My mother and I were visiting Dubai in the UAE. We attended a party at a hotel and as we were leaving my mother fell on some broken cement on the plaza outside. The lighting in the area wasn't adequate and we pointed this out to the hotel staff. They blocked off the area and about a month later, the area was repaired. My mother suffered a serious shoulder injury that required surgery. She now has limited range of motion which the doctor said will be permanent. The hotel is a well-known US based chain and the insurer is an American company. Given such, would US courts have jurisdiction over something like this? We filed a claim against the insurance company and they have made a very minimal offer. Since the 2 year mark is quickly approaching, I was worried about statute of limitation
Maybe. Very few hotels are owned by the chain name you see. So that Hilton may be a franchisee, and not owned by the U.S. company. In that case there might be no jurisidiction in the U.S. (where the insurer is doesn't probably matter). Note that the statute of limitations also may not be the same as Georgia's. Frankly, you needed to have seen a lawyer a couple years ago.
Additionally, you may have a viable claim in the courts of Dubai, which a lawyer there can advise you on.
Slip and fall cases even here in Georgia are very hard to win. It is highly unlikely even in a good case that an insurer will make a pro se litigant any more than a nuisance offer. In waiting this long, you've made a big misstep, and in dealing direct with the insurer you have made a second one. Call a lawyer ASAP to discuss the issues.
There are more issues here than u can imagine, for example, although the "main" office of the hotel might be in NY the Dubai location may be owned and/or operated by a local Dubai or other foreign franchisee, which could possibly require you to sue it in Dubai or other foreign location under their laws. That countries' negligence laws are likely to be VERY different than the US laws, if they even have any. If the hotel is, indeed, owned by the "Main" co. located in the US, and your damages exceed $75,000.00 you may be able to obtain jurisdiction over the US company here in the US. additionally, the owner, whether US or foreign, probably contracts with a separate maintenance co. who may also be liable for the incident, but again, under Dubai laws who knows. I suggest you find out the actual owner and operator (could be the same co. or not) and contact an experienced Federal civil litigator for more information. I have had similar cases where the Rules of The Hague Convention were invoked and required specialized knowledge. You will need an experienced atty., do not try to handle this on your own. Best of luck in your endeavor.
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