Wife injured in hotel room in Portugal

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Sep 25, 2018
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#1
My wife and I recently went on our honeymoon to Spain and Portugal. When we got to the last leg of the trip in Lisbon, we checked into our hotel and my wife took a shower. As she was getting out of the shower, the glass shower stall shattered without warning and she ended up getting several pretty nasty lacerations and a twisted ankle from jumping to avoid the glass, in addition to an awful scare for the two of us. Her injuries were so bad she had to be taken by ambulance to the emergency room where we spent most of that evening. The hotel was plenty apologetic, came up to the room, called the ambulance for us and the owner/manager even stopped by the ER to check on us, which was nice, but calling an ambulance so that my wife doesn't bleed out in your bathroom is more like the bare minimum effort, rather than the pinnacle of customer care. They told us they couldn't move us to another room as the hotel was full. I didn't mind as the room was a suite and had two bathrooms, so we could use the other one. Thanks to Portuguese universal healthcare, we weren't out of pocket for the ER visit or the ambulance ride, but I was hoping (honestly, more like expecting) that given her injuries and the essential loss of a night of our honeymoon in a Lisbon emergency room that we'd be getting a credit for our stay, but none seemed to be coming.

Since we booked the room through hotels.com, I tried to get satisfaction through their customer service line. Hotels.com was unable to refund our money because the credit card charge was taken directly by the hotel. When they contacted the hotel about this, they were informed that there would be no credit or anything else of value offered, did not provide much in the way of an explanation, and from what I was told, the person on the other end of the line was actually hostile and argumentative on the phone with hotels.com. I contacted my credit card company to see about doing a chargeback, but was told that chargebacks are only to be used in cases of fraud or in the case that the goods/services in question were not delivered (i.e., not applicable in this case as we did stay in the hotel room for two nights).

Short of eviscerating them in a hotels.com review complete with photos of the bloody shower, do I have any recourse at all here? Is there some sort of European regulatory body that I can report them to? Or do I just suck it up and thank my lucky stars that my wife wasn't injured more seriously?

TL;DR - Wife was injured in a shower on our honeymoon through no fault of her own. Hotel won't give us a refund or credit of any kind, and the credit card company says a chargeback isn't an option. What to do?
 

AMA

Verified Member
Dec 11, 2014
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#2
What is the name of the hotel? If it is a chain you may have luck appealing to the corporate executives. If it is a small B&B and the only person you have to deal with is the owner, you may have a harder time. Either way, you are not going to get your entire stay refunded. I don't think it's unreasonable to ask for at least that first awful night comped, though.
 
Likes: lindatravels

mmb

Verified Member
Jan 20, 2015
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#3
Why did the shower door just shatter suddenly?
There should be some sort of investigation as the the quality of the door and the installation. At the very least, no one should want this the happen again.
If there would be evidence that the hotel or the construction company or the door manufacturer were to blame, then there might be some compensation for the injury and the trauma to her and you.
I was a little surprised to read that you just used the other bathroom. Did it have the same shower as the one that exploded?
Beyond actual proof that the hotel (or someone else) should have known I don’t see any recourse. Accidents happen. In the olden days there just were not payouts to everyone who was injured. I suppose with the right attorney you might be able to extract some money from them.
 
Likes: lindatravels
Sep 25, 2018
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#4
@AMA - The hotel name is LX51 - Smart Suites. Not a chain or anything as I believe I was speaking directly with the owner.
@mmb - It was a sliding glass door that shattered as she was opening it. I am thinking it was either a problem with installation or a manufacturer's defect in the glass.
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#5
The problem is this happened out of the US. You might not have the recourse in Portugal you would have here.

Hotels.com really can’t do anything because this has nothing to do with them - it’s on the hotel itself.

What actual damages did you have? In order to even think about a possible law suit, you need to show actual damages. Did you have any out of pocket expenses?

