Florida Appellate Court Finds Hotel Did Not Have a Duty to Erect Barriers To Keep Traffic Out of Pool Area

Earlier this month, an appellate court in Florida issued a written opinion in a tragic Florida car accident case that claimed the life of the plaintiff’s pregnant wife. The case involved the question of whether a road-side hotel had a duty to prevent traffic from a nearby road from entering the hotel’s pool area in the event of an out-of-control vehicle. Ultimately, the court concluded that the hotel did not have a duty to prevent this type of accident, and it dismissed the plaintiff’s case.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff and his pregnant wife were sitting poolside under a cabana while staying at the defendant hotel. While the couple was under the cabana, a drunk driver lost control of her vehicle, jumped a curb, and came careening into the hotel’s pool area. The car crashed into the cabana, killing the plaintiff’s wife and injuring the plaintiff.

The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against both the driver of the car as well as the hotel. The plaintiff presented evidence that it was common for motorists to speed on the road on which the hotel was located. An engineer testified that, due to a curve in the road, at some point, vehicles traveling along the road are directly facing the pool area. The plaintiff argued that, given these facts, the hotel should have taken additional precautions to prevent this type of accident.

The defendant hotel presented its own witnesses. An engineer for the defense testified that there had never been this type of collision on this particular section of the road before. Another engineer testified that the cabana was in compliance with all building codes and that it was designed to withstand significant force, albeit not the force that was exerted in this accident.

After hearing the evidence, the jury determined that the driver was 85% at fault and the hotel 15% at fault, resulting in a verdict against the hotel of over $3.5 million. The hotel appealed to a higher court, arguing that it did not have a duty to protect the plaintiff and his wife under the circumstances.

The appellate court agreed with the hotel. The court explained that an essential element of a negligence case is establishing that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care. Here, the court explained that the determination of whether a duty exists is if the accident was reasonably foreseeable. Given that there had been no prior accidents on this stretch of road, and there was only a remote chance that an accident like this could occur, the court determined that the hotel did not have a duty to install additional barriers to protect against this type of accident.

Have You Been Injured in a South Florida Car Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in any kind of South Florida car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Depending on the type of accident and the parties involved, there may be more than one responsible party. The skilled South Florida personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Friedman, Rodman & Frank have extensive experience representing clients in all types of personal injury claims, including car accidents and premises liability cases. Call 877-448-8585 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney today.

More Blog Posts:

Court Limits Truck Owner’s Liability, Finding that He Loaned Truck to At-Fault Driver, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published July 6, 2017.

Who Is Responsible in Florida When Someone Causes an Accident Using a Borrowed or Stolen Car?, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published June 19, 2017.

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