3 American Tourists Found Dead in Bahamas Sandals Resort 

May 10, 2022 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
3 American Tourists Found Dead in Bahamas Sandals Resort 

Sandals Resort Guests Die Under Mysterious Circumstances

Three American tourists in the Bahamas were found dead in a Sandals resort on Friday, May 6th with no cause of death since identified. So far, no foul play has been suspected. The deaths of these guests are not at all the first time that tragedy has struck resorts like this. Hotels, resorts, and other tourist destinations here in Florida experience accidents all the time on their premises where guests end up severely injured. Sometimes these accidents occur due to unavoidable factors but in many cases, guests are injured or even killed due to negligence on the part of the resort. 

Tourists Pass Away Mysteriously at Bahamas Sandals Resort

Bahamian authorities have identified the American tourists that passed suddenly as Tennessee couple Michael Phillips, 68, and his wife Robbie, 65, who worked as travel agents and Florida resident, Vincent Paul Chiarella, 64. Chiarella's wife, Donnis was airlifted to Florida in serious condition and has since been upgraded to a “fair” condition.  The Phillips were found at the Sandals Emerald Bay resort on the Bahamas' Great Exuma Island in their villa unresponsive with signs of convulsions but no visible signs of trauma. Vincent and Donnis Chiarella were also found in their villa with Vincent unresponsive and Donnis in serious condition. So far minimal details regarding what Donnis Chiarella was treated for as she was evacuated to a medical facility in New Providence.  According to Austin Chiarella, the son of one of the deceased tourists, his mother had told him that she had fallen ill Thursday and thought she had recovered. Austin Chiarella was able to later speak to his mother who has since reached a stable condition Saturday morning. "She woke up and my dad was laying there on the floor, and she couldn't move," he said. "Her legs and arms was swollen and she couldn't move and she screamed to get someone to come in the door."

Investigation of the Sandal Resort Fatalities

The potential of a health threat in the form of a chemical leak or some other exposure to a dangerous substance has not been ruled out so far. Toxicology tests are in the process of being run to determine exactly what happened to these American guests of the Sandal resort. This has been an isolated incident so far but investigators are in the process of determining if there is a public health hazard threat. 

Hotel and Resort Liability for Injuries and Deaths on the Premises

It is not surprising that hotels and resorts see many injuries occur on their premises. There are a vast number of ways people can end up suffering an injury while staying at a hotel or resort from slipping and falling because of an uncleaned spill to burn injuries caused by a fire. In many cases, these injuries could have been avoided entirely had the hotel taken appropriate care.  Premises liability is a legal concept that deals with accidents on someone else's property. Basically, property owners have a responsibility to provide a reasonably safe environment to people that they invite onto their property. In the event that a property owner, like a hotel company, is negligent and fails to address or incorrectly addresses issues on their property that pose a threat to people they invite then they can be liable for the injuries that are caused to the guests. 

Personal Injury Claims Against Hotels and Resorts

Hotels see their fair share of involvement in personal injury claims and lawsuits. Civil lawsuits over the harm done by sex trafficking in hotels are a major source of legal action involving these kinds of businesses as are lawsuits over pool accidents, food poisoning, etc. If you have suffered an injury while staying at a hotel due to some level of negligence on the hotel's part you may be able to file a personal injury claim in order to get compensation for the damages you suffered such as medical bills, lost wages, lost earning potential, and even pain and suffering. Filing a hotel injury claim not only can get you compensation for damages caused by your injuries but it can also help to prevent the same thing from happening again to someone else by legally holding that hotel accountable for their actions.

Common Accidents and Issues That Cause Injuries in Hotels or Resorts

  • Slip and Fall Accidents
  • Bed Bug and Other Pest Infestations
  • Assaults and Other Crimes Due to Negligent or Inadequate Security
  • Foodborne Illness
  • Pool Accidents
  • Elevator or Escalator Accidents
  • Fires 
  • Broken Furniture
  • Failure to Meet ADA Standards and Other Inadequate Handicap Accommodations
  • Sex Trafficking
  • Sanitation or Plumbing Related Accidents

What Does it Take to Sue a Hotel?

Being injured in a hotel during a vacation does not always mean that you are able to sue the owners for damages. In order to be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against a hotel or resort, you need to satisfy the following criteria.  You must suffer an injury severe enough to warrant filing a claim The injury must be caused by the negligence of the hotel or resort There needs to be proof of the hotel's negligence

Can I Sue a Hotel in Another Country If They Caused My Injuries?

Many tourists get injured because of negligent hotels while they are vacationing in other countries like the Bahamas. Some occasionally lose their lives like the three that have recently passed away while staying at the Sandals Emerald Bay resort. This begs the question as to if it is possible to seek legal action against a hotel you were injured at in another country such as the Bahamas.  In some cases, it is possible to file a personal injury claim here in the United States against a hotel you stayed at in another country if that hotel is owned by an American company or if they do a significant amount of business here.  However, there is a chance that the case might be dismissed based on what is known as “forum non conveniens” which translates from Latin to inconvenient forum. This doctrine entails a case being dismissed due to the greater convenience offered by the case being filed in the country where the injury occurred. 

Suing a Hotel Through Another Country's Legal System

If the company in question is based in a foreign country then you will likely have to go through that country's legal system to seek compensation. Sometimes resorts and hotels in other countries will go as far as to have you sign paperwork that requires you to file injury lawsuits against them in that country. 

An Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer Specializing in Hotel Litigation Can Help

In order to determine what options are available to you after suffering an injury in a hotel while overseas, it is imperative that you speak to a personal injury attorney. They can evaluate your case and help you choose what the best next course of action is and if you can sue at home or if you need to look into a lawyer abroad.  Some people may give up hope too soon thinking that they have no case since they suffered an injury overseas. There is no way to know for sure until you talk to a personal injury lawyer. You may be surprised to find out they can help you file your lawsuit here in the United States and assist you in gathering evidence to prove the hotel's liability, communicating with the insurance company, negotiating a settlement, or representing you in a trial. 

Contact Dolman Law Group for Help With Your Hotel Injury Claim

Dolman Law Group specializes in holding negligent hotels, resorts, and similar property owners accountable for injuries they cause in claims and lawsuits involving premises liability.  Our firm has been serving the people of Florida for over a decade now by providing award-winning legal representation that has gotten our clients settlements and court awards that effectively cover their damages and get their life back on track. Our lawyers are ready to speak to you about your case and what Dolman Law brings to the table to get your case on the track to successfully recovering damages.  To schedule a free no-obligation consultation with Dolman Law Group contact us at (727) 451-6900 or send us an email on our contact us page


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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