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Hawaii hotel injuries: why grandpa and jr. are more likely to get hurt

Hawaii hotel injuries: why grandpa and jr. are more likely to get hurt

November 8, 2013

Most Hawaii hotel owners likely do everything they can in order to avoid their guests being injured. Unfortunately, accidents happen – in hotel rooms, in hotel restaurants and especially by the hotel pool. While anyone can be injured at a hotel or resort, it’s grandpa and junior that may be more likely to get hurt.

HOTELS, KIDS & THE ELDERLY

This threesome generally doesn’t work out so well – for many reasons. Hotels and resorts often have many hidden dangers, such as poorly lit stairwells, slick or sandy lobby floors, high balconies, poorly labeled pool depth markers, a lack of pool supervision, strong ocean currents in front of many of Hawaii’s hotels and much more. These dangers, accompanied with the lack of familiarity of one’s surroundings and an overcrowded facility, can be especially dangerous to the very old and the very young.

  • Children. Children are more likely to be injured in a hotel or resort environment due to unfamiliar and “exciting” new places to explore. Unless accompanied by an adult, it’s unlikely that most children will walk around the pool or realize that a lobby floor is wet – until it’s too late.
  • The Elderly. While the elderly may know the consequences of these risks, they may not have the ability to appreciate them due to poor eyesight, poor hearing, diminished walking abilities and decreased reaction times. Similar to children, they may not realize where the pool begins, notice that a balcony railing is wobbly or that the lobby floor isn’t just shiny, but wet – until it’s too late.

It’s that “until it’s too late” part that is an issue for everyone involved.

WHO’S RESPONSIBLE FOR HOTEL INJURIES?

The answer is – it depends. Let’s take the example of a shiny, slippery lobby floor. If a hotel (owner, manager or employee) knew – or should have known – that the floor was wet, but did not act reasonably by mopping it up quickly or putting a “wet floor” sign out, and a guest is injured, then the hotel may be liable under premises liability law in Hawaii. Conversely, if Grandpa lets Junior run at full speed through the lobby while barefoot and Junior crashes into the “wet floor” sign and injures himself, then the hotel would not likely be liable.

Unfortunately, it’s those “in between” situations that are most likely to occur. As we all know, most injuries aren’t simple and generally involve a situation in which a hotel employee was “just going to get a mop” to clean the floor, Grandpa let Junior walk a bit too briskly through the lobby to the get to the beach and another guest spilled a bucket of sand in the area at about the same time. Unfortunate and complicated? Yes.

HAWAII HOTELS HAVE A HIGHER DUTY TO GUESTS

Premises liability involves an accident that occurs due to negligent maintenance or unsafe and dangerous conditions that are found on property owned by someone other than the injured party. Property owners and business establishments who invite others to come onto their property have a higher responsibility to provide their visitors and patrons with a safe environment and clear warnings of potential hazards, such as:

  • Architectural/ structural design flaws
  • Environmental safety hazards
  • Failure to provide security
  • Falls from equipment
  • Food-borne illness, improper hygiene and food-handling
  • Improper traffic patterns
  • Slip and fall
  • Unsafe condition in the workplace or public areas
  • Unsafe stairs, elevator, escalators

A Hawaii premises liability attorney will look at the facts and circumstances surrounding the personal injury or wrongful death, including the actions – or in-actions – of every party involved.

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