Visitor Question

Can we file an injury claim against a resort outside of the U.S.?

Submitted By: Anonymous (Bolingbrook, Illinois)

My husband and I traveled to Playa del Carmen, Mexico for one week. We stayed at an all-inclusive resort that we paid for through our timeshare. The mandatory meal plan was charged to us at $199/day.

The second day of our vacation my husband was walking from the pool to the restrooms that are in the hotel. He slipped on wet tiles and fractured his elbow in several places along with his wrist. We saw the medic on the premises who felt the elbow and said, “I think it’s broken.”

We were taken by van to the Urgent Care. He had x-rays taken and they revealed the extent of his breaks. We had to give them a $2,000 down payment against the total of his medical bill when we were finished.

We had to wait for the orthopedic expert to arrive since he was on call. He discussed the fractures with us and said they would need surgery. We told him we would wait until we returned home. They put a cast on his arm from the armpit to the finger tips. We received a little under $200 back from our $2,000 and then had to pay for our own taxi back to the resort.

We were unable to do anything for the rest of our week in Mexico. I sent the x ray pictures to our doctor in the US and, after finding out it would be better to wait and come home at the end of the week as planned so the swelling could reduce, we spent most of the time in our room. We finally got out to shuffle to lunch and dinner at the end of the trip.

That’s when we received a bill from the resort for the medic looking at his elbow and sending us on our way for over $200. After much discussion on two different days, we had to pay that bill and wait for the resort to refund us a day of inclusive fees to make up for it.

When we returned to the U.S. my husband had to have surgery. He now has a plate and pins in his elbow. He is going three times a week for physical therapy for his elbow and his wrist. He has to wear a brace on his wrist. He is extremely concerned that he will be unable to play the guitar as he could before. He’s played for 55 years.

What would you suggest we do considering this is a Mexican company?

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Anonymous,

We’re sorry to hear of your husband’s accident.

He might try to recover compensation by filing a negligence claim with the resort’s insurance provider. You can also file a claim under any travel insurance policy or timeshare insurance policy you may have.

Negligence Claims

Negligence is a legal term that means a person or business is responsible for causing another person’s injury.

In particular, a resort is negligent for an injury if the injury was caused by one of its employee’s failure to act responsibly or that employee doing something no reasonable person would do.

For example, if a hotel ignores ice accumulating on a walkway, and a person slips and injures a hip, then it’s negligent. The business failed to take any responsible acts to remove the dangerous ice.

In the United States, negligent hotels and resorts must compensate injured guests for any losses that they incur because of the injury.

This compensation includes money for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Property damage
  • Out-of-pocket costs

Compensation may also include money for non-economic losses, such as:

Negligence of the Resort

It’s difficult to say whether the resort is negligent in this particular case. We’d need more facts to say so to any level of certainty.

Your husband was injured after slipping on wet tiles, which were located near the pool.

The real question is whether the resort failed to act as a reasonable business, given the circumstances.

Perhaps yes, provided that:

  • There was a significant amount of water in the area where your husband fell
  • The water was on the tiles because of an obvious leak that the resort ignored
  • The water was on the tiles for a significant amount of time
  • Resort employees knew about the water but chose to ignore it
  • Other guests suffered injuries from slick resort tiles in the past

However, the resort might avoid negligence if there were just a few drops of water on the tiles or if they were immediately next to the pool. A reasonable resort staff would not likely rush to dry the surface area in both of these scenarios.

Compensation for Your Losses

If you can show that the resort is negligent, your husband could seek compensation for his medical treatment and therapy expenses, as well as the transportation expenses of going to and from urgent care.

Also, your husband could try to recover some money if he is unable to play the guitar. He can assert a claim for this compensation under a loss of enjoyment of life theory.

Filing  a Lawsuit Against a Mexican Business

If you don’t succeed in filing an insurance claim, an alternative route is to file a suit against the resort in court.

You might file a suit in either state or federal court depending on:

  • The manner in which the company operates its business
  • Whether it has any offices in the U.S.
  • Whether it has any contacts within the U.S.

If you do successfully file a lawsuit, you may face a hurdle in your case with regards to compensation (also referred to as damages).

One New York court case shows that Mexico might have laws that limit certain types of personal injury compensation. Some U.S. courts may base potential compensation on Mexico’s laws, as opposed to U.S. law.

Get Help from a Personal Injury Attorney

Your husband should talk to a skilled injury lawyer in your state before filing an injury claim. Your attorney can investigate what type of insurance the resort was required to carry.

The accident in question took place in Mexico, where laws are different than in the United States. An attorney can also research any applicable local laws that might apply to this case.

Further, a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer will help ensure that you can, if applicable, file a case in an Illinois court or federal court.

Learn more here: Hotel Accident and Injury Claims

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.

Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,

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