Common Hotel Accidents & Injuries Over Spring Break
Spring break is officially here, and with Miami being ranked the #1 Spring Break destination in the world, we want to remind you and your loved ones to stay safe. While this time of year brings fun in the sun, it also brings the possibility of injuries and accidents, oftentimes at Miami Beach hotels. In fact, some of the worst accidents can happen to spring break travelers while on hotel property.
General Rule Regarding Negligence and Hotel Liability
Generally speaking, hotels have a high legal duty of care to ensure that their premises are safe for all guests and to prevent all reasonably foreseeable accidents whenever possible. Hotel premises can include the rooms, but also all common areas, including swimming pools, lobby, and meeting rooms, as well as the hotel’s airport shuttle bus and parking lot. Because guests are considered “invitees,” they are entitled to be protected from all reasonably foreseeable harm. Foreseeable harm is one a reasonable hotel manager either knows or should know could occur on the hotel premises due to the actions of the hotel guests. However, if the injuries are a result of the hotel guest’s own actions, such as voluntary intoxication, the hotel manager does not necessarily have to protect that guest from harming himself or herself.
Whenever a hotel should have known of a defect or broken condition it is called constructive knowledge. Constructive knowledge can be proven with evidence that shows how long danger existed. Often times it can be proven by the hotel’s failure to maintain and inspect the premises appropriately.
Injuries Involving Swimming Pools
The warm Florida weather makes travelers want to cool off by taking a dip in the hotel pool. However, when combined with excessive alcohol- injuries, accidents, even death can result. Swimming pools can become very dangerous due to the slippery surfaces surrounding them. If the hotel does not maintain the surface surrounding the pool or provide lifeguards, and a hotel guest is injured, the hotel can find itself legally responsible. Many hotels post notices that the guests are swimming at their own risk, this notice is not always enough to protect the hotel if the hotel does have reason to believe people will be drinking while swimming or that children will be at the pool, the hotel is expected to put appropriate safeguards in place to protect those using the pool.
Slip and Falls
Some of the most common accidents that occur on a hotel premises involve slip and falls. These injuries can happen when a difference in flooring exists, when floors are uneven or cracked, or when rubber mats are bunched at the entrances to the hotel. Hotel management is expected to regularly inspect flooring to ensure that all hazards are removed, and water or other liquids are cleaned up as quickly as possible to reduce the risk of a slip and fall accident.
Intoxicated guests and balconies do not mix. Falls off railings on balconies have led to numerous serious injuries, as well as deaths, and it is for this reason that Florida law has requirements on public lodging establishments for railing height and inspections. Under Florida Statute 509.2212, every public lodging establishment that is three or more stories in height must file a certificate stating that all balconies, stairways, platforms and railways have been properly inspected. If someone falls off a hotel balcony, and it is discovered that the inspection has not taken place as required, the hotel can be liable for the guest’s injuries or death.
Assaults on Hotel Premises
It is common, as well, for assaults, including physical or sexual, to occur while on the hotel property. Many guests will assume that they are safer than they actually are, and criminals often know that hotel guests, especially young spring break travelers, are vulnerable and easy targets. Never accept a drink from someone you do not completely trust and keep your guard up at all times while on Spring Break. Watch your alcohol intake and do not venture off alone with someone you just met. Always stay with a group of friends and keep an eye on one another.
If the hotel does not provide the proper level of security, they can be held liable for injuries. However, adding alcohol to the situation, sexual assaults can occur, as well, which unfortunately happen more often than they are reported. When they are reported, certain travel companies, such as TripAdvisor have begun to report these incidents on their sites. In fact, TripAdvisor has recently begun placing symbols next to hotels listed on the site that have been locations for sexual assault and other assaults.
These specific incidents are only a select handful of what other injuries can and have occurred while on hotel property during Spring Break. Other incidents include the following:
- Burns from scalding water in the hotel room, such as from the shower or the hotel sink;
- Food poisoning from hotel-supplied food;
- Injuries from broken furniture in the room or hotel common areas; and
- Bed bugs.
If you or someone you know have been injured while on Spring Break in the Florida area, and you are concerned about your rights, you are encouraged to contact the Miami-based Aronfeld Trial Lawyers. Florida’s hotels and motels have very specific legal responsibilities. Hotel owners and operators have to provide reasonable protection to their guests and visitors. In Florida, every hotel and motel must use reasonable care and keep their property safe, clean and well maintained. If you have suffered injuries at a Miami Beach hotel or motel while on Spring Break, you have the right to pursue financial compensation. Our Miami hotel injury lawyers have over 30 years of experience representing injured persons and their families in Florida hotel and motel accidents. Call us today for a free initial consultation at 1-866-597-4529 or email [email protected] about your potential claim. Our attorneys and support staff are available to speak with you 24-hours a day, 7-days a week.