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What to Do If You Become Injured at a Hotel

August 18 2020 | Blog
  • Hotel owners have a legal duty to protect guests from preventable accidents. Read this article to learn which circumstances enable a hotel guest injured on the premises of a recreational establishment may seek financial compensation from its owner.

    Getting injured during a vacation stay at a hotel or resort isn’t anybody’s idea of a good vacation. Yet, from simple slip-and-falls to serious mishaps with dire consequences, vacation accidents are relatively commonplace both abroad and across the US. Of course, some accidents may happen due to a vacationer’s carelessness; at other times, an injury may simply be the result of unexpected and unforeseeable consequences.

    However, accidents at a hotel may sometimes happen due to dangerous circumstances created by the negligence of its management and staff. When that happens, hotel owners may be deemed responsible for the injuries and held financially liable for the injured person’s resulting losses.

    In this article, we explore the issue of hotel liability for the injuries of hotel guests. First, we will present a short overview of related laws and then we will provide examples of specific circumstances in which a person injured at a hotel may file a compensation claim against its owner.

    When a Hotel Owner Can Be Held Liable for Guests’ Injuries

    As is the case with other businesses, hotel owners have a legal responsibility to ensure the safety of their customers the hotel guests by maintaining safe conditions on the property. Under premises liability law, a business owner has a duty to protect the customers from unnecessary and foreseeable dangers on the business property.

    Failure to take the necessary steps to do so may constitute negligence. In the event of an accident resulting in an injury, negligence may become the basis of a valid legal claim. The injured person may rightfully expect the negligent hotel owner to pay for the financial losses the injured party suffered as a result of the injury. The expected compensation may be to cover medical bills, rehabilitation costs, lost wages, and more.

    Typical Hotel Accidents and Injuries

    As mentioned above, not all accidents that happen to hotel guests at the premises of a recreational establishment will merit legal action. Some may just be unfortunate yet unforeseeable mishaps that happen despite all the precautions taken by the owners. 

     

    Yet, the following kinds of accidents often happen due to the hotel owner’s negligence and may merit a personal injury claim for compensation:

    • Slip-and-fall accidents
    • Accidents caused by negligent security
    • Drownings and other swimming pool accidents
    • Accidents caused by worn-out and broken furniture
    • Injuries and illnesses caused by bed bugs
    • Food-borne illnesses

    The Hotel Owner’s Liability for Employees’ Actions

    In addition, a hotel owner may also be held liable for the negligent actions of his or her employees. In legal jargon, this principle is called vicarious liability. If an employee causes an accident in which a third party gets injured, the victim may file a claim against the employer rather than the employee themselves. However, such a claim will only be valid if the accident happened while the employee was engaging in activities that can rightfully be deemed within the scope of the employee’s work. 

    For example, if a hotel employee caused a car accident while running an errand for the hotel, the injured driver of the other car may be able to file a compensation claim against the hotel owner. The employee may be able to obtain compensation from the owner even if the employee was driving his or her own car at the time of the accident as long as the employee was engaging in activities within the scope of their work duties.

    Steps to Take If You Are Injured at a Hotel

    If you or your family members become injured at a hotel as a result of one of the circumstances mentioned above, you may need to take some action right at the scene of the accident to ensure the successful resolution of your potential claim. As mentioned, a compensation claim may be filed if an accident occurred as a result of the hotel owner’s negligence. Therefore, as long as it is possible, the victim should take steps to document the circumstances that caused or contributed to the injury.

    For example, if you tripped, fell, and broke a bone while walking down the stairs due to an uneven step or unstable handrails, you may ask a friend or a family member to take pictures of the hazardous defect. In general, the more evidence of the hotel management’s negligence you may gather, the higher your chances of obtaining compensation. Evidence may include statements from other guests as well as any communications you may have had with the hotel’s staff about a possible danger that in the end caused an injury.

    In any case, hotel guests should remember that when it comes to preventing accidents and injuries, hotel owners are held to a higher standard than owners of many other kinds of business. This is because hotel guests enjoy the status of an invitee which under premises liability law is legally entitled to a high amount of protection.

    Therefore, it may be advisable for a victim of an accident at a hotel to consult with an experienced premises liability attorney and ask about compensation options even if the circumstances of the accident were different from the example scenarios mentioned in this article.

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