Tripped and fell on ripped bed skirt...

by Norma

I was staying in a hotel room. Within the first hour of being in the room I sat on the bed, and upon standing up my foot got caught in a ripped bed skirt. I fell, breaking my arm and elbow.

I needed surgery and therapy to recover. I had loss of work and lots of pain. I have been told that since the cleaning staff said there wasn't any rip when they cleaned, that the hotel was not aware of the problem to fix it. Thus making them not really liable for compensation for my injuries. I'd just like another opinion.

Is the hotel liable for my injuries? Does it matter whether the cleaning staff knew about the ripped bed skirt? Is there anything I can do to get compensation for my injuries? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Tripped and fell on ripped bed skirt...":

Norma (Michigan):

Don't let the hotel get away with the paltry excuse. While it is true property owners must have a reasonable amount of time after being made aware of a dangerous condition, in order to be able to correct that condition, in your case they knew, or should have known about the ripped bed skirt.

To get a better understanding of who's liable, read this article on premises liability and the duties of property owners and visitors.

If the room was vacuumed every day, and the bed was made daily as well, then the cleaning staff knew, or should have known the bed skirt was torn. The fact that they may not have reported the tear to management is not a sufficient legal excuse.

Property owners are liable for the negligent acts or omissions of their employees when the employees are working in the regular course of business. As a result, management can not hide behind a position they did not have sufficient time to repair or replace the torn bed skirt.

From the facts you present, we will assume the manager was made aware of your injuries at the time of the injuries, or soon thereafter. Moreover, it is likely that once notified about your injury, management completed an internal Incident Report. Unfortunately, at this time you don't have a legal right to a copy of that report.

Your injuries are serious enough to require several consultations with local personal injury attorneys. Fortunately, most injury attorneys do not charge for initial office consultations.

While you don't have a legal right to access the Incident Report, an attorney can readily access it by a subpoena duces tecum. Moreover, the attorney can subpoena the cleaning staff, the management, or anyone else with knowledge of the incident. That's something you can't do.

An attorney can take depositions to learn when the cleaning staff and management became aware of the torn bed skirt, and once notified, what management did or failed to do, including what management told the cleaning staff. This can be especially helpful to your case if management told the cleaning staff to lie about their having reported the tear much earlier than management claims they became aware.

Don't hesitate to seek out the advice and counsel of personal injury attorneys in your area. Your injuries are serious enough to require legal representation.

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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