Our client, a man who lived in the USA, was scalded when a tap in his hotel bathroom broke, but we helped him recover his considerable medical costs.
David, a man in his 70s, had been on a holiday in the UK for eight days staying with friends, but stayed at a hotel for one night before flying back to his home in the USA.
During the night, he needed to use the toilet, but while he was in the bathroom, he fell and had to grab the taps to break his fall. As he did so, one of the taps broke off the supply pipe and he was hit by hot water.
He immediately phoned the hotel reception asking for help, and staff realised that he was badly scalded, so called the emergency services straight away.
At hospital, he was told that much of his back and his right hand side had been scalded.
David had to change his travel plans, and was in lots of pain and discomfort when he did get to fly home. He then had to spend five days in hospital, taking intravenous morphine to cope with the excruciating pain.
He also underwent skin grafts, but was left with some scarring and needed at-home care for two weeks.
How Did the Accident Affect His Life?
Before the accident, David had been in good health, travelled several times a year with his wife and enjoyed active pursuits such as gardening.
But following the accident, they couldn’t travel anywhere for several months, and he was in too much pain to tend to the garden himself.
David also couldn’t use his swimming pool at home for more than a year, and if he goes swimming now, he has to wear a sun blocking shirt and apply lots of sun lotion to the area where he was burnt.
Due to his injuries, David needed lots of care and assistance at home, relying on his wife to help him with basic tasks and household chores, which they’d previously shared between them.
Claiming Compensation from the Hotel
David decided to claim compensation and approached our specialist Personal Injury Solicitors for help. I agreed to represent him and immediately began investigating the circumstances that led to David being injured, and how the accident had impacted on his life.
I arranged for him to be assessed by an independent Consultant Reconstructive and Aesthetic Plastic Surgeon, who concluded that his scarring would be permanent.
An engineering report was also arranged, and it found that the joints on the tap in the hotel hadn’t been properly tightened by the plumber who installed them.
I approached the hotel with details of our claim, arguing that David would’ve reasonably expected the bathroom fittings to be safe and properly maintained. However, the hotel hadn’t carried out adequate inspection or maintenance of their premises, so they didn’t detect, remove or repair the defective tap before David’s stay.
What Was the Outcome?
The hotel had denied fault at first, so a Court hearing needed to be arranged. But following further negotiations, they eventually agreed to settle for £45,000 two weeks before the Trial was due to start.
This meant David didn’t have to go through the added distress of going to Court, and was able to recover his considerable medical costs. These had worked out at thousands of dollars because of the medical insurance system that’s in place in the USA.
We wish David and his wife well, and hope the settlement makes a lasting difference to their lives.
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