the hotel’s insurance through the medical payments (“med pay”) provisions of a premises liability insurance policy issued to the hotel. The hotel’s med pay coverage would also pay for a lawful visitor on the hotel’s premises.
This assumes that the hotel has med pay insurance on its policy.
Medical payments without regard to liability. For med pay to apply, the guest must suffer injuries on the property.
Self-insured hotels don’t have med pay. The same is true for some large hotel franchisees.
Thus, some of the following hotels may not have medpay: Hilton, Disney hotels, Hyatt or Hyatt Regency hotels, Marriott, JW Marriott, Courtyard Marriott, Sheraton, Fontainebleau Miami Beach, Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center, Westin or Ramada.
Send a Written Insurance Disclosure Request to See if the Hotel has Medical Payments Coverage
A guest who slip and falls on a Florida hotel’s property should send a insurance disclosure letter pursuant to Florida Statute 627.4137. That will require the hotel’s insurance company to tell you if the hotel has med pay coverage.
If the guest is forced to sue to get the hotel’s insurer to make payment of medical payment benefits, he can recover attorney’s fees and costs. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co. v. Kambara, 667 So. 2d 831, 831-32 (Fla. 4th DCA 1996).
The best part?
The hotel guest is considered an omnibus insured.
Keep in mind that medical payments coverage is different than the hotel’s liability coverage. With liability coverage, the hotel’s negligence must have caused the guest’s injury in order for the insurance company to owe him money under liability coverage.
Hotel liability coverage is often in the amount of $1 million dollars or more. On the other hand, medical payments coverage is typically in the amount of $1,000, $5,000 or $10,000.
How Long Will It Take to Settle a Hotel Slip and Fall Case?
It will depend on whether the hotel accepts responsibility for your fall. The length of time to settle will also depend upon when you’re finished treatment.
In almost all hotel slip and fall cases, the injured person should wait to settle until he or she is finished getting medical care. Otherwise, the hotel guest may settle the case without knowing the injury severity.
With minimal treatment, a hotel slip and fall claim could settle within a few months.
On the other hand, if the victims gets surgery, this prolongs the treatment time. Cases with surgery can take several months to years to get a settlement for fair value. On a positive note for the hotel slip and fall case, surgery increases the full settlement value.
Injuries at Caribbean Resorts with Ties to Florida
In some situations if you are injured in the Caribbean or outside of Florida, you may be able to sue in Florida if:
- the defendant does business in Florida
- is registered to do business in Florida; or
- has its principal place of business in Florida.
Starwood Hotels in Florida
According to Claims Management, Starwood’s goal is not to be risk free as operating a hotel always carries some degree of risk. For example, many guests slip and fall at a hotel through no fault of the hotel.
I wrote a different article on general accident claims against Florida hotels, motels and resorts.
Did a hotel, resort or motel’s carelessness cause you to slip, fall and suffer an injury in Florida? Were you injured in another type of accident, or somewhere else?
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