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La Responsabilidad Civil es cada vez más crucial hoy día
July 27, 2015

Incident of huge impact on liability of hotels

Recently we published this piece of news on our website: “A Spanish hotel will pay millions in compensation to a client injured by a parasol.”

A client of a hotel located in the Canary Islands suffered an accident in 2006. Several factors occurred at the same time: a parasol insufficiently affixed; a sudden gust of wind, and an unlucky blow that left the victim partially blind. The result: physical and psychological extensive damages to the injured person, who has been left seriously incapable for work, and millions in compensation that the Spanish hotel will have to face.

(You can read the whole story here).

From the legal point of view the event has turned out very controversial: the injured client, a British national, has achieved his case to be tried in his country, invoking for that purpose the European law. His legal advisors valued his compensation in more than 5 million pounds. Meanwhile the hotel tried to have the case tried by the Spanish courts, and offered a compensation of 600,000 pounds.

The case has made us think once more about the quality and coverage of liability policies, especially when it comes to the hospitality sector, which is of greater density in the Costa del Sol.

Historically limits on liability policies in Spain have been very low compared with other countries, especially with the Anglo-Saxons. This is mainly due to the fact that in Spain there was little or no culture of complaining. Furthermore, in cases where a court obliged to compensate any injured, the amounts allocated were relatively low.

But globalization has changed all this. Companies should check that their liability policies are appropriate to the risks of the XXI century and to the ability to react of civil society.

In reviewing your liability policy you should check the total limit of coverage: if you have sub-limits per victim in both the general and the employer liability policy; the jurisdiction clause, etc.

Sometimes customers ask us about the limit they should contract; our answer is “as far as the budget allows”: an increase in the limits of liability is often not too expensive, however it can turn out a vital line of defence in case of facing a significant claim.

From Op de Beeck & Worth we can assess you about risks and check with you the terms of your current policy, in order to prevent such events negatively affecting your establishment/hotel’s eco
nomy and reputation. Please contact us for more information.

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