What would you do if you became trapped on your hotel room balcony?

This was the question that faced Mr Philip Clay and the consequences of his actions have recently been considered by the Court of Appeal.

Mr Clay and his family were staying in a hotel in Tenerife.   His parents were staying in an adjoining room, each with its own balcony.   The balconies were accessed by sliding doors that could be locked and there was a gap between the two balconies of approximately 31 inches.  The balconies were about 20 feet above ground level and there was a decorative ledge underneath each of the balconies.

One evening, the Claimant, his wife and parents met for a nightcap on the parent’s balcony.

Mr Clay needed to use the bathroom and so left the balcony briefly.   On returning, he shut the sliding door behind him but it locked, therefore trapping him and the others on the balcony.   They tried to open the door and also attract attention of passers-by in the street but by this time, it was the early hours of the morning.   Mr Clay therefore decided that he would step from one balcony to the other using the ledge.   Unfortunately for Mr Clay, the ledge was a decorative feature and didn’t bear his weight.   He therefore fell to the ground and suffered a serious injury.

Mr Clay at trial argued that the lock to his balcony door did not work properly; that the ledge was part of the balcony and so should have been weight bearing and the hotel failed to warn him of risk.   The Judge at trial found that there had been no breach of duty owed to Mr Clay in terms of the construction of the balcony ledge or that there was any need for warnings to be given.   It also found that Mr Clay’s actions were so unexpected and/or foolhardy that the holiday company could not be held responsible.

Still think you might be tempted to climb across? #holidays claims #injury advice #injured while on holiday

Tracy Rodgers