When you’re looking to book a hotel for vacation, there are probably a few priorities you have in mind. You want to find something comfortable, affordable, safe, and in a convenient location. You would expect any hotel to prioritize the safety of their guests. It’s one of the most basic obligations for the hospitality industry. Unfortunately, not every hotel, motel, or resort fulfills their duty to protect their guests, and injuries do happen.
There’s no quicker way to ruin a good vacation than an unexpected accident. It’s especially frustrating when a hotel accident could have easily been avoided if it weren’t for a negligent party. Besides ruining an otherwise enriching experience, vacation accidents cause a variety of economic and noneconomic damages. If you were injured while staying at a hotel, motel, or resort, you may wish to consider filing a personal injury lawsuit against the property or another negligent party who caused your accidente.
Common Hotel Hazards
There are a variety of possible hazards found in hotels, motels, and resorts:
Slip, Trip, & Fall
Hotels have a duty to keep their premises free of any hazards which could cause a guest to slip or trip and fall. Falls are one of the leading causes of accidental injury in the US and can even lead to death. Common slip and fall dangers found in the hospitality industry include:
- Liquid spills
- Recently mopped floors with no caution signs
- Uncleared ice or snow outside of the hotel or in parking lots and garages
- Uneven or broken sidewalks outside of the hotel
- Warped or uneven floors and carpet
In order to hold a hotel liable for a slip and fall injury, your legal counsel must establish that hotel employees knew or reasonably should have known about the danger and did not respond to it in a reasonable amount of time. There is a good bit of nuance in determining liability in these situations, so it’s best to have your case reviewed by an experienced personal injury lawyer.
When you’re staying in a building with dozens, if not hundreds of strangers, there is always the risk that a criminal could be present. Hotels have an obligation to their guests to provide adequate security to protect them, but these measures aren’t always enough. Burglaries, theft, and both physical and sexual assault are unfortunately not uncommon in the hospitality industry.
Hotels in New York are legally required to provide certain security measures for their guests, including:
- Safe deposit boxes and notices about the availability of these boxes
- Keeping records of all guests for at least three years, including names, addresses, and dates stayed at the hotel
- Every unit must have a deadbolt and safety chain latch
These are the only legal requirements, but management should also enforce other security measures in order to keep their properties as safe as possible. Every hotel should have a well-trained security staff, video cameras, and adequate lighting. If negligent security allows a crime to be committed, the victim may have grounds for lawsuits against both the perpetrator and the hotel property.
Many hotels and resorts offer shuttle services and guided tours. It’s important for the drivers of these vehicles to stay careful, safe, and responsible. If a guest gets injured in a car accident while a passenger of a hotel vehicle, the property could possibly be held liable for damages. Determining liability here depends on who owns the vehicle. In accidents involving cabs, you might have a case against the driver or his employer. If an accident was caused by another driver not affiliated with the hotel, you would be filing a claim against that driver’s insurance company.
When Can Hotels Be Held Liable For Guest Injuries?
In order to hold a hotel, motel, inn, or resort liable for your accident on their property, you must prove that they were negligent. These properties owe a duty of care to all guests who stay on their property. In exchange for your business, the hotel must do all that they can to keep you safe. When they fail to do this and an injury happens, they could face liability in a personal injury lawsuit.
However, determining liability is not always easy. Some hotels may have their guests sign agreements which protect them from certain kinds of liability. In other cases, the hotel may argue that the accident had nothing to do with their negligence. If another guest caused your accident, you may be able to sue them personally. While these cases are complex, an experienced personal injury lawyer will know how to help you prove that your injury was caused by the negligence of a hotel employee, guest, or another party and hold them liable for damages.
If you’d like to explore your options, Lipsig’s personal injury lawyers would be happy to help you in a free consultation.