What Should You Do if You Have Been Hurt in a Slip and Fall While on Vacation?
July 20, 2022
An accident can be particularly overwhelming and disruptive when it occurs away from home. While summertime is when people typically enjoy going on vacations with family and friends, it is also the time of year when the likelihood of being involved in an accident increases, including a slip and fall.
Getting injured as a result of a slip and fall accident is never anticipated while on vacation, though it happens more often than people realize. It can be especially complicated if you are injured and end up spending time in an unfamiliar hospital, hotel, or cruise ship.
When property owners or other responsible parties neglect hazardous conditions that cause slip and fall accidents and injuries, they may be held liable for damages and compensation. Slip and fall accidents can happen anywhere at any time. The injuries individuals may suffer from vary and can be very serious. Slip and falls most commonly cause broken bones but can also lead to devastating injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and spinal cord damage.
In a matter of seconds, a slip and fall accident can cause life-changing injuries and an onslaught of medical bills, in addition to pain and suffering. After being involved in a slip and fall accident, there are many questions to be answered. This can be difficult to manage for someone who is also trying to recover from physical and emotional injuries. It is always wise to seek legal counsel from an experienced premises liability lawyer if you have been injured in an accident while on vacation.
What Are Common Locations for Vacation Slip and Falls?
Summer vacation brings much opportunity for outdoor activities close to home, as well as fun trips to out-of-town locations. In every scenario, there are places where unsuspecting vacationers may encounter hazards that can lead to serious slip and fall accidents.
The following are some common locations where slip and falls can happen while on vacation:
- Swimming pools: Public pools, hotel or resort pools, and pools on private property all pose hazards for slip and fall accidents. Slippery tiles or pavements due to splashes or spills can make pool areas risky for slip and falls, especially during flip-flop season. When pool areas are poorly maintained, slip and falls accidents are more likely to happen.
- Cluttered walkways: It is common for pool patrons to suffer slip and falls after tripping over pool equipment left out in walkway areas. Other cluttered walkways or hallways may be found in or around hotels or vacation resorts.
- Stairways and ramps: Stairways with broken or loose stair treads or handrails are extremely dangerous and commonly cause slip and fall accidents. Poorly maintained stairways and ramps can be found indoors and outdoors, at hotels and resorts, amusement and water parks, and public or private pools.
- Uneven surfaces: Uneven bricks, crumbling pavement, and potholes can all cause unsuspecting vacationers to suffer slip and fall accidents. Various types of uneven surfaces can be found around pool properties, hotels, rest stops, playgrounds, and parking lots across the country.
- Unstable surfaces: Floors with loose or broken tiles, floorboards, or bunched up area rugs are all considered unstable surfaces. Rental homes and hotels may have various areas with unstable surfaces that are not properly maintained for their guests.
- Poorly lit areas: Areas without proper lighting are also pose risks for slip and fall accidents. People paying to stay at hotels expect to be provided a safe environment. Not only are poorly lit areas dangerous in term of security, they may increase the likelihood of slip and fall accidents that can easily been prevented.
What Causes Vacation Slip and Falls?
Common causes of vacation slip and falls include:
- Failure to install: Property owners or other entities who fail to properly install certain safety measures, such as handguards and railings, can cause serious slip and fall injuries.
- Failure to post proper signage: Sometimes, slippery surfaces are unavoidable. Other surfaces are impossible to keep dry at all times, like areas around a waterslide. In these situations, property owners should put up signs warning patrons of temporary slippery surfaces to help warn and prevent slip and fall accidents.
- Improper choice of flooring materials: Property and business owners should choose flooring materials that are appropriate for the area they are covering and the safety concerns surrounding them. If they fail to do so and a patron suffers a slip and fall injury, the owners can be held liable for their negligence in the choice of flooring material.
- Failed property inspection: Hotels, restaurants, and many other properties are subject to regular inspections. If a property fails an inspection because of a hazardous condition, and the owner does not make the necessary changes, they can be held liable for a slip and fall.
