Can I sue a hotel if I slipped and fell in the bath? It used to be that Slip and Fall in hotel bathtub cases were thrown out of court on summary judgment almost every time. In this recent Georgia premises liability case, the court considered a slip and fall and again reiterated that these cases were very weak under the old law. The good news is, any fall after the 2014 law went into effect is analyzed differently. The Statute requires hotels to have a non-slip surface and if they don’t, there is strict liability if the guest slips in the tub. There are still many ways that these cases can fall apart, but the statute has made it much more workable. Here is the analysis under the old case law and example facts.
A hotel guest sustained injuries when she slipped in the shower and fell. She was 65 years old, and she and her adult daughter had come to a hotel in Georgia that the daughter had pre-booked. On the following day, they were planning to visit family. The plaintiff had rheumatoid arthritis, and during check-in she asked for a handicap accessible room or a first floor room. There weren’t rooms like this available, so the woman and her daughter accepted adjacent rooms that were two stories up. It was late, and they couldn’t imagine trying to find a motel at that hour.
The next morning, the woman stepped into the bathtub, which seemed dry and clean. She went in and turned on the water and began lathering herself with the soap. Suddenly, her feet went out from under her, and she fell down. She crawled out of the tub and called her daughter. Her daughter came in to help her dress. They checked out of their rooms and left the hotel to go visit family.
The woman sued the owner and operator of the hotel. During her deposition, she was only able to say that she’d fallen because the tub was slippery. She didn’t know why the tub was slippery. She was standing, and suddenly her feet slipped out, but she didn’t know what had caused it. Her daughter had gone to look at the condition of the tub afterward, but she hadn’t. The daughter testified about what she’d seen and said that the tub was very slick, and it wasn’t because there was a lot of soap. She didn’t know what made the tub so slick.