German tourist gets court backing in case over holiday gone wrong | News | DW | 25.06.2019
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German tourist gets court backing in case over holiday gone wrong

The case involved a young boy who was injured after walking into a glass door on vacation in Gran Canaria. An attempt to seek damages has failed so far, but it was given a second chance by Germany's highest civil court.

A man seeking thousands in damages for a ruined vacation got the backing of Germany's Federal Court of Justice (BGH) on Tuesday.

The German man is suing tour operator Tui after his partner's child walked through a glass balcony door and sustained injuries while on holiday abroad. 

Lower courts had dismissed the case, saying that caution stickers on the door provided enough of a warning.

Judges in Karlsruhe said that although the door was marked, the lower court judges should have checked to see if the door complied with the building regulations in the country where the incident took place.

If the door was supposed have been built with shatter-proof glass, then the two stickers wouldn't have solved the problem, presiding judge Klaus Bacher said. The warning signs for the hotel guest would have had to be much larger, he said.

The case will now have to be heard again in a lower court.

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The plaintiff's case

The plaintiff in Tuesday's case booked a package holiday on Gran Canaria with his partner and her 7-year-old son in July 2016.

On the first day of their one-week vacation, the boy walked into the glass balcony door in their hotel, shattering the glass and cutting himself badly.

As a result of his injury, the child was not allowed to go swimming for five days.

The man argued Tui should pay him almost €7,000 ($7,970) in damages for the ruined holiday, covering a refund for the trip, plus compensation for wasted holiday time and the injury.

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Breach of building standards?

There were two warning labels on the glass door displayed at an adult's eye and hip level. But the claimant argued this did not meet safety provisions under Spanish law, and that Tui, as the holiday organizer, was ultimately responsible.

Lower courts had already rejected the suit, finding that the warnings on the door were sufficient.

However, the Higher Regional Court in Celle had asked the Karlsruhe court to clarify whether the matter should be handled by German courts when the claim relates to regulations in a foreign country.

The court in Celle will now have to hear the case again, taking Spanish building standards into consideration.

rs, nm/jm (AFP, dpa)

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