Broken elbow from fall off 5 foot wall...

by Cecilia

My 28 year old daughter was sitting with her feet in an out-of-state hotel's hot tub around midnight. She was sitting around the back side of the hot tub where there was only a small amount of decking. Behind the decking was a 5 ft. drop, and there was no fencing and it was not cordoned off. When she stood up she slipped and fell off the wall, shattering her elbow.

An ambulance was summoned by her friends and she underwent a 6 hour surgery, followed by 2 pulmonary embolisms 2 weeks later. She has a lot of ongoing physical therapy and pain, and will never have full mobility of her elbow.

Someone from the front desk peeked out when the ambulance came, but no one even checked on her. There were no hotel reports made, as she was flown home immediately after surgery. There was no alcohol involved and there were no signs not allowing them in that area. Is the hotel liable for this? Does she have a case? What can she do? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Broken elbow from fall off 5 foot wall...":

Cecilia (NC):

From the facts you present, your daughter may have the basis of a hotel premises liability claim. Learn more about liability in slip and fall claims here.

The legal doctrine controlling hotel responsibility for guest injuries is Premises Liability. Hotels have a legal "duty of care" to do everything within reason to make the hotel grounds and guest rooms safe for those legally upon the property. This includes keeping hot tubs and the areas around the hot tubs safe.

When a hotel fails in its duty of care toward guests, the hotel is said to have "breached" its duty. That breach is referred to as negligence.

When negligence exists, and as a result of that negligence a hotel guest is injured, that guest is entitled to damages, including reimbursement for the victim's medical and therapy bills, out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

To support a claim for personal injuries based on premises liability will require evidence. As soon as possible, send someone back to the hotel to take photographs of the hot tub and its surrounding area. Additionally, speak with the hotel manager and ask if a report was made at the time of your daughter's injuries.

While the evidence seems to indicate someone from the hotel front desk peered out but did nothing more, there is always a chance an incident report was created. Surely the hotel clerk told the manager or owner of the hotel what transpired.

While the hotel manager or owner is not under a legal obligation to give you a copy of the report, they may. The report may contain important information about the incident.

Contact several personal injury attorneys in the area. Most will not charge for an initial office consultation. Bring along copies of your daughter's medical records and bills, receipts for out-of-pocket expenses, and a written letter from her employer verifying the dates and wages your daughter lost as a result of the injury.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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