If you heard that former first lady Hillary Clinton was injured on a recent trip to India, certain presumptions might spring to mind. You’ve heard stories about India’s extreme heat and pollution. You may remember the 2008 attacks on high traffic, public destinations in Mumbai. Perhaps you’ve seen pictures of India’s dangerous driving conditions. With all of these factors in mind, it might seem to you that just going outside could put your safety in jeopardy.

It might surprise you, then, to learn that Hillary Clinton’s injury wasn’t incurred in any of these ways. It occurred in her own hotel room. The former first lady slipped and fell in the bathtub of the Umaid Bhawan Palace, fracturing her wrist. The incident is a reminder that injuries can happen anytime, anyplace–even under seemingly benign conditions.

Although Ms. Clinton attributes the accident to clumsiness and is not taking legal action against the hotel, it begs the question whether such an incident could warrant a premises liability lawsuit. “Premises liability” refers to the legal responsibility of a property owner to keep its guests safe from harm. If injury occurs on the property, the injured party could file a lawsuit against the owner if they can demonstrate that:

  • The owner is responsible for maintaining the property,
  • The injured party had permission to be on the property and
  • The owner did not make a good faith effort establish safe conditions.

Hotels have an obligation to provide a safe space for their guests. In the case of this accident, if the hotel failed to install handrails or anti-slip treads on the base of the tub, for example, the case could be made that the hotel was negligent in taking adequate steps to prevent injury.

We all run the risk of getting injured every day of our lives. However, if you suffer an injury on someone else’s property, you may have grounds to take legal action and receive compensation.