Unfortunately, spring break is rife with accidents and injuries for tourists and visitors to Florida. Many injuries happen at the hotels housing the spring break revelers. There is the question of the liability of hotels for slip and falls injuries from balconies caused by students attempting to climb between balconies or by leaning too far over the balcony railing are common occurrences.
Florida Law Regarding Balcony Safety
Florida law attempts to minimize the dangers of balconies by implementing minimum design and safety specifications. To minimize the risk of falling over the railing, all hotel and condominium balconies have to be at least 42 inches high. State law also requires spaces between railing bars to be no more than four inches apart, to lessen the chance a person squeezing through the railing.
The Liability of Hotels for Injuries
If the balcony safety standards fail to protect guests from injury, in some cases, hotels can be held liable. Florida law requires that hotels act reasonably to ensure the safety of their guests from dangers found on the hotel property.
To carry out this legal duty, the law requires hotels to regularly maintain and inspect their property to seek out dangers that guests may not be aware of. If a danger such as a loose railing on a balcony is found, the hotel has a duty to repair, remove or post a warning about the danger within a reasonable time.
If the hotel fails to correct dangerous conditions on the property that it knows about or should know about, the hotel is negligent. If a guest is injured because of a hotel’s negligence, the hotel is liable for the expenses stemming from the guest’s injury such as medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.
Source: WJHG.com “Spring Break: Alcohol and Balconies Don’t Mix,” Mark Vaughn, 2/6/12.