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Ask Legal-Kal Your Own Question
Legal-Kal, Attorney
Category: Personal Injury Law
Satisfied Customers: 543
Experience:  Attorney at Law Offices of Khaled Issa
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My wife and I were on vacation in St. Augustine FL. We just

Customer Question

My wife and I were on vacation in St. Augustine FL. We just checked in to a Holiday after retuning from a cruise from Ft. Lauderdale. Anyways, we just got done bringing the luggage into the room and I sat down at the desk and was turning on the laptop. I leaned back slightly and started to flip backwards in the office chair provided in the room. I reached under the desk to grab on and break my fall when something popped in my left bicep. I immediately went to the front desk, told them what happened and they told me to go to Flagler Hospital emergency room. The doc said I had a ripped bicep but it should be okay and just follow up with a doctor when we got home. In the mean time Holiday Inns insurance contacted me and implied that they were no way at fault or negligent. The letter I have says that they will pay the medical bills and after following up today with a local doctor, I would like some direction. The doctor said its nothing permanent. We are both retired and it kind of ticked me off when the letter from insurance said in no way they were negligent. Please advise. Thanx Bill Pope
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Personal Injury Law
Expert:  Legal-Kal replied 7 months ago.

Good afternoon:

My name is ***** ***** I would be happy to provide general information regarding your question. First, let me say I am sorry to hear of the injury you sustained as a result of this accident.

Now, let me start off with the general proposition that owners of land are only subject to normal negligence standards under the law. That is, they are under a duty to warn individuals of known defects to the land (or other items located on the land). If a landowner does not know of a certain defect, under the law, they are not duty-bound to inform individuals of those hazards (which, if you think about it, makes sense).

Now, general premises liability can also be broken down into what type of "guest" is on the premises. Under the law, the highest duty is owed to invitees (i.e., people on the land for certain actions that benefit the landowner, like a guest at a hotel or a shopper at a store). When the individual on the premises is an invitee, then the landowner is under a duty not only to warn the individual of known hazards, but also of hazards that could be foreseeable in the future (which is generally met with "reasonable" inspections of the property).

So, here comes the ultimate question, did the hotel know of the defect located on/in the desk prior to your accident and could that defect have been discovered with a "reasonable" inspection. The reason that "reasonable" is in quotes is because the law does not require a landowner to inspect each and every single piece of furniture or item every single day at all hours (as you can imagine, such an inspection would be financially inefficient and pragmatically unfeasible as that would require the individual inspecting the land to be positioned at the hotel 24/7 with inspections occurring in private rooms, which would be inconvenient to guests and patrons).

Before I proceed, I would like to take a moment to pause and ask if you have any questions on what I have provided thus far?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I understand what you said, and being reasonable, I don't believe there was anything intentional on the hotels part. But its definetly an inconvenience for me and my time.
Expert:  Legal-Kal replied 7 months ago.

It most certainly is, to be injured while on a vacation. Essentially, that would constitute certain "pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment" if a lawsuit is filed and is successful.

However, because of the legal theories mentioned above, a Court would most likely hold that the accident which led to your injuries and subsequent medical care, bills and pain and suffering was not reasonably foreseeable under the circumstances (meaning you would not get anything, let alone the cost of medical expenses that the premise owner is currently offering). That is, again, because any inspection that could have discovered the issue that led to your fall would not fall under being reasonable under the circumstances.

Now, if there is evidence that the premise owner knew of the condition prior to your accident, than that indeed would make them legally liable for your injuries and medical expenses. However, with matters like yours, the only way to determine if they knew of the condition prior to your accident would be to file suit, conduct discovery (which is essentially an investigation) and take sworn testimony of individuals employeed by the hotel in the hopes that they admit that they had some type of knowledge of the defect (an admission of this would be highly unlikely as there would most likely be no proof to contradict their answer in the negative to whether they knew of this condition). As you can imagine, to do this would be very expensive and would most likely lead to an unfavorable result to you.

I am sorry the news could not be better. As an attorney, I am obligated to inform individuals of the accurate state of law and how the law is applied to the given facts presented. It is only in this way I can be of assistance.

That being said, it never hurts to call an attorney licensed in the jurisdiction in which the accident happened. With cases like yours, oftentimes attorneys may have different opinions (like medical doctors may have regarding a possible diagnosis). Most attorneys offer free phone consultations where you and the attorney can discuss if any legal action can be taken. It is highly advised that you take advantage of such consultations as the worst that can happen is that you spend around 10 minutes on a phone call.

I hope this information has helped. Please let me know if you have any follow up questions or need clarification on any point. I would be happy to answer them.

If not, please remember that experts here are not employees of JustAnswer and do not get credited for assisting individuals until the customer clicks ACCEPT and rates the assistance provided. Your cooperation in this regard would be greatly appreciated!

***General information provided here is for informational and educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Nothing provided in here should be relied upon as advice and nothing in here creates an attorney-client relationship. It is wise to consult with an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction as to the specific laws and their application to specific facts present in your issue***

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