A young woman from Doncaster was on holiday at the Vila Gale Marina Hotel in Vilamoura, Portugal when she slipped and fell on a marble floor in the hotel reception.
The surface of the marble floor was still wet after staff had cleaned it earlier that morning, and our client sustained a fracture to her wrist in the accident. She went to the local hospital in Faro where after having X-rays, she was told she had badly broken her wrist and that pins would have to be inserted. She subsequently underwent the operation while under general anaesthetic.
To add to her distress, her fingers had swollen to a point where the doctors treating her couldn’t remove her wedding ring, so they had to cut it off instead.
How We Helped
The woman contacted our Holiday Claims Solicitors to make a holiday accident claim against the tour operator Thomas Cook. Solicitors acting for Thomas Cook initially denied liability, arguing that our client would need to prove that health and safety standards in Portugal had been breached.
In response, our Solicitors stated while there was no negligence in cleaning the hotel reception, yellow warning signs should have been displayed afterwards. However, the surface of the floor had been cleaned and then left by the staff while they moved on to other duties.
This hazard was then compounded by light from the windows, which created a reflection that was hidden from the woman’s view.
Our Holiday Claims Solicitors asked Thomas Cook’s Solicitors to acknowledge that warning signs had not been displayed by the hotel cleaners in the reception area, in contravention of Portuguese health and safety standards.
However, they continued to deny liability and insist that our client hadn’t provided adequate evidence of a health and safety breach.
Our Solicitors argued that the issue of safety standards isn’t limited to asking whether local regulations or technical building codes have been adhered to. Instead, we pushed the view that questions of local custom and practice needed to be considered too, along with the general principles of local law that set out the standards expected of a reasonable holiday hotel.
The case eventually went to Court, and after taking on a new firm of Solicitors, Thomas Cook decided to settle for £10,000 compensation plus legal fees.
Thomas Cook could have made substantial savings had they chosen to deal with the claim at the outset, but instead sought to defend a claim where there had been obvious failings at the hotel where the accident occurred.
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