As a lawyer who sues Miami hotels and resorts I am surprised by the number of calls I receive daily about slip and falls. Most falls occur in South Beach hotel bathrooms both in the guest rooms and in lobbies.
Each year Miami Beach hotels host over 35% of the ten million tourists. South Beach hotels range from the spectacular 800-room Loews to the world-famous Fontainebleau and Eden Roc to the boutique Art Deco hotels lining Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue, such as Park Central and the Astor.[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmtE3yd9LqE[/youtube]br />
Today, tourism is the most important factor driving Florida’s thriving economy. About forty million people visit Florida yearly. Contributing over $40 billion dollars each year, tourism is Florida’s greatest source of income. The average length of stay of the Miami tourist is 6.6 nights in Miami’s Hotels with an average expenditure of $145.28 for lodging alone.
According to the City of Miami’ visitors to South Florida come from all over the world. 55% of Miami’s tourist reside in the United States and 44% are from other countries. With that amount of traffic and money it is important and legally required that Miami hotels provide a safe environment for our tourists. For example, Florida’s hotels are obligated to meet certain safety requirements.
First, there is the general duty owed by hotel owners and operators to a guest. Like any business in Florida, the owners owe a legal duty of reasonable care to maintain the hotel’s premises in a reasonably safe condition for the safety of business invitees. This duty is the highest duty owed and includes reasonable efforts to keep the premises free from objects or substances which may cause harm – dangerous conditions. An injured guest in a South Beach hotel would have the burden of proving that the business establishment had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition and should have taken action to remedy it.
According to Florida’s slip and fall law, constructive knowledge may be proven by circumstantial evidence showing that the dangerous condition existed for so long that in the exercise of ordinary care, the business establishment should have known of the condition. Or that the dangerous condition occurred with regularity and as a result, was foreseeable. (Fla. Stat. Sec. 768.0755)
As a guest in a Miami Beach hotel, if you slip and fall in the bathroom, the business owner may be liable if the bathroom was in a dangerous condition. For example, a lack of slip-resistant flooring, rugs, and grab bars may create a dangerous condition. If the business owner of the hotel fails to remedy that condition, he may be liable for your slip and fall accident. This is especially the case if there is a history of accidents in the bathroom.
Second, there are certain guidelines which must be satisfied in order for a South Florida business to comply with the The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA was passed July 26, 1990 and became effective on January 26, 1992. It is landmark federal legislation designed to open up services to the millions of Americans with disabilities.
The ADA requires that all washrooms, both newly constructed or renovated, must be usable by people with disabilities. The ADA has specific requirements relating to grab bars for shower stalls, bath tubs and toilet seats. For example, in a bathtub, two grab bars shall be installed on the back wall.
It is important that if you are injured in a South Florida bathroom, you first and foremost seek medical attention. Next, you should immediately notify the hotel so they are aware of the dangerous condition and can remedy it before someone else gets hurt. Try to take pictures and document the dangerous condition that led to your fall. For example, the lack of slip resistant matting in the bath tub or a rug on the bathroom floor.
If you have been injured in a Miami Beach hotel, you should contact an experienced hotel accident lawyer.