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Old Jul 9, 10, 8:52 am   #1
 
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Unhappy Head Injury caused by Sheraton - Hotel not accepting liability

Hi Everyone,

I am a loyal SPG Platinum member who recently had an unfortunate incident. I am looking for some feedback and possible guidance with my situation. Sorry if this post is long, but I felt it was all important information...

3 weeks ago, while staying at a Sheraton in China my girlfriend (staying with me at the hotel) was injured by the hotel's bellman while getting into a taxi.

The bellman opened the taxi door for my girlfriend to enter the taxi, but before she was inside the taxi, the bellman slammed the door closed on my girlfriend's face.

My girlfriend ended up having to go to the emergency room where she received an CAT scan as well as 9 stitches to close the 1.5inch gash on her forehead. The scar is in a very visible area of her forehead. Picture below.



I have been dealing with the hotel GM regarding this matter, but we still haven't come up with a resolution as the hotel doesn't want to accept liability for future medical fees.

I called Starwood Corporate Services several times who said that I was doing everything correct in trying to resolve the situation with the hotel, and that all they were able to do was help serve as an "intermediary" for assisting with communication between the two parties. They suggested that I continue to resolve the situation with the GM…

I feel like the hotel has been wasting my time and I am really worried about continuing to deal with the hotel's "owning company" and their chinese insurance company. I have already lost a lot of faith in Starwood. Shouldn't Starwood be liable to some degree? When I stay at Starwood branded hotels oversees I used to feel safe because I thought it was an international/american company, never did I know that many of these hotels were individually owned and operated…
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Old Jul 9, 10, 8:57 am   #2
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Unfortunately, you need to lawyer up, IMHO.
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Old Jul 9, 10, 9:02 am   #3
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by F0CUS View Post
Shouldn't Starwood be liable to some degree?
No they shouldn't IMO. I am sorry to hear about the incident, it looks a nasty wound. If the hotel are not working with you, then the best bet as magiciansampras says is to engage with a lawyer and get some advice.
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Old Jul 9, 10, 9:04 am   #4
 
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Originally Posted by magiciansampras View Post
Unfortunately, you need to lawyer up, IMHO.
Shouldn't it be Starwood/Sheraton's responsibility to at least try to resolve the situation with of loyal guest without requiring legal action?!

The hotel first proposed a $1,000USD settlement which I found to be almost insulting since it wouldn't even cover basic medical fees let alone plastic surgery and pain and suffering.

I refused the $1,000 offer and started communicating directly with the hotel GM. I proposed that they just assume liability and cover future medical expenses related to treating the injury, he said that the hotel's insurance company probably wouldn't go for that and suggested that I propose a settlement amount...

I was quite horrified to hear the the hotel was a franchise of Starwood and that they would have their own local chinese insurance company deal with this…
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Old Jul 9, 10, 9:07 am   #5
 
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Originally Posted by RAPC View Post
No they shouldn't IMO. I am sorry to hear about the incident, it looks a nasty wound. If the hotel are not working with you, then the best bet as magiciansampras says is to engage with a lawyer and get some advice.
If Starwood doesn't govern their hotels and set some level of standard for insurance/compensation then what benefit do I have with regards to safety versus staying at any random hotel in China?

Starwood brands itself as a single company or at least as a parent company, shouldn't it act accordingly?
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Old Jul 9, 10, 9:07 am   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by F0CUS View Post
Shouldn't it be Starwood/Sheraton's responsibility to at least try to resolve the situation with of loyal guest without requiring legal action?!

The hotel first proposed a $1,000USD settlement which I found to be almost insulting since it wouldn't even cover basic medical fees let alone plastic surgery and pain and suffering.

I refused the $1,000 offer and started communicating directly with the hotel GM. I proposed that they just assume liability and cover future medical expenses related to treating the injury, he said that the hotel's insurance company probably wouldn't go for that and suggested that I propose a settlement amount...

I was quite horrified to hear the the hotel was a franchise of Starwood and that they would have their own local chinese insurance company deal with this…
It sounds like they did try to remedy the situation, you just don't like what they offered. So go get a lawyer and try to get more if you want it.
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Old Jul 9, 10, 9:08 am   #7
 
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Lawyer, now.
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Old Jul 9, 10, 9:09 am   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by F0CUS View Post
Shouldn't it be Starwood/Sheraton's responsibility to at least try to resolve the situation with of loyal guest without requiring legal action?!
They can assist, but the situation is between yourself and the hotel. It sounds like they are trying to assist, but ultimately it is the property itself that is potentially liable and the property that is the entity you need to deal with.

