Recent Case Finds Hotel Was Not Liable for Poolside Accident Caused by Drunk Driver

Earlier this month, an appellate court in Florida issued a written opinion in a premises liability lawsuit that was brought by a man whose wife was killed by a drunk driver as she was sitting under a cabana at the defendant hotel’s pool. The plaintiff claimed that the hotel should have erected some sort of barrier to prevent this type of accident from occurring. However, the court ultimately dismissed his case, finding that the hotel did not have a duty to erect a barrier under the circumstances. The case might be of interest to Maryland car accident victims.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff and his wife were visiting the defendant hotel. The couple was outside under a cabana at the hotel’s pool when a drunk driver failed to negotiate a turn in the road, jumped a curb, crashed through the fence surrounding the pool area, and collided with the cabana. As a result of the collision, the plaintiff was injured, and his pregnant wife was killed.

The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the hotel, claiming that it was negligent in failing to take precautions to prevent this type of accident from occurring. The plaintiff called several expert witnesses, who testified that the way the road curved next to the hotel meant that cars would be going full-speed as they were heading directly at the hotel’s pool area. Additionally, the plaintiff presented evidence that hotel management knew that motorists would often speed down the section of road adjacent to the hotel.

The hotel called its own expert witnesses. They testified that there had not been an accident on the road near the hotel since 1963 and that this type of accident was extremely unlikely. The expert explained that in order for a car to make its way into the hotel’s pool area, a motorist would have to lose control at exactly the right moment while negotiating the curve, jump over a three-inch curb, and then make their way around a utility pole and a palm tree.

After hearing evidence from both sides, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff. The defendant appealed.

On appeal, the case was reversed in favor of the defendant hotel. The court explained that in order for the jury to properly find that the hotel was liable, the plaintiff must establish that the hotel owed a duty of care to the plaintiff. While it is undisputed that the hotel owed the plaintiff a duty to protect against some dangers, as a guest of the hotel, the duty to protect against an errant car was not among them. The court explained that it was not foreseeable that this type of accident would occur, and thus the defendant was not negligent for failing to anticipate and prepare for this type of accident.

Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Car Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in any type of Maryland car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The dedicated Maryland personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers have extensive experience handling all types of Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. personal injury cases, including those arising from car accidents. Call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney today.

More Blog Posts:

NTSB Issues Report Regarding Last Year’s Fatal Auto-Pilot Crash, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published June 23, 2017.

Court Allows Evidence of “Other Similar Incidents” in Recent Product Liability Car Accident Case, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published July 11, 2017.

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