SLIP AND FALL: Room attendant’s negligence suit of Sandals tossed

SLIP AND FALL: Room attendant’s negligence suit of Sandals tossed

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — A Sandals room attendant who sued the resort for hundreds of thousands of dollars, including $1,340 in special damages, after slipping and falling on her back in a guest room she was mopping in February 2014 has been unsuccessful at trial.

On 22 February 2014, Adrianna Thompson was asked to clean a guest room at Sandals after a guest complained of it being unclean.

She claimed that after cleaning, she slipped and fell backward in the hallway of the room, while holding a mop and bucket.

She said she was unable to brace herself due to a lack of a rail.

But according to the accident injury report, Thompson went to get the vacuum cleaner and fell near the bathroom door into the bathroom, hitting her head on the tub.

The employee voluntary statement gave a similar account, according to court documents.

Thompson underwent two surgeries and now suffers from decreased mobility.

In her claim, she alleged Sandals failed to apply grit to the floor or take any other steps to prevent the floor from becoming slippery and the resort failed to install a floor covering with a roughen or course surface

But accounts given in court showed the tiles had a pitted, matte, non-slip surface on them.

She also claimed the resort failed to inspect the area regularly and failed to warn her of the potential danger posed.

Thompson sued for general damages, punitive damages and special damages for negligence which resulted in personal injury.

But Sandals said Thompson failed to exercise reasonable care, she failed to keep lookout, observe or heed the presence of water that may have been present on the floor “she had just mopped”; and she failed to wear protective clothing such as non-skid shoes while carrying out those duties.

Sandals denied having breached its duty, asserting that its duty was not to guarantee Thompson’s safety, but to take reasonable steps to avoid danger, which it claimed it did.

Sandals also said Thompson did not take sufficient care in walking on the damp floor and that it was reasonable to expect Thompson to have guarded against the risks and dangers ordinarily incidental to the tasks she performed.

Supreme Court Justice Indra Charles found Sandals was not liable for the personal injuries Thompson suffered.

Her claim was dismissed.

The judge ordered for each party to bear their own costs.

The judge said since Thompson suffered a serious injury her claim was not frivolous, and she ought not be condemned in costs.

She also noted that at the time of the trial, Thompson was unemployed and a few months away from turning 62.

She said job prospects may be non-existent given her disabilities.



The judge said she found all of the witnesses, with the exception of Thompson, to be credible, noting that her account of how the accident occurred was incompatible with the account in the employee voluntary statement and incident injury report.

During the trial, Thompson also suggested the guest may have dropped something on the floor after she mopped it, but Charles said it was the first time this was mentioned in cross-examination, several years after the accident.

The judge noted that the injury sustained by a person on the premises of another, even in the workplace, does not, without more, establish negligence.

The judge said each person, while performing their duty as an employee has to assume a measure of responsibility for his own safety and has to be alert to hazards which exist in the workplace.

“The taking of precautions does not eliminate, but merely minimizes the inherent risks which exist in the workplace,” read the ruling.

“The employee accepts those risks.”

She continued: “It is the duty of the plaintiff to provide on the preponderance of evidence that the defendant was guilty of negligence or breach of its common law duty under the head of the occupier’s liability.

“This must be done by evidence and, on the evidence, the plaintiff has fallen far short of the mark.

“The employer’s duty of care does not warrant the safety of the employee’s employment.

“The employers undertake only to take reasonable precautions to protect the employee against accidents….

“It is a well-established legal principle that where a person holds a particular position, he will be expected to show the degree of knowledge normally expected of a person in that position and to guard against risks normally incidental to that position.

“Thus, the defendant could reasonably expect the plaintiff to appreciate and to guard against risk normally incident to that position.”

About Royston Jones Jr.

Royston Jones Jr. is a senior digital reporter and occasional TV news anchor at Eyewitness News. Since joining Eyewitness News as a digital reporter in 2018, he has done both digital and broadcast reporting, notably providing the electoral analysis for Eyewitness News’ inaugural election night coverage, “Decision Now 2021”.


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