Your loyalty / level of status is irrelevant. I would hope that the hotel would address a situation like this properly no matter whether this was a first time guest or a 100 night a year Platinum member.
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Old Jul 9, 10, 9:10 am   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by F0CUS View Post
If Starwood doesn't govern their hotels and set some level of standard for insurance/compensation then what benefit do I have with regards to safety versus staying at any random hotel in China?

Starwood brands itself as a single company or at least as a parent company, shouldn't it act accordingly?
Then I am afraid you don't understand how the hotel industry works. The same would be true for other international hospitality chains.
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Old Jul 9, 10, 9:14 am   #10
 
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Okay,

1) I don't think I should have to pursue legal action yet, the hotel should at least be required to make some minimal effort to solve it. And sorry, $1k doesn't cut it.

2) So let's say I get a lawyer. You guys are saying that I have no right to go after Starwood? Presumably, I am going to have to go by Chinese legal system if I pursue the hotel. That is kind of absurd.
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Old Jul 9, 10, 9:15 am   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by F0CUS View Post
Shouldn't it be Starwood/Sheraton's responsibility to at least try to resolve the situation with of loyal guest without requiring legal action?!

The hotel first proposed a $1,000USD settlement which I found to be almost insulting since it wouldn't even cover basic medical fees let alone plastic surgery and pain and suffering.

I refused the $1,000 offer and started communicating directly with the hotel GM. I proposed that they just assume liability and cover future medical expenses related to treating the injury, he said that the hotel's insurance company probably wouldn't go for that and suggested that I propose a settlement amount...

I was quite horrified to hear the the hotel was a franchise of Starwood and that they would have their own local chinese insurance company deal with this…
i would imagine their insurance would pay for any "future" medical needs. why not deal with that then? your own insurance should cover your immediate expenses. i think i would drop the "pain and suffering" part. we are talking about an accident here correct?
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Old Jul 9, 10, 9:17 am   #12
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NO one in China admits anything, you are better getting straight onto the subject of compensation to prevent you sueing them and get the police involved.Its easy for all you people to say get a lawyer, but you obviously have no idea how the culture and the system works in China.It never ceases to amaze me how people assume everywhere in the world is just like where they live. If you dig seep enough you will find that this hotel is more than likely working under a licence or franchise agreement.
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Old Jul 9, 10, 9:18 am   #13
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by F0CUS View Post
Okay,

1) I don't think I should have to pursue legal action yet, the hotel should at least be required to make some minimal effort to solve it. And sorry, $1k doesn't cut it.

2) So let's say I get a lawyer. You guys are saying that I have no right to go after Starwood? Presumably, I am going to have to go by Chinese legal system if I pursue the hotel. That is kind of absurd.
1) They have made an effort to solve it and offered you $1k. I am not in your situation, so have no idea how far off the mark that it is for you, but they have made an effort. You don't like it, so challenge them on it.

2) You want an interpretation on the legal situation regarding Starwood and the Chinese legal system? A lawyer would be the best placed to give you that.
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Old Jul 9, 10, 9:21 am   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4444 View Post
i would imagine their insurance would pay for any "future" medical needs. why not deal with that then? your own insurance should cover your immediate expenses. i think i would drop the "pain and suffering" part. we are talking about an accident here correct?
Injury was directly caused by a hotel staff.

Own insurance doesn't cover plastic surgery.

The future plastic surgery fees are difficult to predict. And pain and suffering is actually quite relevant in this case, because of the nature of the scar and the fact that it is on her forehead means that even after plastic surgery, it will never be completely removed. Doctor's estimates are that they could reduce the appearance of the scar by 50% at most. My girlfriend is a business manager for an international semi-conductor company who deals with customers on a daily basis, it would be an understatement to say that her appearance is very important for her job...
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Old Jul 9, 10, 9:27 am   #15
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Have you opened a file on this with SPG? I had a matter in Morocco that I settled with SPG as opposed to with the hotel. I could have sued and, according to a prominent travel attorney, likely received considerably more than SPG gave, but I just wanted it behind me.

If you are interested in going the legal route, I see multiple listings for your location. Are you from California? If so, you have more rights in this matter than other travelers, in general. If that applies to you, send me a PM and I can send you the name of an attorney who will provide you advice. Some of that advice will be to forget dealing with the hotel or SPG and go straight to filing in court.
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