If you have an accident at a hotel, is the management legally responsible, or liable, for your hotel injury?
If your hotel injury was reasonably foreseeable due to the conditions, and it can be shown that the management had adequate notice of those conditions, then yes.
If you were injured in an accident at a hotel due to something the management knew about, or reasonably should have known about, then you may be eligible for compensation.
Types of Hotel Dangers
Many dangers can be present in a hotel or resort, including:
- Wet floors
- Inadequate lighting
- Potholes in the parking lot, or cracks in the sidewalks
- Construction defects or building code violations
- Elevator/escalator malfunctions
- Food poisoning
- Negligent security
These conditions may be the cause of a slip and fall or trip and fall, which can result in broken bones, traumatic brain injury, soft tissue injury, assault and battery, sexual assault, or even drowning.
If a hotel has experienced recent criminal activity, and fails to take appropriate security measures to keep customers safe, business owners may be held liable for damages. Poor lighting, absent security guards, and an absence of other precautions can all result in hotel injury claims.
When is the Hotel Liable?
The owner or manager of a hotel owes every visitor a reasonable standard of care to provide for a safe hotel or resort. They are responsible for injuries on their premises caused by negligence.
But not every hotel injury is due to negligence, or are foreseeable, For a claim to be actionable, four circumstances must apply:
Duty of Care: Hotels, motels, resorts, etc. all have a contractual or implied duty of care for guests, customers, employees or others paid to work there, and all members of the general public who are welcome on the property.
Breach of Duty: The actions or the negligence of the management or hotel staff resulted in an injury to another person. For example, if the elevators had not been inspected within the required timeframe, and an injury was caused by an elevator malfunction, the management would be liable, because they failed to provide their duty of care.
Proof of notice: The owner/manager had notice of dangerous condition or reasonable time to discover it.
For example, suppose a guest reports a spill in the dining area, and the staff member doesn’t clean it up or place a warning near the spill. Then, another guest slips in the liquid and is injured in a fall. The first guest, or anyone who witnessed that guest report the spill, can provide testimony that the staff had notice of the spill. The hotel is therefore liable for the guest’s injuries due to the negligence of the staff.
Causation: It must be shown that the dangerous condition was the cause of injury. If you already had a broken arm when you arrived at the hotel, you cannot claim that a trip and fall on the property was the cause of your broken arm.
What to Do if You Are Injured at a Hotel
If you have been injured at a hotel or resort, you should immediately report the incident to the property manager or security, providing as much detail as possible. Be sure to request a copy of the report, and also collect the names and contact information of any witnesses and other employees of the hotel or resort who saw the incident.
It is important to receive the proper medical attention immediately if you any feel discomfort at all. Many injuries have delayed symptoms, and when you’re far from home, you should make absolutely certain you don’t have a serious injury.
Final, it is important to speak with an experienced attorney to advise you about your legal rights. At TorkLaw, we have successfully handled a wide range of premises liability cases, and have the technical know-how and determination to fight for our clients and seek the maximum compensation they deserve.