Case Study: Broken Arm Following a Slip in a Hotel Bathroom on Holiday

Mrs M was awarded £22,000

A woman has received a £22,000 compensation settlement after she slipped and broken her arm in a hotel bathroom whilst on holiday.

The claim

Mrs M was on a package holiday and slipped over in a hotel bathroom due to a defective showerhead fixture leaking water on the bathroom floor, making it wet and slippery. Mrs M appeared to have broken her left arm as a result of the fall and decided to make a claim. She contacted JMW Solicitors and was put in touch with our dedicated holiday claims team, who handled her case.

The case

Our team took a detailed account of how Mrs M had injured herself, and contacted the holiday company, the defendant, to inform them that Mrs M wished to make a claim. A medical exam revealed that Mrs M had actually torn a ligament in her wrist as well as fracturing her arm.

Mrs M was initially unable to carry out her job due to her injury. She had to take time off work, causing her financial difficulties. Eventually, Mrs M was able to return to work on light duties. A follow up medical exam revealed that the fracture had healed, but that Mrs M had ligament damage, some weakness and limited movement.

Denial of responsibility

Although we asked the defendant for a quick decision regarding settlement, this was not forthcoming. Eventually, the defendant’s legal team responded, stating they would take some responsibility for what had happened to Mrs M, however they felt she should accept 75% of the responsibility for the accident.

However, Mrs M had complained to hotel reception about the defective showerhead three days before her accident, and no action had been taken to fix it. There was also a lack of evidence as to why the defendant felt Mrs M should accept any level of responsibility for her accident. We advised Mrs M to reject the defendant’s offer and pursue them for a full admission of their responsibility for the accident.

Medical examination

We had Mrs M examined by an independent consultant orthopaedic surgeon, who could provide a report on her injury, how the accident circumstances had caused the injury and Mrs M’s prognosis.

Meanwhile, the defendant’s legal team increased their offer to split responsibility to a 50/50 basis, which was rejected. The defendant’s legal team responded by making a formal Part 36 offer of a 50/50 split on responsibility. This meant that if Mrs M did not accept the offer to split responsibility, there would be financial consequences for Mrs M if she failed to beat this offer were the case to go to court. Our team reiterated our advice, believing Mrs M should not accept responsibility for the accident, and the offer was rejected.

The medical report confirmed Mrs M’s fracture, and also showed a TFCC tear in her wrist. It advised that Mrs M undergo a further course of physiotherapy to assist her recovery, although it also advised that TFCC injuries could lead to long term, low-level symptoms.

Gathering evidence

Our team asked Mrs M to send on information about the financial losses she had suffered as a result of her accident, including her payslips and care and assistance given to her as a result of her injury.

Unfortunately, the physiotherapy did not benefit Mrs M. She had to change job roles because of the strain the injury was placing on her wrist, and was on a lower wage as a result. We asked the medical expert to re-examine Mrs M and provide a follow-up report. The additional examination showed that Mrs M was having difficulty bending her hand at the wrist, a symptom relating to her TFCC tear, and something that would not have occurred, had she not had her accident.

Seeking settlement

It was clear that Mrs M would always have some residual symptoms from her accident. As Mrs M felt she had reached a plateau with her recovery, we had Mrs M’s completed medical evidence and a schedule of loss, Mrs M authorised us to try and settle the case. After our team contacted the defendant, they responded with an offer, but did not clarify how the offer was to be divided and whether or not it represented a view on contributory negligence, so we asked them to clarify the offer. As Mrs M also had to repay her lost earnings to her employer, it was vital that we fully understood the terms of the defendant’s offer.

Frustratingly, the defendant’s representative then responded by saying the hotel wanted to deal with the claim themselves. The defendant withdrew the offer, serving to prolong the case and cause problems for Mrs M, who simply wanted to complete the case and move on.

Issuing proceedings

We responded by advising Mrs M to make a formal Part 36 offer to settle the case, at a value she thought was fair. There was then no contact from the holiday company, or the hotel, for three months. This was simply not acceptable and our team advised Mrs M to issue court proceedings, in order to put pressure on the holiday company to settle the case. The holiday company failed to respond to the initial court deadline, responding afterwards and technically breaching the rules. We were also informed, six months after the hotel declared they wished to handle the case themselves, that this was no longer the case and the claim would be handled by the holiday company again.

Given the manner in which the case had been conducted by the holiday company’s representatives, our team lodged a formal complaint with the holiday company, on behalf of Mrs M. Mrs M had been attempting to get the case resolved for the better part of a year, hampered by procrastination and poor conduct on the part of the holiday company. This encouraged the holiday company to make an offer that was a £7k increase on their initial offer. After a discussion with us, Mrs M decided she would accept this offer. Mrs M was relieved to conclude the case, and very thankful to our team for their hard work and perseverance on a case where the defendant had proven themselves to be difficult.

Have you had an accident on holiday?

If you have, you should speak to a personal injury expert as soon as possible. Call JMW today on 0800 054 6570 or complete our online contact form and we will be in touch soon. For more information on accidents in a hotel, visit our dedicated page.

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