12th Oct 2006

Facts

The claimant holidaymaker (M) claimed damages against the defendant tour operator (S) for personal injury suffered by him whilst staying at a hotel in Florida. According to M, he had slipped on a gathering of water, a few millimetres deep, on a path and had struck his head against a pillar. The result of the fall was a very nasty gash to his head that required subsequent medical attention. M argued that by the local standards there was a breach of duty on the part of the hotel in that there was a failure either adequately to warn or to cordon off the area where he had slipped and that the breach of duty gave rise to S's liability.

Held

On the evidence, it was implausible that any substantial quantity of water had flowed down to the area where M had slipped. Although safety standards in the United States would be no lower than safety standards in the United Kingdom, it could not be said that the safety standards had been breached. Accordingly, M had failed to discharge the onus of proof showing on the balance of probabilities that his fall had been caused by a slip on water that had flowed on or around the area where he had slipped and that there had been a breach of duty on the part of the hotel.

Judgment for defendant.

Comment

A holidaymaker had failed to establish that his fall, resulting in an injury, had been caused by a breach of duty on the part of the hotel where he had been staying. Accordingly, the tour operator that had arranged the holiday was not liable for the injury.


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