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This post aims to give information about compensation rights arising from accidents occurs in hotels in Turkey from the perspective of Turkish Law on Personal Injury.

The rules governing the compensation rights of holidaymakers arising from accidents occurred in tourism facilities (mainly hotels) in Turkey vary from case to case. The claim can be brought under the breach of contract or simply on the basis of a tortious act (negligence). One of the two grounds are chosen based on the merits of the case, and a compensation claim is filed before the relevant authorized Turkish Court. The limitation to claim under breach of contract and under negligence are different pursuant to Turkish Law.  Limitation for a Negligence claim is 2 years whereas claim under breach of contract is 10 years. In order to interrupt the limitation, the holidaymaker must ensure to file a case in the Turkish Court or in the Execution Office of Turkey.

Holidaymakers can claim compensation for the damages arising from accidents occurring in hotels in Turkey including slip, trip and fall as well as accidents occurs in a buggy, scooter, or other vehicles inside the hotel; also, injuries sustained while enjoying water sports or other activities during the stay.

The relationship between a hotel (as a service provider) and a hotel guest (holidaymaker) pursuant to Turkish Law is not regulated under any specific Act, Regulation, Communique or similar. Rather, the provisions of the general Turkish Obligation Code and the Law on Consumer Protection are two main pieces of legislation that are applied for the disputes arising from such relationship among others including some secondary legislation.

Article 49 of the Turkish Code of Obligations states that “Person, who causes damage and loss to another person by culpable and unlawful action, is obliged to compensate this damage or loss.” This obligation of compensation covers material damages and moral damages. General rule applied to compensation of torts is provided under Article 51 of the Turkish Code of Obligation and it states that “the judge determines the extent and payment form of the compensation with regard to the circumstances and particularly the degree of fault.” According to this article, the compensation is calculated proportionally with the degree of fault in the tort, and also the judge has discretionary power to deduct the compensation.

Material damages are calculated mainly under Article 51 of the Turkish Code of Obligation, and for this calculation, the claimant bears the burden of proof and in case the claim exceeds TRY 2.500,00 the claimant is obliged to provide documents as evidence and other means of evidence can only be supplementary to documentary evidence (Art. 200 of the Civil Procedure Code numbered 6100).

Personal injuries incurred on the person’s body are subject to a special provision under Article 54 of the Turkish Code of Obligation. According to this provision, the following damages and expenses shall be compensated by the person causing the damages: (i) medical treatment expenses, (ii) losses of future income, (iii) losses occurred from decline or loss of work ability, (iv) losses occurred from the risk of economic future stability. These special types of damages also need to be proved with documentary evidence.

There are also local standards that need to be satisfied by the hotels in Turkey arising from the Regulation on the Certification and Quality of Tourism Facilities (hereinafter referred to as ‘Regulation’)  which was published on the official gazette dated 21.06.2005 and numbered 25852.

According to Article 13 (1) of the Regulation, tourism facilities subject to this Regulation need to be equipped with the competent material, flooring and decoration in order to satisfy the objective of the enterprise. Furthermore, Article 17 (2) of the Regulation set forth that cleaning and maintenance at the facilities are made regularly and in case any problem occurs in the facility the required measures need to be taken as soon as possible in order to solve the problem. The above mentioned two provisions (art. 13 (1) and 17(2)) are introduced rather as a general requirement for all tourism facilities.

Article 31 of the subject matter Regulation having the title of Swimming Pools set forth: “The pools include the following: d) Covering and laying of slip-proof floors around the pool and sunbathing areas, …j) Signs of security measures in Turkish and at least two foreign languages..”

In addition, one of the Court of Cassation decision put forward the following; “…The Plaintiff claimed that he entered the pool of the hotel while he was staying at the Defendant’s hotel and that after he got out of the pool he fell and broke his wrists because of the slippery side of the pool and demanded material compensation accordingly. He also demanded moral damages due to sorrow and distress caused by this event… There is an effect of the fact that the Defendant has not taken adequate measures in terms of the occurrence of the event. The Defendant is liable for the damage at the rate of fault….” Court of Cassation 13rd Civil Chamber No. 2002/4515 -2002/6803 Dated 6.6.2002