Florida is a tourist state in many respects. During the summer months when children are out of school, it is common to see children and their families visiting and enjoying the amenities at various Florida resorts and hotels. From Key West to Orlando to Jacksonville to Pensacola and all parts in between, children are welcome as guests at hotels and resorts. For some children during these visits, a hotel / resort is the location of a serious personal injury and even death in some circumstances. Is a hotel liable “every time” that a child is injured on premises? The simple answer to this question is no. The reason the answer is simple is because the way to which the question is asked. Take note of the words “every time”. A hotel or resort in Florida is not liable “every time” that a child is injured. However, a hotel or resort is liable when the hotel / resort is negligent or careless with respect to the supervision and maintenance of the facility. In order to establish a civil case or claim against a hotel or resort, the following four elements must be established:
2. Breach of Duty;
3. Causation; and
Let’s take a look at a potential case that could be brought against a Florida hotel or resort. Let’s say that a child is in the lobby of the hotel. Approximately a half hour before the child entered the lobby and employee while cleaning the common area breaks a glass vase and then takes a lunch break. The employee cleaned up some of the glass but left large pieces behind and did not put put any cones or warning signs about the ear. The child enters the lobby as he was heading off to the pool area. The child is walking in his bare feet. While walking in the lobby, the child steps on one of the large pieces of clear glass and lacerates the bottom of his foot. He begins to profusely bleed and requires fire rescue transport to the local ER where he is treated and 20 stitches are needed.
Through this fact scenario, it can be shown that the hotel in a duty to reasonably maintain the premises. The hotel breached this duty when its employee left behind large pieces of glass on the lobby floor. This, in turn, was the proximate cause of damages (injuries) to the child. It should be clarified that notice is an important part of most premises liability case against hotels and resorts. Did the hotel know about the dangerous condition? Was the injury that was caused foreseeable? Certainly, in the case example as outlined above, the employee knew that glass broke and failed to carefully and reasonably clean up the area of the mess / broken glass.
The book titled The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on Shopping Center Injuries, Amusement and Theme Park Injuries, Water Park and Swimming Injuries, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.