This case involves a man who was staying at a high-end hotel chain while on business in southern California. During his first night in the hotel, the man went to use the shower, where he noted the unusually slippery nature of the tub’s surface. The tub was freestanding, and lacked a number of common safety features, including no-slip strips, handrails, anti-slip coating or other traction aids. Despite his best efforts to use the shower carefully, the man slipped and fell while using the tub, striking his head on the edge of the tub. As a result of the fall the man suffered a traumatic brain injury, which required extensive treatment and physical rehabilitation.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Do you have knowledge of proper safety mechanisms that a hotel bathtub should have?
- 2. Are you able to review case and determine if this tub met proper safety standards?
Expert Witness Response E-001121
It is difficult to prove negligence on the manufacturing of the tub, because they are all standardized to a very specific ANSI Standard. However, if there is something specifically off with the maintenance, location of the grab bar (or lack thereof), or coefficient of friction, then there is likely an actionable issue here. I am familiar with the relevant hotel codes, and I am an expert in human factors, coefficient of friction, tub slip and falls.
This expert has over 25 years of experience as a practicing engineer and life safety consultant responsible for accident investigations, building code interpretations, facility condition assessments, and engineering investigations related to accidents, personal injuries, and building code violations. He has specialization in focusing on investigation of accidents involving personal injuries related to human factors, OSHA/ADA, as well as trips and falls on stairs, ladders and slippery or uneven surfaces. Additionally, he has provided expert witness testimony related to human factors, falls on stairs and common areas, building code violations, defective construction, and life safety issues. He has had extensive academic education in the areas of human factors, ergonomics, safety and usability.
Expert Witness Response E-014027
Typically, the hotel chain in question here has the top safety protocol, but that doesn’t mean it is without exception for all locations. It is certainly possible that there are safety issues with the tub in this case. There is no standard in the industry that requires a grab bar, but common sense requires an accessible grab bar and a slip-free surface. I’d have to see the setup, or a photo at least, of this particular enclosure to comment definitively, however from the information provided it certainly sounds as if the tub was needlessly dangerous.
This expert specializes in hotel operations and has more than 30 years of experience in the field. He is a certified hotel administrator and a fellow of the international hotel/motel and catering association. He started his career as a general manager/regional VP of three holiday inn properties, leading to the management of 45 properties in 14 states, and ultimately his position as president/CEO of Ramada. This expert is currently a private hotel consultant and is very actively involved with all aspects of the hospitality industry.