Most places of service need to provide a safe environment for their patrons. Hotels are no different. When hotels fail to comply with safety standards (and patrons are hurt because of it), they can be held liable under premises liability laws. Knowing how exactly these laws apply to hotels can help you determine if you have a strong case. Hotels are subject to general liability laws, but they also have their own protections.
Hotel Liability and Personal Liability
In general, premises liability laws deal with duty of care. If there are unsafe conditions and management fails to rectify them, the hotel could be liable for patrons’ injury costs. Hotels need to make sure that their entire operation—the front lobby, pool, rooms, and other areas—are safe for use. But injuries in these areas may not always be at the fault of the hotel.
Hotels are only liable if their own negligence caused or contributed to the injury. If a poorly maintained area leads to a slip-and-fall, it’s probably the hotel’s fault. On the other hand, if a slip-and-fall occurred because another guest knocked down a chair and failed to pick it up, the hotel would not be liable.
To explore this further, take a look at two scenarios regarding the same slip-and-fall shower injury:
- Scenario 1: A guest slips and falls due to a loose tile on the bathroom floor. If the hotel knew about the tile (or did not conduct thorough maintenance), they may be held liable for the guest’s injuries.
- Scenario 2: A guest slips and falls because the bathroom floor is wet after a shower. If this was not the fault of malfunctioning pipes and simply because the person took a shower, the hotel may not be liable.
What to Do When You’re Injured
If an injury occurs at a hotel, take the following steps to document your case:
- Contact the manager: Contacting the manager and filing a report with the manager will give an account of when, how, and why the injury occurred, which will be important later in the case. Ask for the copy of the incident report.
- Seek medical attention: If necessary, seek treatment. Be sure to keep track of all costs and bills associated with your injury, including lost wages.
- Gather evidence: Gathering evidence may include compiling witness reports and photo or video evidence of negligence or the point of injury.
Hotel Insurance Claims
To file a claim, injuries must be reported to the hotel’s insurance company. The contact information can be obtained from hotel management. When a claim is filed, record any reference or claim numbers—they are necessary to proceed. Always keep track of any reports.
Enlisting Legal Counsel
To get good results, you need legal help. As hotel injury cases can include many laws that seem “fast and loose,” knowledgeable attorneys will know how to navigate the process best. We at Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC, may be able to help. No fees are required unless a case is won. For help from a team with decades of experience, contact us at (502) 458-5555.