When most people visit a hotel, their main goal is to relax and unwind. They do not expect to be injured simply by walking about in their room. But unfortunately, hotels are one of the most common locations of Florida slip-and-fall accidents.
Of course, when hotels are sued, they come to court armed with a large corporate legal team. This reality can turn slip-and-fall cases into an uphill climb for injured guests. Working with a law firm with a proven track record in slip-and-fall cases can help increase the odds of winning your case.
A recent court decision demonstrated just how difficult it can be to win these cases in Florida.
In this case, a woman tripped and fell in her hotel room. The apparent cause of the fall was an unbeveled drop-off between tile and carpet flooring. Importantly, the drop-off was three-eighths of an inch. Under the Florida building code, the drop-off was required to be beveled to ease the transition between the two walking surfaces.
The guest made two legal claims against the hotel. First, she argued that the hotel had neglected a duty to warn her about the drop-off. Second, she asserted that the hotel had failed to keep her room in a safe condition. The trial court rejected both claims before the guest could even make her case to a jury. The reviewing court, however, allowed the second claim to go through.
As the court explained, owners of businesses like hotels owe two related duties to their guests: First, when a business owner is aware of a hidden danger on their premises, they need to warn their guests about it. Second, business owners have to keep their premises in a reasonably safe condition. When a business owner’s failure to meet either or both of these duties results in an injury to a guest, the guest can sue.
Unfortunately for the guest in this case, the trial court concluded that the drop-off was obvious, such that it could not have been a “hidden” danger. Therefore, the hotel had no duty to warn. In making this assessment, the court likely considered a variety of aspects of the room’s condition, such as whether there was enough lighting to see the drop-off. When making the case for an injured client, these types of details are crucially important for personal injury lawyers to address.
As for the second claim, the reviewing court said that the drop-off could conceivably constitute an unsafe condition, referencing Florida’s building code as potential evidence. As this case demonstrates, proving a violation of the law can constitute evidence of a business owners’ negligence. Therefore, an effective personal injury attorney must be well versed in a variety of areas of law.
The case will now continue to trial on the guest’s second claim.
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If you or a member of your family has been hurt in a slip-and-fall accident in Florida, you deserve effective representation in your pursuit of monetary damages against those responsible. The law firm of Friedman Rodman Frank & Estrada has significant experience in personal injury cases and is accepting new clients at this time. We approach each case with compassion, care, and a tailored approach to ensure that the difficult process of bringing a claim is as seamless as possible for our clients. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer, call 877-448-8585 today.