take legal action against a hotel over an accident in the Dominican Republic

Can i press charges against a hotel because of an accident in the dominican republic?

  • By:Vianela Morillo
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Yes, you may take legal action against a hotel over an accident in the Dominican Republic, if this accident occurred inside the premises of the hotel and the injury occurred due to negligence. However, we often say that before we even consider pressing charges, we should determine if there is sufficient evidence to win that suit. In this article, we will be elaborating on this topic and will try to answer all the common concerns that arise in these situations.

The Dominican Republic is a beautiful country, with many attractions and natural resources that entice many people to visit and enjoy their holidays, see tourist areas, and stay in one of the many national and international hotel chains that the country has to offer.

Accidents happen often in Hotels for different reasons, one of which is how crowded these places may get. Law Firms can attest to this since they receive a large number of consultations and oversee a lot of Legal proceedings related to Accidents in hotels. In these proceedings, the desired outcome is to receive compensation for Civil Liability.

There are many factors at play when determining Liability for an accident in a hotel, some of these factors are:

  1. Where it took place.
  2. How it happened.
  3. Exactly when the accident took place.
  4. Who was responsible.

It is the hotel’s responsibility to ensure the well-being of their guests and protect them from any dangerous situation that may cause them harm. However, the reality is that in some hotels in the Dominican Republic, there are no signs on wet floors or for slippery bathtubs, so it is important to move carefully because of the possibility of these dangerous situations.

Additionally, individuals who have been involved in accidents sometimes fail to receive the help they need when reporting these instances to hotel employees, as they are often not offered the assistance required by their state of health.

Common Accidents

The most common accidents in hotels in the Dominican Republic are:

  • Injuries related to falls and slips.
  • Injuries caused by broken furniture.
  • Injuries caused by falling on a poorly lit corridor.
  • Harm caused from eating decomposed food.
  • Pool accidents.
  • Injuries caused by sharp objects improperly placed in open areas.

Dominican legislation

According to articles 1382 and 1383 of the Dominican Civil Code:

  • “Art. 1382.- In situations where a person commits an act that causes harm to another, the offender is responsible to amend it.
  • 1383.- Everyone is responsible for the damage they have caused, not only as a result their own actions, but also for their negligence or recklessness.

We should keep in mind that in order to press charges against a hotel, the party initiating the claim must prove all the elements of civil liability to prove that the hotel was negligent”.

The elements needed for the purpose of Civil Liability, as well as to prove Damages, are the following:

–       Harm or injury.

–       Some wrongdoing.

–       A causal link.

Your case needs to have all three of these elements, otherwise, there will be no civil liability.

Material Damage and Emotional Distress

There are different types of damages that a person could claim while taking legal action against a hotel as a result of an accident, these include material damage and emotional distress.

Material damage may consist of medical expenses related to the injury, lost wages as a result of a medical leave, medical treatments, etc.,

Emotional Distress is more difficult to measure and can involve emotional trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, etc.

It would be wise to know the extent of the damage in question, as some accidents may cause minor injuries that heal quickly, while others can be very serious.

If you suffer a serious injury, you may need to receive medical attention within a certain period of time, may require several visits to the doctor and even surgeries. Victims can claim damages for medical expenses they have already incurred, as well as future medical expenses.

Doctors usually provide a diagnosis, which shows the damage suffered and the treatment that is likely to be needed in the future.

Timeframe to file a lawsuit

According to existing legislation, the type of liability present in these cases is contractual civil liability, establishing a timeframe to start legal proceedings. This timeframe is as follows:

  • Two (2) years, as established in Art. 2273, of the Dominican Civil Code, which states the following: “Paragraph: Establishes for the course of the same two-year period, starting from the moment of inception, the act in contractual civil liability whose prescription has not been established by law, expressly, in a longer period…”

Evidence allowed in these cases

When it comes to evidence, you should ensure to keep a record of all the medical paperwork related to the accident, all evidence that the accident took place, and how the accident occurred.

The most important pieces of information are the following:

  • Date of the accident
  • Diagnosis
  • Expenses incurred

In order to have sufficient evidence for the process of a possible claim or legal action against a hotel, we recommend the following:

  • The first thing you should do is notify the administrator, or party responsible, to let them know that you have been involved in an accident.

It is critical to report what has happened, because if you leave the place without informing that the accident has taken place to the responsible party, there is a risk that they will question wether the accident occurred or not.

After notifying the appropriate parties, try to obtain proof that the hotel was informed of what happened, given that it is also possible that the hotel will deny that they were notified.

  • You should then take pictures of the area and the damages.

Photos will show the danger that was present at the scene where the events took place. Additionally, you should try to take photos of the injuries sustained.

  • The third component to take into account is witnesses.

If there are eyewitnesses, you should talk to them and ask if they can provide their testimony about what happened, if necessary.

Finally, it is important to take into account, as we mentioned at the beginning, that many hotels in the Dominican Republic are very careless and there are usually no warning signs where there should be, despite their importance. Additionally, accident victims are often not offered proper assistance, and it is also important to bear in mind that if your injuries are not serious, it is very common for a judge not to set a large amount for the hotel to pay for the damages caused, because they believe that the damages suffered are not serious enough, so the judge might restrict the hotel’s liability only to medical expenses, which are sometimes very low.

At our law firm Morillo Suriel Attorneys at Law, we have a division specialized in Claims for Damages (Civil Liability). Through this division, we can assist you with any questions or concerns you may have regarding take legal action against a hotel over an accident in the Dominican Republic. No matter where you are in the world, you may reach us through our portal for online legal services.  

We are available


Posted in: Civil Law, Foreigners in the Dominican Republic


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