What happens if you slip and fall in a hotel you are staying at and end up being injured in result of it? Is the hotel responsible? The answer is – it depends. Hotels have a legal duty to do everything with reason to make the hotel grounds and guest rooms safe for guests and others who would be legally on the property. Without showing negligence you do not have the basis of a claim for compensation for damages. If you slip and fall on the hotel bathtub proving negligence, you may be able to pursue a claim to recover money for your medical bills and costs, pain and suffering, lost wages, and the emotional distress you undergo. If the slip-and-fall accident results in death, the surviving family members can pursue a wrongful death claim.
Real Case in Virginia
McNeilly v. Greenbriar Hotel Corporation
The plaintiff, McNeilly, had attempted to shower and slipped on the bathtub, fell outside the tub enclosure, and hit her head on the marble floor. Prior to the beginning of her shower she noticed there was no bath mat, either already in the tub or in the cabinet. There were no rubber strips lining the tub either. She states that she adjusted the water and entered the tub and stepped forward to adjust the water and her feet flew out from under her. She attempted to grab the metal hand bar, but it was also wet, and the smooth metal was too slippery to grip. She spun around inside the tub, and then fell “out over the tub five feet onto the marble floor and hit her head.” The shower curtain was torn as she fell. A security officer and nurse employed by the Greenbriar responded and took Ms. McNeilly to the Greenbriar clinic. Ms. McNeilly was later transported to the Emergency room. Ms. McNeilly stated in her deposition, after her return from the emergency room, she checked the bathtub for residue from cleaning products that may have caused the tub to be slippery. She observed residue and believes the cleaning products were not adequately rinsed from the tub. The Greenbriar stated they had someone come and check the room before Ms. McNeilly arrival and stated that they had checked and wipe the fixtures, tub, and surface with their hands to check for residue. If there was residue the room attendant would have been required to re-clean the tub. The Greenbriar frames the issue in this case as turning on whether it owed a duty to supply a bathmat, install rubber strips beyond the industry-compliant anti-slip surface, warn of the slippery tub/shower, or treat the surface of the bathtub in some manner. As a matter of law, the Greenbriar, like all hotels, owes a duty of reasonable care to its patrons, including the duty to provide reasonably safe premises. Though the Greenbriar’s expert found the bathtub to be compliant with industry standards, meeting industry standards is not dispositive of the issue of reasonable care in a negligence suit. The Court found that Ms. McNeilly had referenced sufficient evidence to create a genuine issue of material fact with respect to whether the Greenbriar exercised reasonable care. Whether a hotel operator exercising reasonable care, under the circumstances presented here, would have taken additional precautions to prevent falls in the bathtub is a matter for the jury’s determination.
What You Need to Know
At the time the injury occurs, the statute of limitations in Virginia for personal injury is two years. A statute of limitations is the law and it can limit your ability to take legal action. If you are involved in a slip and fall incident at a business or on someone else’s premises you may be entitled to compensation. Each case is different. If you speak to an attorney before giving any statements to other parties, you protect yourself from being taken advantage of. Your actions right after a fall can have a huge impact on any future legal action you decide to take.