A young woman from Doncaster whose holiday to the Vila Gale Marina Hotel in Vilamoura, Portugal, was spoilt when she slipped and fell in reception sustaining a fracture to her wrist has been awarded £10,000 compensation from Thomas Cook.
Solicitors acting for Thomas Cook initially denied liability stating that our client was required to prove an improper performance of the holiday contract as judged by local health and safety standards in Portugal.
Simon Lomax Simpson Millar’s Holiday Accident manager said, "My client slipped on a marble floor which had been left wet by maids cleaning in the morning. Whilst I accept that there is no negligence in cleaning, the hotel’s maid should have displayed yellow warning signs."
"The floor was cleaned and then abandoned by the maids as they moved on to carry out their additional duties. Light from the windows also created reflection on the tiles resulting in a hazard which was hidden from my client’s view."
"She slipped and fell sustaining a broken wrist which required an operation under general anaesthetic at a local hospital in Faro."
My client said, "After having the x-rays, they confirmed that I had badly broken my wrist and it would require pins to be inserted. I was upset because my fingers had swollen so much that they couldn’t remove my wedding ring, so they had to cut it off."
In order to save expense, I asked Thomas Cook solicitors to "admit in open correspondence that hotel cleaners who fail to display warning signs following floor cleaning would breach local health and safety standards in Portugal." I felt the issue was obvious and that the tour operator was hiding behind a technical argument to avoid paying compensation to my client for her injuries.
Travlaw, acting for Thomas Cook said, "Your client has provided no evidence to show that the hotel failed to perform its obligations with reasonable skill and care". Thomas Cook solicitors continued to say that she had "not provided evidence to suggest that any local standards have been breached despite clear guidance for claimants established in Holden v First Choice."
We advised the tour operators solicitors that, "The issue of local safety standards is not simply confined to asking whether there has been compliance with local regulations or technical building codes."
"The enquiry was much wider, and that they were required to consider questions of local custom and practice, and general principles of local law which set the expected standards of reasonable hotelier."
The evidence we obtained supported the fact that reasonable behaviour of hotel employees mopping wet floors in a public place in Portugal would be to display warning signs whilst the floor was slippery.
Court proceedings were subsequently issued and Thomas Cook transferred its file to another firm of solicitors who sensibly decided to settle the claim for £10,000 plus solicitors costs before costs escalated further.
Simon continued to say, "If the tour operator had dealt with the claim at the outset, substantial savings could have been made in the costs associated with pursuing the claim. All too often tour operators and/or their solicitors fail to a take a pragmatic view and defend claims were there have been obvious failings."
Our client expanded up this statement saying Simpson Millar were, "very helpful and preserved with my claim and I would like to thank everyone who has been involved with my claim."
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