The young mother was still celebrating her 30th birthday when she and a few friends retreated to her 10th floor hotel room. What happened after they got there, however, is cause for conjecture. Perhaps, revved up from the day’s festivities, the slight Atlanta resident and a friend began to tousle playfully while everyone looked on. Perhaps their antics led them across the carpeted floor and towards the room’s floor-to-ceiling glass window. Maybe they simply leaned against the glass as they gave each other a farewell hug. Doubtless, though, for those in the room, time paused when the two went plunging through it and the casualties were tragic.
After the incident came many questions: Why did this happen? How did it happen? Will it happen again? And then, of course, for many Atlanta personal injury lawyers, there is the question of liability. In the wake of what many have called a “freak accident” the nation is wondering why a hotel chain that brings in millions of dollars worth of revenue annually didn’t have shatterproof or tempered glass installed in its rooms. This question also plagues the father of one of the women, as he prepares to file suit against the hotel and its corporate owner.
The most obvious answer to that particular query is that, until a few years ago, hotels were not specifically required to use shatterproof glass, unless special circumstances existed. Hotels were always, however, required to ensure that their buildings could withstand normal ordinary use by hotel patrons. When the hotel chain acquired the building in 2008 and began renovations, it made sure that the structure complied with the current codes. To be addressed now is whether new windows were installed as well that would comply and, if so, whether they were negligently replaced.
Either way, hotel chains and businesses around the country should tune in as this case unfolds. Depending upon the outcome in court, perhaps they would even do well to heed the incident itself as a cautionary tale.