- Failing to repair leaking appliances: Some hotels and most vacation rentals offer appliances for guests to use during their stay. If a refrigerator or other appliance has a known leak that causes a guest to have a slip and fall accident, the property owner or maintenance company may be held liable.
- Failure to rectify conditions caused by weather: Sudden rain and thunderstorms are common during the summer months. Properties that house or entertain patrons should be prepared to make the areas affected by hazardous weather conditions as safe as possible for their guests.
Who Could Be Responsible for a Vacation Slip and Fall?
There can be several parties that may be held liable for a slip and fall accident. While most lawsuits target the property owner, it is also possible to pursue claims against the tenant or leaseholder of the property, such as a business that rents the premises. Property managers, builders, and contractors can also be held liable for accidents that happen due to hazardous conditions on the premises.
Slip and fall accidents often happen while vacationers are on the premises of a business. They are especially common at places like restaurants, grocery stores, and rest stops where the combination of large crowds, spilled liquids, and loose items that can result in slip and fall accidents.
A guest is considered an invitee under premises liability law. Common hotel or resort duties include maintaining all stairs and elevators, actively monitoring for hazardous conditions, and training pool staff to prevent injuries and damages to guests. Businesses have a legal responsibility to clean up and remove hazardous conditions as soon as possible. They are also obligated to put up signs warning others to be cautious and watch their step.
Slip and fall accidents can also occur in a government-owned building, like a library, or out in a public place, such as a park with walking paths. Unsafe conditions in public spaces and on public roads are the government’s responsibility because they can pose hazards to pedestrians.
It is possible to pursue a case against a city, county, state, or federal government; however, it is important to understand that it comes with additional legal challenges. It is crucial to hire an experienced premises liability lawyer to help you navigate the specific procedures and laws that apply to such entities.
Sometimes, summer vacation simply involves spending time at neighbors’ and friends’ houses for pool parties and cookouts. Regardless of the nature of their personal relationships, private property owners still owe the same responsibilities to their guests as business owners. If someone has permission to be on private property, they should expect a duty of care from the private property owner.
We Advocate for Clients Injured in Slip and Falls
If you have been in a slip and fall accident while on vacation, the first step you should take is to seek immediate medical attention. You should also hire an experienced premises liability lawyer to make sure everything is handled properly.
Our firm has a history of success advocating for our clients with premises liability cases:
- $300,000 settlement for slip and fall at vacation rental. Our client tripped and fell down a flight of stairs at a two-story villa rental in the Poconos, causing her to suffer severe and permanent injuries to her right leg. A thorough investigation revealed that the owner of the hotel property was negligent after showing defective bunching in the carpet in a dangerous area on the stairwell. The wall-to-wall carpet had not been formally inspected or repaired in 19 years, and there was an absence of proper handrails. Testimony from hotel employees supported our argument that the defect was obvious for a long time and should have been recognized and repaired by the property owner. After mediation, Michael Malvey of Galfand Berger LLP was able to recover $300,000 in damages to pay for medical bills and lost wages as well as pain and suffering.
- $250,000 settlement for slip and fall at hotel. We also had a client who was a guest at a popular hotel chain and was injured when she slipped and fell walking through the hotel lobby. She suffered a fractured ankle and a dislocation to her elbow. Our investigation showed that condensation had developed on the floor and was caused by humid outdoor temperatures meeting the air conditioning near the lobby doors. We were able to obtain a $250,000 settlement for our client through negotiations with the insurance carrier prior to filing a lawsuit.
Philadelphia Premises Liability Lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP Can Help You if You Have Been Injured Because of a Negligent Property Owner
If you have been injured on someone else’s property while on vacation, one of our Philadelphia premises liability lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP can answer your legal questions and review your case. Call us at 888-222-USWA (8792) or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, Pennsylvania, we proudly assist clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey, including Allentown and Harrisburg.