As AMA said- if this was a major US hotel chain, you might be able to appeal the them. If it’s a small single owner hotel- you might have to find an attorney in Portugal to try to sue them but again- there has to be damages.

Glad your wife is ok. I really had horror scenes in my head when I started reading.
 
Likes: lindatravels
Sep 25, 2018
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#6
@Neil, thanks. It could have been much, much worse than it was. There wasn't much in the way of actual monetary damages, but it just seems like the decent thing for them to do would be to comp us at least one night's stay (which I would have been happy with). For them to offer nothing (not a night's stay, a bottle of champagne, or cab fare to the hospital) is kind of crummy. But it does sound like I may need to settle for a moral victory at this point.
 

Neil Maley

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#7
Tony, I agree 100% with you that they should have comped you at least one night or done SOMETHING for you. I don't know if this will help you but I will make sure I don't use that hotel for any of our clients in the future.
 

jsn55

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Dec 26, 2014
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#12
Tony, this is a truly horrifying story ... we take things so for granted in a hotel and to have glass flying all over, not to mention the noise, must have been terrifying. The reason the hotel isn't "reaching out" to you is simple ... it's not that they're hard-hearted jerks.

It's that the company that carries their liability has given them strict instructions to never do a thing that could even remotely indicate a problem on the hotel's side. My husband fell in a Paris hotel, broke his hip and was carted off to the hospital for an emergency replacement. The hotel staff treated me very well while he recovered, going out of their way to help me. But six months later, my husband's health care company went after the hotel trying to perhaps get reimbursed for his medical costs.

So Europeans are properly worried about the American concept of assigning blame and trying to collect dollars for accidents. You can't blame them, but it is difficult for the unhurt spouse to deal with it all in a perceived uncaring hotel. I'm so glad all got solved and your poor new bride received prompt treatment; I remember the ambulance ride to the hospital very clearly and it is a very scary memory. Quite a story for your grandchildren ... the day Gramma was in an exploding shower.
 
Likes: Christina H
Sep 19, 2015
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#14
Tony I am relieved that your wife is ok. There are reports of glass shower doors just shattering. Had the same problem with an outdoor glass table but no one was injured.

I think jsn55 has a very good point about a hotel not wanting to act in a way that would indicate that they are admitting liability. And as you read from her experience there is a reason that they are reluctant because of potential lawsuits.

I hope the rest of your trip was less stressful and you and your wife were able to celebrate your marriage.
 

jsn55

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Dec 26, 2014
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#15
@jsn55, that's a terrible story, I hope things turned out well for you both. Thankfully my wife's injuries were superficial; she didn't even need stitches.
All's well, Tony, thank you. The French surgeon did an outstanding job, even my orthopod approved after we got home. I forgot to mention one thing ... it was our FIRST NIGHT in Paris! Not quite as bad as a honeymoon, but ....
 
Apr 1, 2018
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#16
Interesting that I saw something on the news just now about a Orange County, California hotel shower door shattering for no reason and injuring a woman.

This from the article: "In fact, glass shower doors shattering for no apparent reason is not unheard of. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 2,300 people were sent to the emergency room due to shattering glass shower doors between 2012 and 2016."

https://abc7news.com/4362293/?ex_ci...aa2&utm_medium=trueAnthem&utm_source=facebook
 

Carrie Livingston

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Jan 6, 2015
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#17
We shattered a glass oven door when we were painting in our house. The wooden end of the paintbrush hit the door at just the right spot. At least that's what the repair person said when he came to install the new door.

So there may be pressure points in the glass shower doors that when hit at exactly the right angle, break.
 
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AMA

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Dec 11, 2014
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#18
Carrie, there are a lot of reports of bad oven glass. My sister's stove window shattered on her. She is a certified welder and ended up welding a piece of sheet metal across the oven window. She feels safer that way! And actually, why do we need glass oven windows? Doesn't everyone just open the door to check on the food?
 
Likes: jsn55