Imagine you are staying in a luxurious hotel and enjoying your stay to the fullest. You have just made yourself comfortable by the pool and just want to adjust the backrest of your lounger. As you do so, the backrest folds down without any further protection and traps your fingers in such a way that even the tips of your fingers are cut off.
This horror scenario is not imaginary. At the Schomerus law firm we had to deal with this.
The peak was the denial of any responsibility on the part of the hotel. The guest in question was to blame for the accident. He should have been more careful. Is this the case?
When booking a hotel, the travelling customer faces the hotel as a consumer worthy of protection. He himself has no influence on the services offered in the hotel and the related protective measures. Due to the so-called duty of care (which of course also applies in Spain), the hotel has to eliminate all sources of danger that could open up for the guest and otherwise, where this is not directly possible, has to clearly point out the possible source of danger (example: Attention danger of slipping, freshly mopped floor).
Thus, if a hotel guest is sunbathing on a lounger in the hotel and adjusts the backrest in the process, it must under no circumstances be able to shoot down and squeeze off fingers. It is also not incumbent on the guest to take special care with such banal actions. The guest’s attention can be on a conversation in passing or on the child who is about to enter the water. After all, this is a relaxing moment of a holiday, not crossing a road in everyday life. And of course, the loungers have to be childproof, because children also lie on them, romp around on them or want to adjust the back section. Something as essential and simple as a sun lounger must not be allowed to become a source of danger in the hotel.
In view of this clear legal situation, the hotel’s refusal was incomprehensible, but in fact the Schomerus law firm had to file a lawsuit to claim compensation for pain and suffering and damages from the client in question.
Even after the complaint had been served, this refusal was still verbally maintained, but not for too long: even before the judgement was pronounced, the hotel paid our client an appropriate compensation for damages in the clear 5-digit range.
Without the help of a lawyer, our client would not have reached her goal. Therefore: Seek legal advice and representation, because hotels and insurance companies often refuse to settle claims out of court in order to avoid their responsibility. This does not mean that you should be satisfied.
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