Visitor Question

Canadian injured on hotel restaurant steps while visiting US…

Submitted By: Anonymous (Columbus, OH)

I had been staying at a hotel in Columbus and broke my ankle leaving a restaurant in the hotel. There were 2 steps that I didn’t see. After the fact I had a friend take pictures that show there is an angle where the stairs are not visible at all.

I’m from Canada, and am wondering how this works for when I return home. I’ve been unable to get the hotel’s insurance information because the general management changed over the day after my injury. The old general manager took everything with him including the incident report that was filled out for my fall.

Right now I’m still waiting for a medical specialist consult, and to find out if I’ll have any money owing after my travel insurance has paid expenses. I’m mostly wondering where to start or if I have any path to take.

Two hotel employees have told me they have seen people fall or else have personally fallen on the same steps I fell on, so it seems it was a known hazard that the previous management never dealt with. Any information you can provide would be helpful. Thank you.

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.


Dear Anonymous,

You appear to have the basis a viable personal injury claim based on the United States legal doctrine of premises liability. Restaurants have a legal “duty of care” to do everything within reason to make their property safe for patrons and others who would be legally upon the property.

When a restaurant fails in its duty of care, and as a result of the failure a restaurant patron is injured, the restaurant is said to have “breached” its duty. That breach is referred to as negligence.

When negligence becomes the proximate cause of a patron’s injuries, the patron is normally entitled to reimbursement for damages. This can include medical and therapy bills, out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

The photographs you have of the restaurant steps are vital, as are the statements of the employees. If you haven’t already taken the written statements of the restaurant employees, do what you can to get their contact information. They too, can be vital to the successful pursuit of your personal injury claim.

Steps in a restaurant must be lighted sufficiently for patrons to easily see. In your case, it is clear the steps were not sufficiently lighted, and as a result you fell. Therefore, you have a right to seek compensation for your damages.

There is a caveat. If you were under the influence of alcohol, even if you were not legally intoxicated, you may have unintentionally contributed to your injury. In Ohio, victims in personal injury claims who contribute to their own injures may have their damages reduced by the percentage of their own comparative negligence.

Under Ohio’s comparative negligence rule, a victim can recover damages minus the percentage of the victim’s own negligence. This is true if it is determined the victim’s percentage of contribution to the injury is 50 percent or less. If a victim is more than 50 percent negligent, he or she may not recover compensation from the other party.

Living in Canada does not in any way bar you from pursuing a personal injury claim in the United States. Contact several personal injury attorneys who practice in Columbus Ohio. Most reputable injury attorneys will not charge for an initial consultation.

Learn more here: Dangerous Stairways

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) 647-2490.

Best of luck!


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