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Georgia Court Finds No Duty to Rescue Guest Who Had a Stroke in Hotel Room

In March 2019, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Georgia premises liability lawsuit requiring the court to determine if the defendant hotel had a duty to rescue the plaintiff, who had a stroke while inside his hotel room. Ultimately, the court determined that the hotel had no duty to rescue the plaintiff from a situation that the hotel did not create.

According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was an overnight guest in the defendant hotel. When the plaintiff woke up, he experienced numbness and tingling on the left side of his face and hand. The plaintiff went back to sleep and, after reawakening, collapsed as he tried to get out of bed.

The plaintiff believed he was having a stroke, and tried to call “0” on the hotel phone. However, no one answered. The plaintiff then called “66,” the number he believed to be the hotel’s emergency number. Again, no one answered. The plaintiff then called 911. When the emergency responders arrived at the hotel, there was no employee at the front desk. The emergency responders eventually found their way to the plaintiff’s room, and took him to the hospital where it was determined that the plaintiff had suffered a stroke.

The plaintiff filed a premises liability lawsuit against the hotel, arguing that the hotel’s negligence in failing to ensure that employees were available to either answer the phone or direct the emergency responders resulted in the plaintiff not getting medical treatment promptly. The hotel argued that it did not have a duty to “rescue their guests or to monitor them if they are in need of medical assistance.” The trial court agreed with the hotel, and the plaintiff appealed.

On appeal, the court affirmed the lower court’s decision. The court began its discussion by noting that, to succeed in a negligence lawsuit, a plaintiff must be able to show that the defendant owed them a duty of care and that the defendant’s conduct violated that duty.

Here, the court held, the hotel did not owe the plaintiff a duty of care. The court reasoned that, under previous case law, “a person is under no duty to rescue another from a situation of peril which the former has not caused.” Here, the court noted that the hotel was in no way responsible for the plaintiff’s stroke. Thus, the hotel did not owe the plaintiff a duty of care. Because the hotel was determined not to owe a duty of care to the plaintiff, any alleged negligence in failing to staff the phone lines or front desk was not actionable.

Have You Been Injured on Another’s Property?

If you or someone you love has recently been injured in a Georgia premises liability accident, contact the dedicated Georgia personal injury lawyers at McAleer Law. At McAleer Law, we help injury victims and their families pursue claims of compensation against those responsible for their injuries. To learn more about how we can help you with your situation, call 404-622-5337 to schedule a free consultation today.